Technical issues

I’ve been busy with the technical stuff lately; not only that I had to transcode the database of the forum, to be usable by the new software, and write/adapt parts of the software to fit the needs of the community using it, but I also had a disproportionate number of hardware failures this year. Most of them were bloated or weakened LiIon batteries on phones and laptops, but we also had two NVMe drive failures, including one in the recent days, which was hard to diagnose because I initially suspected some driver or faulty Windows update, but as evidence allowed me to narrow it down, I started to suspect the Samsung system drive, and my confidence in that assessment grew to the point where I preventatively replaced it without waiting it to fail completely and force me to rebuild the system from the ground up. And yes, since I cloned and replaced the drive I had no more system freezes. As in the case with the two failed drives before (Mihael’s Adata SATA drive, and Biljana’s Samsung PCI-E drive in the 13″ Macbook pro), it was controller failure, which produces symptoms so similar it made it possible for me to diagnose it prior to complete failure this time. All in all, I had an increased number of drive failures since we moved away from HDD to SSD technology, and literally none of them were due to NAND wear, which everybody feared initially; it’s always the controller that goes, and it’s the worst case scenario because if you don’t catch it in time, it’s complete and irrecoverable data loss. However, only Mihael’s drive went all the way, because we were late in reacting to it malfunctioning for days, and likely weeks. With Biljana’s laptop, I already had some experience with SSD controller failure so I replaced her drive preventatively and all the symptoms ceased, and I did the same with my own system drive on the main computer. Basically, the symptoms look very much as if the system bus is clogging up and the system events are not going through. When that takes place, I’m starting to suspect the system SSD controller failure. This, of course, puts Apple’s practice of soldering SSD components directly onto the motherboard, so that the SSD can’t be replaced, into perspective. That’s just asking for trouble, because it turns something that can be a simple and straightforward process of “back the old drive up, replace it with a new one, and restore from backup” into motherboard write-off and replacement, and those are expensive. Sure, it can be a welcome excuse for replacing your obsolete computer with a new, more modern one, but in 2 out of 3 cases of SSD failure that I had recently, only one computer was obsolete and ready to be replaced, and two were perfectly good machines that required only a system drive replacement. I am seriously not a fan of having SSD and RAM soldered onto motherboards, because those are the two main things that have to be either upgraded or replaced due to failure, and not allowing for that is just screaming “planned obsolesecence”. It’s like not allowing the GPU to be replaced in a gaming PC, knowing that it’s the first thing that will need to be upgraded in order to keep the machine functional. Sure, I have a habit of keeping the old hardware in use until it becomes completely useless, which means I could occasionally use some sort of a push to buy a new, more capable system, but on the other hand, if I see nothing wrong with the system I’m using, in the sense that it does everything instantly and is not causing me any troubles, why would I have to be forced by the manufacturer to throw it away just because some component went off prematurely? The system I’m using plays Witcher 3 on 4K at 60 FPS, on ultra. It’s not a slow and decrepit system by any stretch of the imagination. If I had to replace the whole computer just because the system drive failed, I would be really pissed, and that’s exactly what would have happened with Apple, if I used one of their fancy-looking machines with SSD soldered on. The only one of their current machines that’s actually designed properly is the new Mac Pro, but that one is so expensive it makes no sense to buy it, unless you hate your money and want to see it burn. Someone will say that you have to pay for quality, but that’s really bullshit since they use the same Samsung NVMe drives I buy off-the-shelf to build my own systems, and based on my experience the drives they use are exactly as likely to fail as any other Samsung drive. So, sure, you can solder it onto the motherboard, but then I want a 5 year warranty on the motherboard with instant replacement in case of component failure, no weaseling out.