My new SSD died, dare I try another?

Last month I coughed up just under $300 for a 120GB OCZ Apex solid-state disk (SSD) drive for my new MacBook. Worked like a charm. Installation was a breeze and I immediately saw much snappier performance.

And then on Saturday, as a I settled in for a relaxing cup of coffee and an early morning surf on the screen porch, the drive suddenly -- and completely -- failed. I awoke the MacBook from its overnight sleep, and noticed everything was frozen. Dead giveaway: the menubar clock wasn't even working. I did a hard restart and when the MacBook fired up again, the hard drive was no longer available. Gone. Kaput. 

I tried to reinstall Mac OS X from the DVD that came with the laptop. No SSD, no go. I dashed out to Best Buy to snag a replacement drive -- a Western Digital Scorpio 320GB 7,200-rpm model -- stuck it in the MacBook, installed OS X and reinstalled my files from a recent Time Machine backup. (It wasn't recent enough to save the last episode of 30 Rock, alas.)

Reminder: Back up your files, early and often.

I tried one more time to bring the OCZ drive back to life, popping it into an external USB drive enclosure. When I tried to reformat it using Apple's Disk Utility app, all I got was an "input/output error" message. (Storage guru Lucas Mearian posits that it's a controller issue.)

I have to say was pretty quick on getting a replacement drive to me, even before I'd sent the bad one back. So I took the Scorpio drive out, stuck it in the external enclosure, put the new OCZ drive in the MacBook and I'm again enjoying SSD goodness. (The Scorpio is a nice drive, by the way. It offers more than twice the space at less than half the cost. All that's missing is the SSD pop I've grown to like.)

Obviously, since I got a replacement OCZ drive, I'm proceeding on the assumption that I got a bad drive. My early-adopter faith in SSDs isn't shaken yet; dead drives happen. Still, I'll be backing up my data even more often than usual for the foreseeable future -- just in case.

But if this one craps out on me, too, I may have to rethink this whole SSD paradigm, at least until the early issues are resolved. Either way, I'll let you know what happens.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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