The Chia cryptocurrency is back in the news for its relationship with storage units. The virtual currency began trading in the first days of May and is already causing headaches for those who have decided to mine it. According to a report from Tom’s Hardware, Chia can destroy a solid state drive (SSD) in a matter of weeks.
Unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum, whose mining requires a lot of processing power, Chia came to the world as a cryptocurrency that would not require the use of outrageously expensive hardware. However, the experience may not be as inexpensive as previously thought.
Chia demands the speed of solid state drives to create “patches”, as well as the large capacity of hard drives to store them. The problem is that the SSDs of conventional use not ready for write-intensive workloads. This means that hardware can fail within a few weeks of using it.
Choose your SSD wisely, because Chia can destroy them
Tom’s Hardware report is very clear regarding what would be the reasons for solid state drive failures. It is even based on data from a Chinese report on the same topic:
Plotting is the most time consuming task when it comes to Chia mining, so using fast SSDs in RAID makes a lot of sense from performance and time perspectives. However, not all solid state drives are good enough for this workload. Currently, low-cost consumer 1TB SSDs come with an endurance rating of roughly 600TBW (Terabytes To Write), which equates to roughly 0.3 drive writes per day (DWPD) for five years.
For ordinary PC workloads, this is more than enough. But Chia’s patch uses a lot of writes, so a cheap 512GB SSD can be destroyed in 40 days, MyDrivers reports. A larger capacity unit but with a similar DWPD rating would have lasted longer, up to about 160 days.
The shortage of SSDs plays a key role in this problem
Photo by Marc PEZIN on Unsplash
Let Chia destroy your SSD it’s part of a bigger problem. At the end of April we reported how the furore over the new cryptocurrency affected the provision of storage units in the main markets in Asia. An inconvenience easily transferable to other parts of the world, which could also be affected.
The tremendous demand for hardware caused a significant price increase, and many products were withdrawn from sale to the public to avoid taking advantage of resellers. For this reason, if the Chia culture breaks your solid state drives, may not be easy to replace due to shortage.
Many cryptocurrency miners already targeting SSDs destined for data centers. However, they are not easy to find and they are much more expensive than a similar unit for home use.
As an alternative, brands like TeamGroup have launched units with resistance ratings. up to 12,000TBW and that are specifically designed to grow Chia. In any case, they are still expensive components and must be used for a task that is not yet known if it will generate a real economic return.