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M1 Mac owners are experiencing extremely high SSD writes over short periods of time, likely thanks to aggressive swap

just_dave
10 minutes ago, Kjub said:

if there is measured benchmark 3.0GB/s throughput than it is 48minutes/24h if you use it like 8h = 480min per day it comes quite feasible. 1/10 on high write, exactly what the OP has suggested. 

huh? What's the benchmark performance or drive performance got to do with it? Even a SATA SSD could generate that much write throughput, the issue is if something actually is, not if it were possible to. Applications or OS swap don't actually write at the maximum peak performance capable, this is why you need to put some monitoring in place to log write activity in real time or near real time so you can at least analyze some time series trend data.

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On 2/17/2021 at 2:46 AM, just_dave said:

FOR NEWS SITES AND OUTLETS: DON'T MAKE THIS SEEM EXTREME, THE CAUSE IS UNCONFIRMED AND THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM FOR MOST USERS WHO DONT HAMMER THEIR MACHINES 

Some more professional users of the new M1 Macbooks are experiencing extremely high drive writes over relatively short time.

The most severe cases have "consumed" about 10-13% of the maximum warrantable TBW value of the SSDs (given their capacity & using values for equivalent market-available NVMe drives). 

 

This is likely macOS-related behaviour and Apple can fix it. 

I bought an M1 Macbook Air just a week ago and already have about 300GB of writes on the SSD after some light multitasking. I am currently considering returning it.

My post in r/Mac: 

Update 13:24

Update 2:

 

If these things are true then hopefully Apple will release a software update to fix or mitigate the problem. However I have a big problem with all the results posted on twitter. What is the "data unit"? Is it bytes, bits, megabytes? Cause that would really help to see if these things are actually as bad as they seem. I also don't see how 336,029,441 turns into 172TB, but that really depends on what a "data unit" is.

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4 hours ago, jrhaberland said:

What is the "data unit"? Is it bytes, bits, megabytes? Cause that would really help to see if these things are actually as bad as they seem. I also don't see how 336,029,441 turns into 172TB, but that really depends on what a "data unit" is.

That's related to the SMART protocol. Each "data unit" is equivalent to 512 bytes, and the reported value are in the thousands. So, basically multiply that value by 512000 and you'll have the amount of bytes written.

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On 2/18/2021 at 12:44 PM, RejZoR said:

I have laptop with 8GB RAM. And it's in dual channel from factory so technically non upgradable unless I'd swap the whole thing. It's perfectly fine for what I need it which is internet, photos and movies. Ryzen 2500U even has enough grunt to do more demanding tasks, but is essentially non essential, so to speak. I can see someone buying 8GB RAM version if they only need it for such stuff. It's plenty enough for that. And so is storage. Mine came with 256GB of DRAM-less NVe M.2. It's tons for what's needed for.

I have a laptop with essentially the same spec as you describe though I think mine has a slightly better SSD. It's what I'm typing on right now, I've used it to render videos for my youtube channel, play Minecraft and various driving simulation games at acceptable framerates, streaming videos from Disney Plus and YouTube while performing the previously mentioned things, and all kinds of other tasks. Granted, it does run out of memory and crash now and then - though it happened even more commonly before I switched away from Windows - so I'd probably prefer to have something higher spec - but in general, there is nothing wrong with it.

 

If I was just using it for web browsing and viewing photos and videos as you describe, then I would see no reason to upgrade at all for the forseeable future.

 

It infuriates me when people say "oh, you're playing Minecraft with your friends, checking your email, and streaming the odd film? Yeah you're gonna need a $700 laptop for that". (Alright maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I do think people underestimate what today's lower-middle range machines are capable of)

 

On 2/18/2021 at 12:44 PM, RejZoR said:

I'd be fine even with 64GB SSD if I'm honest. But no one sells them anyway these days.

I wouldn't, but that's because I dislike using cloud storage services. I have a lot of data which I could put in the cloud but instead choose to store locally (and back up manually), and then I could probably manage with a 64GB SSD.

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pythonmegapixel

into tech, public transport and architecture // amateur programmer // youtuber // beginner photographer

Thanks for reading all this by the way!

By the way, my desktop is a docked laptop. Get over it, No seriously, I have an exterrnal monitor, keyboard, mouse, headset, ethernet and cooling fans all connected. Using it feels no different to a desktop, it works for several hours if the power goes out, and disconnecting just a few cables gives me something I can take on the go. There's enough power for all games I play and it even copes with basic (and some not-so-basic) video editing. Give it a go - you might just love it.

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On 2/24/2021 at 3:29 AM, just_dave said:

I mean this is clearly your own fault, you're doing heavy creative work on a "instagram girl" spec of a machine designed to be used almost like a chromebook

If apple advertises "massive CPU performance", they should be able to deliver that performance without harming the lifespan of the machine.

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30 minutes ago, Grabhanem said:

If apple advertises "massive CPU performance", they should be able to deliver that performance without harming the lifespan of the machine.

a macbook air isnt a workstation for graphic design

 

Don't buy Apple M1 computers with 8GB of RAM

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7 minutes ago, just_dave said:

a macbook air isnt a workstation for graphic design

Please explain, then, why if I go to the Macbook Air page on apple.com, it's advertised as a "do‑it‑all notebook", that "MacBook Air can take on new extraordinarily intensive tasks like professional-quality editing", and with a screenshot of a graphic design program (under the Machine Learning section).

 

What reasonable person, when looking at that advertising material, would assume that this computer is unsuitable for graphical work?

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pythonmegapixel

into tech, public transport and architecture // amateur programmer // youtuber // beginner photographer

Thanks for reading all this by the way!

By the way, my desktop is a docked laptop. Get over it, No seriously, I have an exterrnal monitor, keyboard, mouse, headset, ethernet and cooling fans all connected. Using it feels no different to a desktop, it works for several hours if the power goes out, and disconnecting just a few cables gives me something I can take on the go. There's enough power for all games I play and it even copes with basic (and some not-so-basic) video editing. Give it a go - you might just love it.

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4 minutes ago, pythonmegapixel said:

Please explain, then, why if I go to the Macbook Air page on apple.com, it's advertised as a "do‑it‑all notebook", that "MacBook Air can take on new extraordinarily intensive tasks like professional-quality editing", and with a screenshot of a graphic design program (under the Machine Learning section).

 

What reasonable person, when looking at that advertising material, would assume that this computer is unsuitable for graphical work?

My understanding of the keynote was that it can do some creative work pretty well. But isn't meant to be used as a primary machine that will be hammered with photos and videos. Also using the 8GB/256GB config for this is not very smart. It still performs well, because of the high swap. So that part of Apple's advertising stands true. It just does so at the expense of SSD lifespan, which Apple doesn't advertise. So yes, use a low end machine for heavy lifting, have it perform well but reduce its lifespan.

 

So Apple is either extremely confident of the quality of their new SSDs or they just don't care beyond the 3 year window.

 

Don't buy Apple M1 computers with 8GB of RAM

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1 hour ago, igormp said:

That's related to the SMART protocol. Each "data unit" is equivalent to 512 bytes, and the reported value are in the thousands. So, basically multiply that value by 512000 and you'll have the amount of bytes written.

Ahhh thanks, that makes much more sense and the math does check out. If those reports are true, Apple should try their best to optimize so their SSDs don't wear out as fast.

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1 hour ago, just_dave said:

My understanding of the keynote was that it can do some creative work pretty well. But isn't meant to be used as a primary machine that will be hammered with photos and videos. Also using the 8GB/256GB config for this is not very smart. It still performs well, because of the high swap. So that part of Apple's advertising stands true. It just does so at the expense of SSD lifespan, which Apple doesn't advertise. So yes, use a low end machine for heavy lifting, have it perform well but reduce its lifespan.

 

So Apple is either extremely confident of the quality of their new SSDs or they just don't care beyond the 3 year window.

They literally list rendering 3D animations and editing computationally heavy videos as a recommended use case on the product page for the M1 and every device that contains it.

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Little update from my post the other week. Uptime now just under 15 days. I've had some software updates installed (Adobe CC stuff, some random other stuff) and downloaded a new macOS update but not installed. Am currently at:

Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 2.24.27 PM.png

Which is more than I was expecting (though about 3x the numbers I saw earlier), 1TB of writes is from kernel_task, which sadly obscures where the writes come from.

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