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How to buy and use a second-hand SSD? [Safely]

Is It Worth-Buying Used SSDs?

Are you planning to buy a second-hand SSD?

I know it is not an easy decision to make. Even the used SSD can cost you around 100$ if the storage capacity is 1TB or more. But, the main thing that brings us the worries is that there is always a risk included in these deals.

Let’s suppose.

If you are going to buy a used SSD for $50, one part of you would always keep telling you that just go for a new device and keep yourself away from worries. But, we are humans and we have a tendency to always save something from somewhere.

Actually, buying second-hand items is a 50-50 game. Even after doing a whole lot of inspections, you never know when that device is going to fail. Most of the second-hand electronic items will come without a warranty and the seller will never tell you about the existing problems.

The same thing will apply when you try to buy a second-hand SSD. SSDs are durable and long-lasting but various things can reduce their lifetimes. The main thing here is the TBW (TeraBytes Written) which tells how much of your SSD’s overall read/to write limit is used.

Also, the environment and the exposure to heat can also reduce the quality of components inside an SSD. But, in general, If you see an SSD has a good TBW limit remained, you can think about buying it.

So, I am here to tell you everything and help you make your decision confidently. Trust me, there is a safe way to do it. So, without any delays, let’s get started.

Are used SSDs available for sale? 

Yes, definitely. There are multiple online websites and stores where you can buy used SSDs. You could even buy a used SSD from someone you know who does not need it anymore or has upgraded his/her drive. 

Whether you buy it from an online store or an individual, there are certain things you need to know before handling your cash to anyone. 

Buying a used SSD can be a hit or miss situation. If you are well informed then you might be able to get a good SSD at a nominal price (when compared to the cost of new). But if you know nothing about SSDs, it won’t take the seller long to fool you. So it is always better to be well-informed before making a deal.

What Affect An SSD’s Life and Performance 

The lifespan and performance of SSDs depend on a multitude of factors. Performance depends on factors like the make and model of the SSD, technology used, and how heavily it is being used or was used in the past, and the device in which it is being used. The performance of the SSD also degrades (not significantly) with use. 

The lifespan of an SSD depends on factors like brand, age, terabytes written (TBW), drive writes per day (DWPD), etc. 

1. Age

On average, an SSD can last for 10 years. As an SSD reaches closer to the mark of 10 years, chances of failure increases. With constant wear and tear, SSDs develop bad blocks and cause errors with time. 

Most SSDs work fine and fast for at least the first 5 years. Yet again life span also depends on other factors and particular types of usage by the earlier user.

2. Terabytes written 

SSDs rely on NAND flash chips for storage (which makes them fast), however, there is only a limited number of time you can write on your solid-state drive. 

This figure is what we call terabytes written or TBW. After the age of the SSD, TBW is a modest way of judging the remaining life span of an SSD. 

Different manufacturers have their TBW figures for their SSDs. If your SSD manufacturer says that your SSD has a TBW of 140, it means that you can write 140 terabytes of data on it. 

The number of terabytes available to write on an SSD is often large and only heavy users hit that threshold. However, I would suggest you make use of any popular SSD Management software to check the Total Bytes Written on the SSD. Some of the popular software are:

SSD Life

Samsung Magician

KIOXIA SSD Utility Management Software

3. Drive writes per day 

Another metric that is often considered to judge the life span of an SSD is drive writes per day. As the name indicates, it is the number of times a user can overwrite the storage space in an SSD each day. 

It is good to check the DWPD before purchasing your SSD. For example, if a 500GB has a 1 DWPD, it can write 500GB data per day on average. But, this rule will be applied only if your SSD is within its warranty period.

So, you should always try to confirm the remaining warranty period of your SSD and check if it can handle the work you want to give to it.

4. P/E Cycles

SSDs need to erase older data to store new ones once it’s filled, it is what we call the program/erase cycle. With overwriting of each cell or P/E cycle, the reliability of the cell decreases.

At a point in time when all the cells are worn down due to a large amount of P/E cycle executed on each cell, the SSD either fails or becomes highly unreliable. 

Other things 

There are plenty of other things that get degraded with time and use of an SSD. For instance, many SSDs develop bad blocks and errors with use. Also, people often overclock their SSD to make the controllers perform at their highest limits. So, it is a wise decision not to go for a used SSD that was being used under abnormal environments.

What should you check before buying a second-hand SSD? 

There are multiple things that you would like to know when buying a used SSD. Knowledge of its age, TBW, P/E cycles, and DWPD, would help you make an informed decision. 

However, the problem is it’s very hard to know or estimate that how many times an SSD has been written or overwritten. Therefore, age becomes the only determinant factor while buying second-hand SSD. 

You can make use of certain programs like Crystaldiskinfo to check the number of times an SSD has been written and to check other SSD SMART parameters. 

Another thing you would want to check is the number of bad blocks in the SSD. Or the number of non-working cells. It is again tough to estimate. 

It would be wise to check the SSD for any errors. 

Age is a very important factor to consider. The older an SSD is, the chance are it has been used significantly. And therefore, the SSD might be close to hitting its TBW or P/E threshold. 

When buying a used SSD, it’s good to buy one that is not very old. Check SMART parameters (if that SSD has SMART features) can again help you judge how extensively it was used. You can then consider all this information to decide on either buying or not buying that SSD. 

How much price difference can be there and is it worth it the efforts?

Most of the times, a used (second-hand) SSD can cost you 30-40% less than its actual price. The overall price reduction depends on the platform you are using because companies also get their profits. If you are dealing offline from your friend or even from a nearby electronic store, you can get a discount up to 50%.

So, I would say that the efforts are really worth it. If you are going to buy a 1TB or 2TB SSD, you can easily end up saving around 100$ and that is really a good amount to save.

However, there is a big risk included in these purchases. As we discussed earlier, you are not going to have any warranty with these products. So, if it get damaged on the next day after the installation, you can do nothing but lost your precious money and regret. So, do it only if you believe the approached product is in good condition.

Where to buy used (Second-Hand)SSDs? 

You can buy used SSDs from anyone and anywhere you trust. But in case you are looking to buy used SSDs online– here is our list of the preferred online store to buy used SSDs. 

1. eBay

eBay is a trusted portal for online shopping. But it is also known for buying and selling used stuff. If you are looking to buy a used SSD, checking some on eBay is not a bad idea. However, since eBay is not selling those drives directly, the trustworthiness of eBay is not always associated. 

2. Amazon

Amazon has also started selling used-stuff. If you could get some good deals, going with Amazon is all good. 

3. OLX

OLX is the leading marketplace to buy and sell used stuff. If you are lucky enough, you might able to spot used SSDs for sale on OLX. However, you need to be extra cautious when buying on OLX.

5. Newegg

This is another highly popular online marketplace where you can easily buy and sell computer hardware and even systems too. Newegg serves in almost all the countries in the world. So, you can try here to get a second-hand SSD for you.

Conclusion

I would suggest you buy an SSD only from a trusted or known seller. If you are buying it online, make sure that the website has approved that it’s a refurbished product. It would be good if you choose a popular platform like eBay or NewEgg and get an SSD with at least one year of warranty.