If you want to find out how much abuse your SSD can really take, there's only one thing for it: test it to destruction with the Flash Destroyer.

The Flash Destroyer is a kit from the accurately named Dangerous Prototypes site - via SlashDot - and exists for one purpose only: to write to a connected EEPROM and verify that the data is correctly stored, over and over again.

The front of the device features a counter which indicates how many write cycles the connected flash chip has suffered through - and when the drive starts to fail the verify cycles, the numbers are frozen to give a true indicator of exactly how many write cycles you can expect to get from that particular model of flash memory.

It's a neat idea - and in keeping with Dangerous Prototypes' open-source philosophy, full source code and hardware diagrams are available on Google Code if you fancy building one yourself. Sadly, the name is a bit of a misnomer - the device is designed to interface with EEPROM chips rather than the type of flash memory chips found in your average SSD, and there's no support as yet for simply hooking up a storage device via SATA.

If you do build your own - or if you buy the pre-prepared kit - it's probably worth pointing out the obvious at this point: this will destroy any connected chip in short order. While it's useful for testing, it is a destructive process - so it's probably better to just watch the device's creators destroy chips on your behalf.

Do you think that the Flash Destroyer could prove a useful tool in discovering just how the limited write cycles can affect SSDs, or does its destructive nature mean it's more of a novelty than anything else? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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