1

I prefer to use full disk encryption, LUKS to be precise. But I will also get an SSD soon. An AMD SSD to be more precise..

  • 1
    Can you please explain why you have the slightest concern that using full disk encryption in contrast to normal data storage would wear out an SSD drive faster? IMO, there should be nearly no difference in disk usage and wearing, because the amount of data to be written is very similar, no matter whether it's encrypted or plain. – Byte Commander Dec 13 '16 at 22:54
  • 2
    From some simple googling: It varies a lot on how the encryption is implemented(stream or block cypher), but more importantly where the encryption is implemented, hardware or software. Also some encryptions don't allow TRIM. So, my question is more specifically on how LUKS works with SSD's. – Mario Kamenjak Dec 14 '16 at 0:00
  • encrypting and decrypting a drive, at least the way I understand, increases reads to the drive. Sonit might decrease the lifetime of the drive but not necessarily break it – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Dec 14 '16 at 0:10
  • @Serg Aren't SSD reads wear-free? SSDs wear out on write/erase cycles, but reading should not have any side-effects IIRC. Only mechanic HDD drives slightly wear on reads due to the moving parts, I believe. – Byte Commander Dec 14 '16 at 9:37
  • @ByteCommander Just because SSDs don't have moving parts, doesn't mean they don't wear out, they're just slightly more reliable (although that can be arguable). Writes wear out the SSDs more, because you need energy to store data into SSD, but that doesn't mean you don't need energy to read data, just less energy is used. Also, see this: superuser.com/a/725145/418028 – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Dec 14 '16 at 10:19
1

Using encryption won't break your SSD or have any significant effect on its lifetime. Just make sure that all the layers between the SSD and the filesystem can pass TRIM commands. In particular, use the option discard in your /etc/cryptsetup:

target-name UUID=uuid-of-source-device none luks,discard
                                                 ^^^^^^^

You may also want to partition the disk leaving some space unused -- about 5% should be fine; some SSDs have a very hard time when all user-visible data blocks are used.

Note 1: Some SSDs use hardware compression to reduce the amount of data actually written or read from the device. For such a SSD using encryption will have a clear impact on performance and lifetime, but still nothing to worry about.

Note 2: Some SSDs are of lower quality than other SSDs. Low quality SSDs may have issues of their own. Look for reviews in reputable publications, such as AnandTech, Tom's Hardware and the like.

  • Note that discard command would leak some info about what is in the encrypted partition. Even file system type can be determined. – Andrius Štikonas Dec 15 '16 at 16:19

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.