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Is there a way to estimate the lifetime of a SD card? If not, is there a utility I can use that monitors its integrity and reliability so I know when to use a new SD card?

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I'm also confused by the reasoning behind the "close" votes as not constructive. Is it because different SD cards will have different answers? –  jandjorgensen Jun 13 '12 at 20:05
    
It is just very hard to answer authoritatively, until someone actually does some experiments to find out. –  finnw Jun 13 '12 at 20:34
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What makes it a bad question is that the answers will be guesses –  finnw Jun 13 '12 at 20:52
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That would make those answers bad answers. Just because it can't be answered accurately now doesn't mean it can't be accurately answered. –  jandjorgensen Jun 13 '12 at 20:57
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@finnw - A question which is difficult to answer isn't a bad question, it's a good question! It's a question which people are going to keep on asking, so is perfect for a site intended as a reference for answering questions that people want answered. Bad answers on the other hand can be voted down. Not allowing people to try to answer defeats the purpose of a stack exchange site. –  Mark Booth Jun 14 '12 at 10:28
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1 Answer

up vote 9 down vote accepted

There are several tools that will check integrity of a filesystem, and recurring errors will point to a SD card reaching the end of its lifetime.

fsck is a commonly used Linux application and you can use it to check a partition like this:

fsck /dev/sdx

Where x is the partition number.

As for estimating the lifetime, the Sandisk Product Manual states:

SanDisk SD cards have an endurance specification for each sector of 100,000 writes typical (reading a logical sector is unlimited).

However, I do not know how many read/writes the typical OS uses on average.

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I think 'typical' would be indescribable. It would be completely dependent on the software installed. It may be possible to calculate the read/writes of a clean install but that will vary with each little update making the statistic fairly meaningless. I think the tools you listed combined with the knowledge that it will take a good while to burn up a card should be sufficient base data to go on. –  tencent Jun 14 '12 at 16:48
    
@tencent I think it's the best we can do. –  Jivings Jun 16 '12 at 14:21
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