|Relax, chances are good the SSD will last as long as the rest of the computer. Your first concern will probably be disk space before reliability. |
That said, you seem to be confused by the technology.
ddontabletpc: Read somewhere that some background programs can "use-up" a SSD's write capacity
Yes and no. A background program can, and commonly do, perform various I/O tasks. Say writing to a log file. Even if an application is sitting there idle, they eat up some amount of memory. This increases the memory pressure, and could cause Windows to swap out memory when it might not have otherwise.
ddontabletpc: then the drive is no good except to read from?
There's no set limit of writes before the drive shuts down and refuses to write. It'll keep doing its job until it's too damaged to function. What damages a SSD? Writing to it. By contrast, reading from the drive does not degrade the memory cells.
ddontabletpc: Could this be referring to wear-leveling
Computers write some data more than other data, and it makes sense if you think about it. Most of your programs will be installed and written to disk. Then you simply use the program, and never replace it. Early first generation SSDs would go bad after months of heavy use. The reason was because some blocks saw almost constant writes. 99.9% of the drive could have been fine, but this one block of data Windows was constantly overwriting wore a figurative hole in the drive.
The solution was wear leveling. The basic idea was to level out the writing across the whole drive. When you wrote to Block 5, the disk would write to Block 5 like normal. Then, when you wanted to overwrite Block 5, the SSD would write to Block 6, and make a note to look for Block 5's data in Block 6. Do it again, and the disk would write to Block 7. This theoretically "spreads the load" across the entire disk.
ddontabletpc: Or could this be related to trim?
TRIM is marketed as a performance feature, but it's more than that. It's Windows (or any OS) telling the SSD that the data in Block 5 was deleted. Since SSD cells need to be emptied before they can be overwritten, this allows the drive to clean the cells, prepare them to be written to again, and throw away that note that says, "Block 5's data is in Block 7." It's a lot like using rewritable CDs, if you're familiar with that. The SSD can take care of this in the background, ideal because cleaning is a slow process.
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