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Topic: Every Wii U consoles internal flash memory will eventually fail to boot

Posts 21 to 34 of 34

Dogorilla

@ThanosReXXX Yeah, there were one or two Wii games that I wasn't able to copy the save files of when I was backing them up. Animal Crossing is the only one I can remember specifically.

I think for the time being I'll probably leave my consoles unmodded. Then if I do run into any hard drive issues in the future, hopefully it won't be too late to install the mods then and restore my backups. Having region free access would be nice (I've heard good things about Excite Bots!) but there are still a lot of PAL region Wii and GameCube games that I want to get, so I'm not too desperate to start buying US-only games at the moment. I'll keep it in mind for the future though! Thanks again for the advice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NCyD3XoJgM

ThanosReXXX

@Dogorilla You're welcome. Just keep those links I gave you in your favorites, and whenever you want to know anything more, just tag me and I'll help out where I can.

'The console wars are like boobs. Sony and Microsoft fight over which ones look the nicest and Nintendo's are the most fun to play with.'

Nintendo Network ID: ThanosReXX

Dogorilla

@ThanosReXXX Oh thanks! I'm aware of retrogames.co.uk but haven't seen the other two before.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NCyD3XoJgM

ThanosReXXX

@Dogorilla You're welcome. Sadly, due to the whole pandemic, ConsoleMAD is currently closed, but you can subscribe and/or keep tabs on titles you might want.

'The console wars are like boobs. Sony and Microsoft fight over which ones look the nicest and Nintendo's are the most fun to play with.'

Nintendo Network ID: ThanosReXX

Phil100

@ThanosReXXX Good information there thank you.

What is yours or others opinions on unopened wii and/or wii u consoles (maybe as a backup or to collect) - they would surely not be worth having for two potential reasons in the long term:

1 - Any way nintendo may use to overcome read issues such as what windows machines can do (e.g. CHKDSK) would not be able to run if the consoles aren't on or aren't on for any significant length of time.

2 - The NAND data can't be retrieved later once the console fails to boot (and would be faulty data at that point anyway).

Keeping a console unused may make it actually lose value if it doesn't work in future. Opening it up to mod it makes it instantly a used console but more likely workable in future?

Edited on by Phil100

Phil100

ThanosReXXX

@Phil100 You're welcome.

As for your current question: you have to keep in mind that people that buy and store/keep unopened consoles are collectors, and as such, don't really have the need to play on them, much like they keep comics in plastic without reading them, and figurines/statuettes in their original packaging as well, so if the consoles will ultimately fail, is of little relevance.

Personally, I think, as mentioned before, that the degradation mentioned in that article, is more of a general estimate, not a proven point, especially not where consoles are concerned. Both my Wii and Xbox 360 are well past 10 years old, and still in perfect working order. I've never had any read or write error issues with either of them.

'The console wars are like boobs. Sony and Microsoft fight over which ones look the nicest and Nintendo's are the most fun to play with.'

Nintendo Network ID: ThanosReXX

Phil100

I don't know much about xbox 360s, but there seems a few results showing issues with the versions that have non removable flash memory built in. For example

I suppose around 2006 was where non removable flash was put into consoles (wii). If the data can't be manualy rewritten and if it doesn't refresh it automatically the operating system will fail. Eventually.

Maybe the ones that have failed are the ones stored and therefore there is no chance the data can be auto repaired? I think if (when?) a significant amount of 2006/2007 wii's start becoming known to be failing then it would be more obviously a thing, and then would mean its worth backing up with a soft mod the later made 2012 plus Wii U's.

Edit - the article I don't think suggests 10 years, that was more of an estimate based on various other info online. It could be more like 20-25 years...but seems to suggest it will fail at some point, just like flash memory in usb drives will fail.

Edited on by Phil100

Phil100

ThanosReXXX

@Phil100 I don't think a Reddit post is valid proof of some kind of common issue. Those issues are few and far between. We can find all kinds of issues with all kinds of consoles or handhelds, if we search hard enough. It's definitely not a common thing.

As for the comparison between internal flash memory and USB drives/sticks, that one doesn't fly. Different type of flash memory. The removable drives aren't meant/to be used for constant reading and writing, internal flash memory is. The difference is millions of operations vs the 10's of thousands of operations of removable media.

And as mentioned before, there's all kinds of measures/processes implemented on the PCB, to prevent any serious harm to come to that internal memory.

Far as I'm concerned, this is a total non-issue.

'The console wars are like boobs. Sony and Microsoft fight over which ones look the nicest and Nintendo's are the most fun to play with.'

Nintendo Network ID: ThanosReXX

Phil100

I wasn't so much refrerring to the rewrite limits of flash memory, but the failure to store the operating system data on flash memory, as flash memory can't store things as long as on a traditional magnetic hard drive before the data becomes unreadable over time.

Some other stuff about flash failure but to do with rewrite errors etc:

https://tesla-info.com/blog/tesla-mcu1-emmc-failure.php

https://www.embedded.com/avoid-corruption-in-nonvolatile-memory/

Edited on by Phil100

Phil100

ThanosReXXX

@Phil100 You forgot to tag me in your reply, so I wasn't notified. It is that it just so happens that I was browsing the forum topics, otherwise I would have missed it completely...

As for the topic at hand: AGAIN, it is a non-issue on consoles, because of protective measures taken.
You're doing the "square peg in the round hole" thing. If I wouldn't know any better, I'd say you're trying a bit too hard to prove your point, or to prove that you're right. The read/write comment I made is definitely relevant, because each time you access an operating system, that too is read and it will also be written to, depending on the actions you perform in that operating system, and as such, it stays active and the data stays relatively fresh. If anything, you'd run more of a risk of data degradation when a console is NOT in use or connected to a power outlet.

Either way, all info you've provided so far, except for that sketchy, one in a million Reddit link, doesn't concern consoles or specifically mentions them. And although the base components such as the flash modules themselves, are often off the shelf parts, the PCB's in consoles are ALL custom made, including all kinds of precautions having to do with data retention on core components.

It would be absolutely stupid and dense to even for a second believe that console manufacturers don't take these kinds of things into consideration in the whole design process. Memory degradation isn't something new, so they already know. And of course, they also keep up to speed themselves, with technical advances and counter-measures to known issues or potentially harmful issues.

Such counter-measures are even mentioned in that second article you linked to:
(and be sure to take note of the parts I highlighted in bold text)

"The key to using nonvolatile memory effectively in an embedded system is to add layers of protection against corruption to the system, so the probability of a corrupting event occurring becomes negligibly small.

To explain this protection process, I define nonvolatile corrupting event as any change in memory contents that adversely affects a critical system function. Corruption protection is added to the system to prevent corrupting events. Such protection consists of additional software and hardware and is implemented through a combination of two basic methods: preventing unintentional changes to memory contents (data integrity protection ) and preventing unintended data changes from affecting system functionality (data robustness protection ).

All systems should always incorporate methods of both types because the strengths of one covers the weaknesses in the other. While the two methods increase the immunity of the embedded system, they do so at the expense of simplicity: both add complexity to either the hardware or software designs. The true art to designing corruption protection is to find the correct balance between protection and added complexity."

Now, you might be fooled into thinking that Nintendo, or any other company wouldn't be bothered to think about what can happen to somebody's console more than a decade from now, but in fact, these issues can also occur sooner than that, so according to the simple "better safe than sorry" rule, things like these will have been dealt with for the most part, if not completely, during the initial design of the console's hardware.

And once you've bought a game, or a console, and you use it as you're supposed to, then you'll always have a right to any kind of repairs and/or restitution, if something weird happens to it, regardless of it being out of warranty or not. You might have to pay a small fee, but it IS their product, and as such, when no fault can be found with the user/consumer, the manufacturer should comply.

As for that first link about Tesla: completely irrelevant. A car isn't a console, so you can understand that they work in completely different ways, and as such, the memory modules are also taxed in a different way. Electronic components in cars, more often than not, are also not really as custom made as in something as proprietary as a console environment. After all: they have to adhere to strict rules and regulations.

But, having said all that, it's ALWAYS worth the trouble of having a backup of ANY kind of data that you possess on ANY device, whether that's a console, a smart phone, a digital camera or even a hard drive itself. I even know plenty of people that have copies from copies, just to be on the safe side...

'The console wars are like boobs. Sony and Microsoft fight over which ones look the nicest and Nintendo's are the most fun to play with.'

Nintendo Network ID: ThanosReXX

Phil100

@ThanosReXXX

Sorry for the slow reply but I actually agree with everything you are saying...including your info about consoles having systems in place to correct errors or prevent errors. Your view on it helped me realise that it will be integrated into the operating system.

When you said...If anything, you'd run more of a risk of data degradation when a console is NOT in use or connected to a power outlet.....

Yes that is what I was getting to when I said above that maybe the ones that have failed are the ones stored and therefore there is no chance the data can be auto repaired?

Crucial have this article explaining long term data retention issues with SSD's:

https://uk.crucial.com/support/articles-faq-ssd/ssds-and-smar...

Where they say amongst other things regarding the maintenance tasks you mentioned:

''However, SSD firmware takes this into account. As the SSD continues to age, error correction code (ECC), read retries, adaptive read parameters, background data maintenance, and other adjustments in firmware can correct problems that arise because of gradually degrading data retention. As NAND data blocks degrade, they can be replaced by on-board spares, and normal operations can proceed. Of course, all these background operations take place when power is on, which is why data retention is defined in an unpowered state..''

And also that...''Eventually, long beyond the warrantied life of the drive, any new write will not be retainable at all while unpowered.''

So the idea of storing a console as mint, but to use as a backup of some sort or sell as mint later on (but still in a useable condition as opoosed to sealed and never used) might not be possible for modern flash based consoles like wii/wii u etc. Powering consoles on and leaving on idle for several hours every few months or every year or so maybe would help preserve its function for longer.

Edited on by Phil100

Phil100

Zeldafan79

Oh yeah? You will eventually fail too! Your heart will stop and you'll be worm food. You can't back that up! If your system fails to boot just buy another one and mod the crap outta it.

Edited on by Zeldafan79

Zeldafan79

ThanosReXXX

@Phil100 True, but you're missing the point: those who collect or store these consoles, don't do that to play on them, so if the flash memory degrades over time, then that is literally of ZERO consequence to them. They just want the box looking nice on their display, many times also sealed in plastic for longevity, so this only counts for people that might pick up another console for spare parts or as a backup system.

But even then, as mentioned time and again, those measures are in place. All the info you keep providing is of no relevance to consoles. It's info about flash memory in general, not about specialized hardware such as consoles, so you need to stop generalizing already.

On a side note: and that article you linked to now, basically says "you need to use our tools to prevent this", so yeah, I'm going to put ZERO stock in that...

'The console wars are like boobs. Sony and Microsoft fight over which ones look the nicest and Nintendo's are the most fun to play with.'

Nintendo Network ID: ThanosReXX

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