HDD or SSD as primary storage

Discussion in 'Storage Devices' started by thricipio, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. thricipio

    thricipio Guest

    I'm getting ready to purchase a new laptop and am trying to decide
    whether or not to use a conventional HDD as my primary storage drive,
    or go with one of the new SSD drives.

    I've already read one thread that gives me pause regarding going with
    an SSD:
    -----------
    https://groups.google.com/d/topic/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage/7ZgKnEUJj84/discussion

    But besides this, I've heard that SSD technology has an inherent limit
    to the amount of times it can write. A BestBuy GeekSquad guy told me,
    "Yes, that's theoretically true, but you'd have to use the drive
    24x7x52 for six years before it would become a problem, and any
    mechanical (HDD) would fail long before then under such a usage
    load."

    I don't know... that answer sounded a little too good to be accurate,
    so I thought I'd post here for some more (and probably more reliable)
    input.

    Any more guidance will be appreciated. Thanks. --Thri
     
    thricipio, Mar 6, 2012
    #1
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  2. thricipio

    Arno Guest

    thricipio <> wrote:
    > I'm getting ready to purchase a new laptop and am trying to decide
    > whether or not to use a conventional HDD as my primary storage drive,
    > or go with one of the new SSD drives.


    > I've already read one thread that gives me pause regarding going with
    > an SSD:
    > -----------
    > https://groups.google.com/d/topic/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage/7ZgKnEUJj84/discussion


    > But besides this, I've heard that SSD technology has an inherent limit
    > to the amount of times it can write. A BestBuy GeekSquad guy told me,
    > "Yes, that's theoretically true, but you'd have to use the drive
    > 24x7x52 for six years before it would become a problem, and any
    > mechanical (HDD) would fail long before then under such a usage
    > load."


    This is basically misdirection: "use" != "write". When constantly writing,
    consumer-grade die pretty fast. Also well-treated HDDs do reach ages
    higher than 6 years even running 24/7.

    The issue is more subtle: SSDs are new and relatively untried devices.
    While mechanical shock is not a risk, software problems and hardware
    design issues are very much so. If you write a lot (e.g. lots
    of downloading, viedo editing or the like), your SSD will die
    young, while a HDD soes not care at all. Also, some SSDs start
    to limit the write speed to very low speeds at some point in order
    to reach their promised lifetimes. The german computer magazine
    c't is currently conducting a long-term experiment on this with
    a number of SSDs, in issue 3/2012. One got dramatically slower at
    20TB, two are getting linearly slower and one dropped its write
    rate to 10% after 140TB written. Four (including the ones
    getting linearly slower) are fine, but just have reached
    40-60TB though. This is out of 6 drives.

    > I don't know... that answer sounded a little too good to be accurate,
    > so I thought I'd post here for some more (and probably more reliable)
    > input.


    > Any more guidance will be appreciated. Thanks. --Thri


    It depends on your usage patterns. If you do not write a lot
    (normal usage), an SSD should be fine for 3-10 years, difficult
    to say exactly at this time. It is shock-proof and very fast. It
    is_not_ more reliable than a normal HDD, so a full backup is
    still mandatory. Depending on the SSD, it may also not consume
    less power than a HDD.

    Also, SSDs have less data shelf life than HDDs. While data on
    a HDD is usually fine after 10 years, SSDs may experience
    data loss after a few years (3...5), especially consumer
    grade SSDs. This is mostly a problem when they are not used,
    as at leas some SSDs do background refreshing of data that has
    started to get weak. Information is sketchy on this though.

    So, do not trust them too much, but if you are willing to pay
    for speed and mechanical ruggedness, go for a SSD. Otherwise
    stay with a conventional HDD.

    Arno
    --
    Arno Wagner, Dr. sc. techn., Dipl. Inform., CISSP -- Email:
    GnuPG: ID: 1E25338F FP: 0C30 5782 9D93 F785 E79C 0296 797F 6B50 1E25 338F
    ----
    Cuddly UI's are the manifestation of wishful thinking. -- Dylan Evans
     
    Arno, Mar 7, 2012
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  3. thricipio

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    On 06/03/2012 1:13 PM, thricipio wrote:
    > I'm getting ready to purchase a new laptop and am trying to decide
    > whether or not to use a conventional HDD as my primary storage drive,
    > or go with one of the new SSD drives.
    >
    > I've already read one thread that gives me pause regarding going with
    > an SSD:
    > -----------
    > https://groups.google.com/d/topic/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage/7ZgKnEUJj84/discussion
    >
    > But besides this, I've heard that SSD technology has an inherent limit
    > to the amount of times it can write. A BestBuy GeekSquad guy told me,
    > "Yes, that's theoretically true, but you'd have to use the drive
    > 24x7x52 for six years before it would become a problem, and any
    > mechanical (HDD) would fail long before then under such a usage
    > load."
    >
    > I don't know... that answer sounded a little too good to be accurate,
    > so I thought I'd post here for some more (and probably more reliable)
    > input.
    >
    > Any more guidance will be appreciated. Thanks. --Thri


    I would not use an SSD as your day-to-day storage drive, I'd use it only
    as a boot drive for the OS, and store stuff off to an HDD, even an
    external one.

    I'm in the process of considering an SSD myself, to upgrade my desktop,
    for faster boot times and OS installation.

    But as Arno said, SSD's are new technology, they have not been proven
    for their longevity yet. I would not trust their longevity estimates.
    Just recall those overblown estimates of the lifetimes of CD's and
    DVD's, there were estimates that they'd live 100 years, 1000 years,
    whatever! Just 30 years later many are now unreadable.

    Yousuf Khan
     
    Yousuf Khan, Mar 8, 2012
    #3
  4. thricipio

    Noob Guest

    Arno wrote:

    > The issue is more subtle: SSDs are new and relatively untried devices.
    > While mechanical shock is not a risk, software problems and hardware
    > design issues are very much so. If you write a lot (e.g. lots
    > of downloading, viedo editing or the like), your SSD will die
    > young, while a HDD soes not care at all. Also, some SSDs start
    > to limit the write speed to very low speeds at some point in order
    > to reach their promised lifetimes. The german computer magazine
    > c't is currently conducting a long-term experiment on this with
    > a number of SSDs, in issue 3/2012. One got dramatically slower at
    > 20TB, two are getting linearly slower and one dropped its write
    > rate to 10% after 140TB written. Four (including the ones
    > getting linearly slower) are fine, but just have reached
    > 40-60TB though. This is out of 6 drives.


    Isn't this the problem that TRIM is supposed to solve?

    Tying it All Together: SSD Performance Degradation
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2829/9

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIM

    > TRIM was introduced soon after SSDs started to become an affordable
    > alternative to traditional hard disks. Because low-level operation of
    > SSDs differs significantly from mechanical hard disks, the typical
    > way in which operating systems handle operations like deletes and
    > formats (not explicitly communicating the involved sectors/pages to
    > the underlying storage medium) resulted in unanticipated progressive
    > performance degradation of write operations on SSDs. TRIM enables
    > the SSD to handle garbage collection overhead, that would otherwise
    > significantly slow down future write operations to the involved
    > blocks, in advance.


    Regards.
     
    Noob, Mar 9, 2012
    #4
  5. On Fri, 09 Mar 2012 11:00:10 +0100, Noob wrote:
    > Arno wrote:


    >> [...] Also, some SSDs start
    >> to limit the write speed to very low speeds at some point in order
    >> to reach their promised lifetimes.

    [...]
    >
    > Isn't this the problem that TRIM is supposed to solve?


    TRIM doesn't solve the problem with limited write cycles of flash memory.
    As SSD manufacturer you have two options:

    1. Allow the maximum write speed and the drive dies within weeks.

    2. Reduce the write speed over time, so the user needs at least 2 years
    (or the warranty period), to reach the physical limits of the flash
    cells. If the drive dies out of warranty, everything is fine (for
    the vendor).

    Joseph
     
    Joseph Terner, Mar 10, 2012
    #5
  6. thricipio

    Arno Guest

    Joseph Terner <> wrote:
    > On Fri, 09 Mar 2012 11:00:10 +0100, Noob wrote:
    >> Arno wrote:


    >>> [...] Also, some SSDs start
    >>> to limit the write speed to very low speeds at some point in order
    >>> to reach their promised lifetimes.

    > [...]
    >>
    >> Isn't this the problem that TRIM is supposed to solve?


    > TRIM doesn't solve the problem with limited write cycles of flash memory.
    > As SSD manufacturer you have two options:


    > 1. Allow the maximum write speed and the drive dies within weeks.


    > 2. Reduce the write speed over time, so the user needs at least 2 years
    > (or the warranty period), to reach the physical limits of the flash
    > cells. If the drive dies out of warranty, everything is fine (for
    > the vendor).


    That would fit the data. I had a look at that C't Article again,
    dramatic drop of in onw SSD at 140TB written, two still going
    at 40TB and 60TB (these are slower) and one fast drop-off at 20TB.

    Will be interesting to see how this progresses.

    Incidentally, there is

    3. Don't lie to your customer about the characteristics of your
    product, not even by omission.

    But as most customers do not understand what they are buying and
    have short memories, that leads to economic failure of the product.
    In some areas you can at least look at the professional offerings
    (e.g. Compact Flash) and compare. For example, if the 5 times as
    expensive CF card only offers 5 years data-lifetime, than what can
    you realistically expect from the consumer grade one?

    Arno
    --
    Arno Wagner, Dr. sc. techn., Dipl. Inform., CISSP -- Email:
    GnuPG: ID: 1E25338F FP: 0C30 5782 9D93 F785 E79C 0296 797F 6B50 1E25 338F
    ----
    Cuddly UI's are the manifestation of wishful thinking. -- Dylan Evans
     
    Arno, Mar 11, 2012
    #6
  7. thricipio

    thricipio Guest

    To one and all who replied. Thank you so much. Abundantly helpful.
    For my purposes, my conclusion, based on your input: I'm going to
    stick with HDD's. Seems to me SSD's are not ready for primetime in
    terms of reliability and longevity. Perhaps they will be ready
    someday, or perhaps an entirely new solid state technology will
    arrive. In any case, thanks again.
    --Thri

    On Mar 6, 2:13 pm, thricipio <> wrote:
    > I'm getting ready to purchase a new laptop and am trying to decide
    > whether or not to use a conventional HDD as my primary storage drive,
    > or go with one of the new SSD drives.
    > :
    > [snip]
    > :
    > Any more guidance will be appreciated. Thanks. --Thri
     
    thricipio, Mar 12, 2012
    #7
  8. Arno <> wrote:

    >It depends on your usage patterns. If you do not write a lot
    >(normal usage), an SSD should be fine for 3-10 years, difficult
    >to say exactly at this time.


    Do any of the current laptop computers allow the user to install a
    HD and a SSD simultaneously? If some did, that would allow the user
    to use a SSD where speed is really needed and use a HD for files
    that are written to frequently.
    --
    When a cat sits in a human's lap both the human and the cat are usually
    happy. The human is happy because he thinks the cat is sitting on him/her
    because it loves her/him. The cat is happy because it thinks that by sitting
    on the human it is dominant over the human.
     
    Daniel Prince, Mar 12, 2012
    #8
  9. a1pcfixer <> wrote:

    >Daniel,
    >
    >> Do any of the current laptop computers allow the user to install a
    >> HD and a SSD simultaneously?

    >
    >Not exactly as you worded it, but yes you can order some that way new.
    >I'd then put ONLY the OS on the SSD/boot drive, and EVERYTHING else on
    >the HDD.


    What about the EXE files of programs that you use frequently?

    What size of SSD would you order if you used Windows 7 64 bit?

    What size of SSD would you order if you used Windows 7 64 bit and
    Linux?
    --
    When a cat sits in a human's lap both the human and the cat are usually
    happy. The human is happy because he thinks the cat is sitting on him/her
    because it loves her/him. The cat is happy because it thinks that by sitting
    on the human it is dominant over the human.
     
    Daniel Prince, Mar 12, 2012
    #9
  10. thricipio

    Noob Guest

    Ant wrote:

    > Arno wrote:
    >
    >> That would fit the data. I had a look at that C't Article again,
    >> dramatic drop of in onw SSD at 140TB written, two still going
    >> at 40TB and 60TB (these are slower) and one fast drop-off at 20TB.

    >
    > How can we check to see how much have been written on our SSDs? I hope
    > mine are low since I started using my Corsair Force Series F115
    > Solid-State Disk (SSD) (CSSD-F115GB2-BRKT-A) back on Thanksgiving 2011
    > day for my new Debian stable installation. :)


    Some SSDs implement SMART. That might provide some clues?

    Media Wearout Indicator
    Total LBAs Written
     
    Noob, Mar 12, 2012
    #10
  11. thricipio

    Noob Guest

    Joseph Terner wrote:
    > Noob wrote:
    >> Arno wrote:

    >
    >>> [...] Also, some SSDs start
    >>> to limit the write speed to very low speeds at some point in order
    >>> to reach their promised lifetimes.

    > [...]
    >>
    >> Isn't this the problem that TRIM is supposed to solve?

    >
    > TRIM doesn't solve the problem with limited write cycles of flash memory.
    > As SSD manufacturer you have two options:
    >
    > 1. Allow the maximum write speed and the drive dies within weeks.


    Meh... too much hyperbole.

    cf. http://www.anandtech.com/show/2829/6

    Naive calculation (assuming perfect wear-leveling, no write amplification,
    and 5k erase cycles) one can write ~1 PB to a 256-GB SSD.

    (That's 275 GB per day over 10 years.)

    More on so-called "High Endurance" cells:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4807/intel-officially-announces-ssd-710-series-for-the-enterprise
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-710-enterprise-x25-e,3038-4.html

    Regards.
     
    Noob, Mar 12, 2012
    #11
  12. thricipio

    Rob Guest

    On 12/03/2012 7:14 PM, Daniel Prince wrote:
    > a1pcfixer<> wrote:
    >
    >> Daniel,
    >>
    >>> Do any of the current laptop computers allow the user to install a
    >>> HD and a SSD simultaneously?

    >>
    >> Not exactly as you worded it, but yes you can order some that way new.
    >> I'd then put ONLY the OS on the SSD/boot drive, and EVERYTHING else on
    >> the HDD.

    >
    > What about the EXE files of programs that you use frequently?
    >
    > What size of SSD would you order if you used Windows 7 64 bit?
    >
    > What size of SSD would you order if you used Windows 7 64 bit and
    > Linux?



    SSD only come in limited sizes - large 240Gb

    Cost a bit under $1 /GB

    HDD cost about 7c /Gb

    your choice

    The slowest part of a PC now within an average system is the HDD.

    What advantages do SSD have within the system as a whole are they worth
    the extra cost for a faster boot time?
     
    Rob, Mar 12, 2012
    #12
  13. thricipio

    Krypsis Guest

    On 12/03/2012 5:57 PM, Daniel Prince wrote:
    > Arno<> wrote:
    >
    >> It depends on your usage patterns. If you do not write a lot
    >> (normal usage), an SSD should be fine for 3-10 years, difficult
    >> to say exactly at this time.

    >
    > Do any of the current laptop computers allow the user to install a
    > HD and a SSD simultaneously? If some did, that would allow the user
    > to use a SSD where speed is really needed and use a HD for files
    > that are written to frequently.


    My 5+ year old Toshiba Qosmio has provision for two hard drives. It was
    originally equipped with 2 x 160 GB Toshiba drives. I have since
    replaced them with 2 500 GB units from Western Digital. The interesting
    point is that the new drives are faster, use half the current and
    (obviously) have 3 times the capacity. Battery life has been noticeably
    extended. I don't know if the all the SSDs are of the same form factor
    or if they have the same interface but it should be possible to do as
    you request. The only SSD I have seen was in a netbook and that seemed
    to be nothing more than a tiny circuit board.

    Don't know if the new Qosmio laptops (more a desktop replacement really)
    are similarly equipped. It is the only laptop I know of with provision
    for two internal drives though I have no doubt there may be others.

    --

    Krypsis
     
    Krypsis, Mar 12, 2012
    #13
  14. thricipio

    Group Admin Guest

    I had another thought/question...

    If I'm not mistaken, SSD's use the same basic technology that one
    would find in smartphones and tablet computers, etc. If this is so,
    it seems one would expect to see memory failures in these devices,
    especially once a given model has been in use for a period of time.
    Yet, I've heard no reports along these lines.

    Mostly, I'm just curious about this; I'm sticking with my decision to
    forego the SSD experience for the time being (at least as far as my
    new laptop is concerned). And I continue to be grateful for all the
    previous info. So thanks again on that.

    But... I *am* interested in the implications for mobile devices, of
    the info shared previously.

    Regards,
    --Thri

    On Mar 12, 1:46 am, thricipio <> wrote:
    > To one and all who replied.  Thank you so much.  Abundantly helpful.
    > For my purposes, my conclusion, based on your input: I'm going to
    > stick with HDD's.
    > :
    > [snip]
    > :
     
    Group Admin, Mar 14, 2012
    #14
  15. thricipio

    thricipio Guest

    I *am* curious about one thing, though: what are the implications of
    what's been discussed for the many mobile devices (e.g., smartphones
    and tablets) currently in use? That is, I believe their memory uses
    the same underlying solid-state technology; yet, I haven't heard of
    any memory-related problems. I wonder why not!

    Thanks again for all your help.
    —Thri

    On Mar 12, 1:46 am, thricipio <> wrote:
    > To one and all who replied.  Thank you so much.  Abundantly helpful.
    > For my purposes, my conclusion, based on your input: I'm going to
    > stick with HDD's.
    > :
    > [snip]
    > :
     
    thricipio, Mar 14, 2012
    #15
  16. thricipio

    Arno Guest

    Group Admin <> wrote:
    > I had another thought/question...


    > If I'm not mistaken, SSD's use the same basic technology that one
    > would find in smartphones and tablet computers, etc. If this is so,
    > it seems one would expect to see memory failures in these devices,
    > especially once a given model has been in use for a period of time.
    > Yet, I've heard no reports along these lines.


    Your model is flawed. These use different filesystems with
    much reduced stress on the storage and avoid writing wherever
    possible. You can do that for Linux (e.g.) as well and
    then get years of usage on FLASH storage without defect
    management or wear-leveling.

    > Mostly, I'm just curious about this; I'm sticking with my decision to
    > forego the SSD experience for the time being (at least as far as my
    > new laptop is concerned). And I continue to be grateful for all the
    > previous info. So thanks again on that.


    > But... I *am* interested in the implications for mobile devices, of
    > the info shared previously.


    There are none.

    Arno




    > Regards,
    > --Thri


    > On Mar 12, 1:46?am, thricipio <> wrote:
    >> To one and all who replied. ?Thank you so much. ?Abundantly helpful.
    >> For my purposes, my conclusion, based on your input: I'm going to
    >> stick with HDD's.
    >> :
    >> [snip]
    >> :


    --
    Arno Wagner, Dr. sc. techn., Dipl. Inform., CISSP -- Email:
    GnuPG: ID: 1E25338F FP: 0C30 5782 9D93 F785 E79C 0296 797F 6B50 1E25 338F
    ----
    Cuddly UI's are the manifestation of wishful thinking. -- Dylan Evans
     
    Arno, Mar 15, 2012
    #16
  17. thricipio

    thricipio Guest

    Okay, thanks. I sort of see what you're saying.

    Part of my curiosity centers around interest in getting an Android-
    based tablet, hopefully, in the near future. And if I understand you
    correctly, then I shouldn't need to worry about adding media files to
    the storage, and maybe erasing some of them, and replacing them with
    other files, and maybe doing this repeatedly over the course of
    however long I'd like to use the device.

    It sounds like you're saying that given the nature of the device, and
    the Android OS, the fact that FLASH memory has a certain rewrite
    limit, wouldn't really matter in terms of practical usage over a
    period of years... say 5 years? More? Less?

    Anyway, thanks again. --Thri


    On Mar 15, 3:17 am, Arno <> wrote:
    > Group Admin <> wrote:
    > > I had another thought/question...
    > > If I'm not mistaken, SSD's use the same basic technology that one
    > > would find in smartphones and tablet computers, etc.  If this is so,
    > > it seems one would expect to see memory failures in these devices,
    > > especially once a given model has been in use for a period of time.
    > > Yet, I've heard no reports along these lines.

    >
    > Your model is flawed. These use different filesystems with
    > much reduced stress on the storage and avoid writing wherever
    > possible. You can do that for Linux (e.g.) as well and
    > then get years of usage on FLASH storage without defect
    > management or wear-leveling.
    >
    > > Mostly, I'm just curious about this; I'm sticking with my decision to
    > > forego the SSD experience for the time being (at least as far as my
    > > new laptop is concerned).  And I continue to be grateful for all the
    > > previous info.  So thanks again on that.
    > > But... I *am* interested in the implications for mobile devices, of
    > > the info shared previously.

    >
    > There are none.
    >
    > Arno
     
    thricipio, Mar 16, 2012
    #17
  18. thricipio

    Arno Guest

    thricipio <> wrote:
    > Okay, thanks. I sort of see what you're saying.


    > Part of my curiosity centers around interest in getting an Android-
    > based tablet, hopefully, in the near future. And if I understand you
    > correctly, then I shouldn't need to worry about adding media files to
    > the storage, and maybe erasing some of them, and replacing them with
    > other files, and maybe doing this repeatedly over the course of
    > however long I'd like to use the device.


    This should not be a problem, yes.

    > It sounds like you're saying that given the nature of the device, and
    > the Android OS, the fact that FLASH memory has a certain rewrite
    > limit, wouldn't really matter in terms of practical usage over a
    > period of years... say 5 years? More? Less?


    Depends. It may also be that some devices do it better than others.
    However I would expect that basically all will have wear-leveling
    and some kind of defect management.

    5 years is the usual device lifetime for nomal usage.

    That said, it may well be possible to write an App that
    does destroy your storage a lot faster, but it would
    have to be intention or a high level of stupidity. Which
    can be observed in the wild. This still is new technology
    and cannot be expected to be completely reliable.

    Arno



    > Anyway, thanks again. --Thri



    > On Mar 15, 3:17?am, Arno <> wrote:
    >> Group Admin <> wrote:
    >> > I had another thought/question...
    >> > If I'm not mistaken, SSD's use the same basic technology that one
    >> > would find in smartphones and tablet computers, etc. ?If this is so,
    >> > it seems one would expect to see memory failures in these devices,
    >> > especially once a given model has been in use for a period of time.
    >> > Yet, I've heard no reports along these lines.

    >>
    >> Your model is flawed. These use different filesystems with
    >> much reduced stress on the storage and avoid writing wherever
    >> possible. You can do that for Linux (e.g.) as well and
    >> then get years of usage on FLASH storage without defect
    >> management or wear-leveling.
    >>
    >> > Mostly, I'm just curious about this; I'm sticking with my decision to
    >> > forego the SSD experience for the time being (at least as far as my
    >> > new laptop is concerned). ?And I continue to be grateful for all the
    >> > previous info. ?So thanks again on that.
    >> > But... I *am* interested in the implications for mobile devices, of
    >> > the info shared previously.

    >>
    >> There are none.
    >>
    >> Arno


    --
    Arno Wagner, Dr. sc. techn., Dipl. Inform., CISSP -- Email:
    GnuPG: ID: 1E25338F FP: 0C30 5782 9D93 F785 E79C 0296 797F 6B50 1E25 338F
    ----
    Cuddly UI's are the manifestation of wishful thinking. -- Dylan Evans
     
    Arno, Mar 16, 2012
    #18
  19. thricipio

    Noob Guest

    thricipio wrote:

    > Part of my curiosity centers around interest in getting an Android-
    > based tablet, hopefully, in the near future. And if I understand you
    > correctly, then I shouldn't need to worry about adding media files to
    > the storage, and maybe erasing some of them, and replacing them with
    > other files, and maybe doing this repeatedly over the course of
    > however long I'd like to use the device.
    >
    > It sounds like you're saying that given the nature of the device, and
    > the Android OS, the fact that FLASH memory has a certain rewrite
    > limit, wouldn't really matter in terms of practical usage over a
    > period of years... say 5 years? More? Less?


    On a related note, you may enjoy reading about file systems designed
    specifically to deal with flash memory, such as UBIFS.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...timized_for_flash_memory.2C_solid_state_media

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UBIFS

    Regards.
     
    Noob, Mar 19, 2012
    #19
  20. thricipio

    thricipio Guest

    thricipio, Mar 20, 2012
    #20
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