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The primary limiting factor of using the solid-state drives in laptops and desktop computers is cost. These drives have actually been available for some time now, but the cost of the drives is roughly the same as the entire notebook This is gradually changing as the number of companies producing the solid state drives and the capacity for producing the flash memory chips grows. Currently the price of the SSD is less than half of the same capacity from the previous year.
The other problem affecting the adoption of the solid-state drives is capacity. Current hard drive technology can allow for over 320GB of data in a small 2.5-inch notebook hard drive. Up to 2007 middle only 64GB (Samsung & SanDisk) solid-state drives are there in the market with in the size that is compatible with notebooks. Even the 64GB drives are extremely expensive.
All of this is set to change soon though. Several companies that specialize in flash memory have announced upcoming products that look to push the capacities of the solid state drives to be closer to that of a normal hard drive but at even lower prices than the current SSDs. This will have a huge impact for notebook data storage.
In this year Samsung continues to push the capacities of solid-state storage, announcing a super-fast 256 GB, 2.5-inch solid-state drive with an SATA II interface. It offers a sequential read speed of 200 MB/s and a write speed of 160 MB/s. Samsung expects to launch the 2.5-inch SSD in September, 2008 with a 1.8-inch version following in the fourth quarter of 2008. The company did not offer any pricing information currently.
The California’s BiTMICRO has announced it has pushed the capacity of its 2.5-inch solid-state drives to a mammoth 416 GB - but they're for military and industrial clients. BiTMICRO says the 416 GB E-Disk can sustain transfers of up to 100 MB per second with bursts up to 133 GB/sec. The unit has an operating range from -40°C to 85°C, making it suitable for use in human-hostile environments. The drive supports PIO 0-4, DMA 0-2, and UDMA 0-6 transfer modes, and offers an ATA/ATAPI-7 PATA interface. BiTMICRO expects to begin production on the drives in the first quarter of 2008, with the first units shipping in March 2008.
San Jose, California-base storage developer ‘Super Talent’ has announced it is now shipping the world's thinnest 256 GB 2.5-inch SSD drive. That drive uses a standard SATA-1 interface and is designed as a drop-in replacement for standard 2.5-inch hard drives; however, the drive measures 12.5 mm (0.5 inch) thick. Super Talent says is 40 percent thinner than other 256 GB SSDs on the market currently.
So now no matter of capacity and size of the solid state disk but have a concern with the cost of SSD. As of now cost is a key factor.
The single most important factor in any consumer system is cost. As long as the desirable features can be brought to the market for an affordable price, the product should succeed. The big trade-off is cost vs. features.
There are a lot of arguments to suggest that SSDs will replace Hard Disks in many applications - but on the other hand - the hard disk industry is still looking healthy - and there are many new applications for hard drives.
The 2 biggest HD OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufactures) - Seagate and Western Digital collectively reported nearly $17 billion of HD revenue for the 12 months ending Summer 2007. That revenue was $3 billion more than their combined HD revenue the year before. That $3 billion is itself bigger than the size of the SSD market the year 2007. So even though the SSD market is growing fast (approximately doubling in revenue for the foreseeable future) it is not going to slam the brakes on growth in the hard disk market.
Replacement of hard disk by SSD is not a easy think by enterprisers. For example - in the server acceleration market the factor is - SSD cost versus additional server costs - and is completely unrelated to hard disk cost. If we accept the results from that forecast the impact of SSDs could halve the number of servers needed long term. That would hit server shipments but is unlikely to impact high capacity (terabyte up) hard disks. That's because the number of hard disks you need for bulk data storage and backup in enterprise storage networks is related to data growth and not server numbers. In this scenario SSDs and HDs can coexist - and both markets can grow at the same time.
It's a different matter in other markets - like notebooks - where SSDs and HDs will compete head to head for the same slots. Yes, It’s true, now laptop adaptable SSDs are available in the market.
Predicting the price vs. capacity points at which users will switch is fraught with difficulties. That means desktop entertainments PCs are safe for HDs. But most corporate notebooks are likely to switch. On the other hand consumer notebooks - which have to meet entertainment needs (play games and movies) will hang on as a HD market.
About the Author
Design Engineer, Tata Elxsi Limited, ITPB Road, Whitefield, Bangalore - 560048, Karnataka, India - Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com - Ph: +91 9916516728
Originally posted 2009-09-01 09:51:37.