SSDs Coming Of Age

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Solid State Devices (ZSDs) have long been considered the eventual successor to the hard drive: electronic rather than mechanical, very fast find speeds, lower power.

There have been four reasons why they haven’t already done so:

  • Not big enough
  • Not reliable enough
  • Not fast enough
  • Not cheap enough

    In the last couple years, SSDs have gotten big enough (at least for mainstream, media-intenseless users). Reliability (i.e., number of read/write cycles) has gotten up to the good-enough, if not great, level.

    Now the third reason is ready to go away.

    Intel and Micron plan to introduce SSD products that will actually read/write faster than hard drives later this year. These products are supposed to have read speeds of 200MB per second, and write speeds of 100MB a second.

    By late 2009, 2010, these speeds should double, and by that point, if you want high-performance from your storage, SSDs will be the only choice.

    Hard drives will be left with only one advantage: price. Then again, there’s an awfully big price difference between the two, and that’s an awfully big advantage.

    It will be years and years before any solid state drive will cost just ten times more per GB than any hard drive (right now, the difference is around a hundred times more), and hybrid hard drives can close most of the performance gap while keeping most of the price advantage just by incorporating a few of these new chips into the rust containers to serve as a very big high-speed cache.

    So when size matters, as in capacity, rust will still rule.

    However, when size matters, as in being small, SSDs will take over. Yes, I’m sure the high-end Alienware-type boxes will have SSDs inside in 2010; all but the most high-end desktops will settle for hybrid hard drives.

    SSDs will be principally found in notebooks and subnotebooks and phones, where its advantages over hard drives are more important than capacity or price.


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