Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

SSD Price Drops Signaling End of Spinning Media?

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-spun-me-baby dept.

Data Storage 646

gjt writes "When Intel and OCZ recently announced new 'affordable' Solid State Disk drives — offering a meager 32-40GB — we initially yawned. But, then we took a closer look at the press releases and the in-progress research and development in SSD technology and opened our eyes. While the new drives aren't affordable on a cost per gigabyte basis for everyone, it does set a precedent — and most importantly a barometer price of $100. And it really does start the death clock for hard drive technology."

cancel ×

646 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

In 5 years (0, Redundant)

dark grep (766587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586510)

No one will remember disk drives used to have moving parts.

Re:In 5 years (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586538)

In 5 years, people will still be maintaining COBOL systems.

Re:In 5 years (-1, Offtopic)

dark grep (766587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586612)

Pity the lesson of Y2K went unheeded - where every COBOL programmer was paid whatever they asked to fix their code, but after should have all been taken out to a field and shot in the head.

Re:In 5 years (5, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586848)

Pity the lesson of Y2K went unheeded - where every COBOL programmer was paid whatever they asked to fix their code, but after should have all been taken out to a field and shot in the head.

Why shoot the programmers? Why not shoot the managers too ignorant to modernize their code base?

To get back on topic, I see spinning drives as the new backup or large file storage medium. You boot off your SSD and keep most of your files there, but anything you want a backup copy of or anything large enough to not need fast access, like movies, pictures, and music get stored on the HDD.

Re:In 5 years (3, Interesting)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587010)

Interesting. Hard drives replace tape backup. SSDs replace hard drives.

Re:In 5 years (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587088)

Are hard drives really price comparable to tape?

Re:In 5 years (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587142)

Tape drives are still alive and kicking. Maybe not in your Commodore 64, but it's a great way to back stuff up. Many businesses still use them. Tapes are cheap and are quite a bit more hardy than disks or DVDs.

Re:In 5 years (1)

VernonNemitz (581327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586618)

Spinning media won't die quite that quickly. Remember that flash drives still have a limit on the total number of writes; spinning drives don't. When they start making SSDs using a different tech, that has no limit on writes, then the death clock will really start ticking.

Re:In 5 years (2, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586748)

Depends on the purpose, really. As the basis for your OS, the number of writes might be an issue, but for general user data it's less so. I can see a trend developing in smaller hard drives to carry the heavy loads while data which doesn't require constant access is pushed onto increasingly larger SSD, and of course the move away from desktops to laptops and notebooks will drive this forward too.

Having said that, for home media servers it's not unusual to have several TB of linked hard drives, until SSD can even come close on both size and price, the humble hard drive should be safe for a while longer.

Re:In 5 years (2, Interesting)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586872)

Excuse my ignorance, but what is the security status of these things? Like running an erase HD command where you rewrite three or seven times for supposedly no data recovery. Are these similar, better, worse?

Re:In 5 years (2, Insightful)

mattdm (1931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586760)

What makes you think that spinning drives don't have a limit on total number of writes?

Re:In 5 years (5, Informative)

spazdor (902907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586892)

Yeah, if you really want to compare apples to apples, measure MTBF.

Oh, and let's not forget the SSD's far superior ability to decay gracefully.

Re:In 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586782)

Well, if the OS matches the SSD media, ...

Re:In 5 years (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586622)

and if they find a way to get rid of the fans, that'll remove all moving parts from computers, which will be a good thing

Re:In 5 years (3, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586790)

We know how to remove the fans. We have 18W 2GHz CPUs. As you roll these back in clock rate, power consumption drops. It takes n^2 power to run a CPU at a clockrate of 2 if it runs on n^1 power at a clockrate of 1; whereas if you have 2 cores, it takes 2n. When we drop power consumption by replacing spinning disks with 12V SSDs (not 3.3V fed, 12V at a third the amperage, less heat) and get low-power CPUs in there, the total dissipation will go away.

Re:In 5 years (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586806)

It's easy to get rid of all the fans in a computer. Just underclock it, and keep underclocking until you reach the desired thermal envelope.

Re:In 5 years (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586824)

If you get rid of the fans, there won't be any funny/troll posts about Microsoft, Apple and Linux.

Re:In 5 years (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586628)

Nor will they remember the days when they didn't have to replace their harddrive every 5 years because it ran out of rewrite cycles and the capacity started shrinking.

Re:In 5 years (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586946)

I've never seen a consumer hard drive last even 3 years, some of them start clicking within 6 months, others spit out bad data after 12 months making them essentially useless even though they're still spinning (and therefor not "defective" for warranty purposes).

Re:In 5 years (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587028)

I have. I still have a hard drive from 1992, running on a 486/33, running an old Redhat distro..

Why? Because I can.

Re:In 5 years (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587136)

I have. I still have a hard drive from 1992, running on a 486/33, running an old Redhat distro.

Good point, in 2007 I was copying files off my 1995 laptop drive before I threw it out; though I did lose a few files due to bad sectors.

Re:In 5 years (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587038)

I've never seen a consumer hard drive last even 3 years

Maybe you're doing something wrong in that case, because all but one of the five consumer drives in my Windows PC are over three years old and it's still working about as well as a Windows PC ever does.

And personally I've never bought a drive which failed in less than three years (for that matter I've only ever bought one drive which failed before I swapped it out because it had become too small).

Re:In 5 years (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587046)

You must not get out much, since I have drives on my home file server that are close to 10 years old and still running fine. Or maybe you need to stop buying your drives from the clearance bin.

Re:In 5 years (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587106)

You are definitely doing something wrong. I've had hard drives fail myself - heck I had a bout with an IBM Deskstar where it and it's replacements kept failing within 6 months. HOWEVER, the vast majority of them work much longer. I've got an old 80MB Connor hard drive from my original 486 that still worked last time I plugged it in (about 2 years ago), and I've got at least 3 drives in normal usage that are 8-9 years old.

Re:In 5 years (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586630)

You can pry my spinning disk out of my cold, dead hands. There are a number of benefits still; cost and durability (aside from shock resistance) chief among them. Solid state disks will be taking a bigger role in storage, but spinning disks are a long way from being obsolete.

Re:In 5 years (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586980)

What makes you think spinning drives are durable? They're already heavily reliant on ECC to reproduce digital data from an analog medium, you think they're going to continue to be reliable as the areal density increases? I don't.

Re:In 5 years (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587084)

Just add more error correction coding.

Re:In 5 years (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586802)

I think it'll be quite a few years before spindle drives are completely replaced.
$100 for a 20-40gb drive is still more than a 1000gig spindle drive.
I think spindle drives will be relegated to mass storage for media servers and other
such home devices. Big banks of personal storage using ZFS, Mirrored, RAID5 or whatever
ends up being used. I know the MPAA/RIAA wants us to stream everything (paying each time
of course) from the net but all those HD streams will block all the intertubes. With net
neutrality failing we'll see more and more bandwidth caps and rate limiting (unless you
pay for their premium internet service with faster streamed media for only $80 more).

Re:In 5 years (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586928)

SSDs could double in price/GB ratios every year for those 5 years and today's magnetic drives would still be about the same as what you'd got. 32-40 GB for $100ish now would mean 1-1.2TB for $100ish in 5 years with that doubling: but that's about what you can get magnetic drives for now. (Newegg has three or four 1 TB drives for $90, more than 1/4 less than the 40 GB SSD drive mentioned in this article.)

If hard drives double even once in that time, they'll still have a substantial price/size ratio lead.

Now, there's some point where drives become "big enough"; my disk space growth has slowed a bit from what it was a few years ago; I've basically only roughly doubled my use over the last 5 years. Combine that with the speed benefits of SSD and they'll definitely be much more mainstream in that time. 90% chance I'll have basically all my non-music, non-video, non-photo data stored on SSD in 5 years. 99% chance I'll have all my non-music, non-video, non-photo, non-large-video-game data stored on an SSD at that point.

But will I still have magnetic drives in my system in 5 years? 90% says yes to that too.

...Or an arms race (4, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586536)

I think HDD will continue to stay enough ahead of SSD in raw capacity that it will stay relevant for a long time. When SSD is affordable at 200 GB then HDD will already be affordable at 2 TB, etc.

Re:...Or an arms race (3, Interesting)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586586)

HDD is the new tape drive and SSD is the new HDD?

Re:...Or an arms race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586696)

Spinning hard drives can't compare to tape when it comes to transfer speed. They're also more expensive in terms of bytes-per-volume (for those of us storing many tens of thousands of tapes, physical volume matters a whole lot).

Tape will be around forever.

Re:...Or an arms race (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586736)

But seek times suck. Tapes just have their niche. I wonder if disks will.

Re:...Or an arms race (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586908)

Tapes don't really have a niche anymore. They're too slow and inconvenient even for backups, and tape robots are not that much cheaper than JBOD.

If only there was a decent free backup system which treated disks as disks instead of pretending they're tape. Bacula and Amanda both suck for to-disk backups.

Re:...Or an arms race (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586750)

Essentially: I expect my next PC to have an SSD for important program files and data, and HDD(s) for big data files which don't need fast random access (e.g. video files). Or I'll offload them to an OpenSolaris server with a bunch of HDDs in a RAIDZ.

The idea that cheaper SSDs will kill HDD is silly when most peoples' storage needs expand to meet whatever they can afford to buy. Certainly they are likely to kill HDDs in simple home and office systems, but for everything else HDDs will continue to be vastly cheaper for at least the next decade or so.

When the latest game I installed on my PC wanted 20GB of disk space, a $100 200GB SSD won't last long.

Re:...Or an arms race (2, Funny)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586926)

...and Floppies are the new punch cards...and punch cards are the new abacuses...and abacuses are the new ...what? Fingers and toes?

Re:...Or an arms race (3, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587060)

...and Floppies are the new punch cards...and punch cards are the new abacuses...and abacuses are the new ...what? Fingers and toes?

And the middle finger is the new raised eyebrow.

Re:...Or an arms race (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587138)

Oddly enough... increasingly so.

I'm lucky enough to have a spanking new SAN at work, a bunch of iSCSI nodes with dumb discs and smart software. We tier storage over SSD, 10k SAS and 7.2k SATA, the SSD mostly being utilised for performance-critical databases. SATA discs we reserve for file server LUNs, low-I/O VMs (most of them) and the intermediate tier of VM -> LUN -> Tape backups.

As an aside, we choose to use RAID1 for SSD LUNs, as the RAID controllers can't keep up with the parity calculations and we saw a ~40% drop in IOPS when we used RAID6.

Re:...Or an arms race (2, Funny)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586708)

200GB ought to be enough for anybody.

Re:...Or an arms race (-1, Redundant)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586764)

200GB ought to be enough for anybody.

Ya wrong.

640k ought to be enough for anybody.

Re:...Or an arms race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31587094)

Obligatory: woosh!

Re:...Or an arms race (3, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586716)

Well, so then use them for appropriate uses. I don't need 2TB on my laptop (I barely need 40gb). But on my home file server, I could use the spinning disks for brute capacity. So perhaps what we may start seeing is more and more computers shipped with a 20 or 40gb SSD boot disk with a 500gb or 1TB "data disk"... But to say that spinning disks will go away is kinda short sighted...

Re:...Or an arms race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586722)

I disagree with your prediction somewhat.

I predict that SSD will slowly supplant HDD. And then the market will shift to SSDs with multiple platters of RAM with higher and higher rotational speeds.

Re:...Or an arms race (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586770)

SSDs will replace all the small hard drives.
When you get down to small enough drive SSDs will be cheaper per Gig than HDs.
Right now you can buy a 1TB drive for right around $90.
But you can not buy a 5ooGB drive for $45 or a 250GB drive for $22.50. There is a limit to how cheap you can make a harddrive.
At some point SSDs in the 120Gb range will be cheaper than spinning platters. It is probably close right now.
When that happens you will see SSDs replace HDs in that range. That range will keep creeping up and up.
So HDDs will be what you get when you need a lot of storage. Maybe they will eventually be used only for externals and NASs.
Eventually 1 TB SSDs will be cheaper than HDDs but for all I know we will have 100TB HDs for $90.
BTW as someone that paid several hundred dollars for a 30MB HD in 1984 the idea of a sub hundred dollar 100TB HDD just seems like a matter of time.

Re:...Or an arms race (5, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587120)

I wonder how long it will be before SSDs lose the traditional 3.5" form factor. There's no reason why you couldn't say, drop the guts into a PCI form factor. That cast aluminum enclosure is probably $3-5 of a product that probably costs $45 to make. With less heat and mass requirements it's likely we'll start seeing naked chips on a breadboard to save 8-9% of the manufacturing cost.

Re:...Or an arms race (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586896)

I think HDD will continue to stay enough ahead of SSD in raw capacity that it will stay relevant for a long time. When SSD is affordable at 200 GB then HDD will already be affordable at 2 TB, etc.

It will be a long, protracted death. I anticipate seeing HDD for mass storage for another decade bare minimum. SSD will be for the stuff that has to be fast, HDD will be for the stuff that can be slower but SSD is too expensive for. (someone look this up in ten years and laugh at me.)

Re:...Or an arms race (4, Insightful)

exasperation (1378979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586958)

I think HDD will continue to stay enough ahead of SSD in raw capacity that it will stay relevant for a long time. When SSD is affordable at 200 GB then HDD will already be affordable at 2 TB, etc.

Ah, but when 200 GB of storage is $20, no hard drive will ever be able to be that cheap. There is a fixed minimum cost for building a hard drive. Spindle, motor, etc. It's about $70. When "enough storage" for the average user, let's say 200 GB costs less than that base cost, almost all new storage sold will be SSD devices due to their overall advantages, especially in a battery-powered machine (which are the majority of all computers sold today).

This will completely gut the market for hard drives and R&D into them will cease. All money will move to SSDs and they will improve even more rapidly.

Re:...Or an arms race (2, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587100)

This will completely gut the market for hard drives and R&D into them will cease. All money will move to SSDs and they will improve even more rapidly.

Indeed: no-one will ever need more than 200GB of storage.

Price isn't everything (5, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586544)

Price is only the first hurdle for SSDs. There's also the issue of reliability, and reports from the field suggest that SSD reliability is highly variable, and in no case as good over the long term as hard drives. That will probably change in time, but they're not there yet.

Re:Price isn't everything (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586822)

SSD reliability is highly variable, and in no case as good over the long term as hard drives

SSDs are much like anything else, you get what you pay for.

Buy the cheapest hard drive you can find; it won't last 5 years. Same for CD-R media and SSDs.

It's a pretty safe bet that under normal workloads, a good SSD will outlive just about any HDD.

Re:Price isn't everything (2, Interesting)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586932)

SSD reliability is highly variable, and in no case as good over the long term as hard drives

SSDs are much like anything else, you get what you pay for.

Buy the cheapest hard drive you can find; it won't last 5 years. Same for CD-R media and SSDs.

It's a pretty safe bet that under normal workloads, a good SSD will outlive just about any HDD.

I'm going to have to agree, especially considering I've just recently suffered a premature HDD failure. If you read the customer specs for any of the larger capacity platter drives, you really notice the failure rates: failures at the 3-6 month mark should be one in 100,000, not a one in 100 (or less).

Re:Price isn't everything (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587076)

If you read the customer specs for any of the larger capacity platter drives, you really notice the failure rates: failures at the 3-6 month mark should be one in 100,000, not a one in 100 (or less).

And where are you getting statistics that are showing that one in 100 hard drives are failing with in 3-6 months? Oh wait, you're extrapolating based off a biased sample.

Re:Price isn't everything (3, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586936)

Where did you find reports from the field? All I've seen are lab studies and guesses.

Excellent (1)

mahiskali (1410019) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586552)

This is great for the average joe computer geek like myself... I don't need some high end SSD drive for a laptop I use for basic work. But the idea that I could get an affordable SSD for it and still reap many of the benefits is great to hear.

Performance Game Changer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586560)

The price points keep falling through the floor. I will probably add another SSD to my system before the year is out.

Careful on Your Terminology There (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586562)

SSD Price Drops Signaling End of Spinning Media?

Blu Ray and CDs are still "spinning media" aren't they? I think I've seen many holographic storage disc products (touted to be THE FUTURE) that were spinning as well. I agree that our mechanical media may be just atop the apex or turning point but our non-mechanical disc based media is most likely set to be a some form of spinning disc [wikipedia.org] for at least a few years longer. If the article thinks that movies and albums will switch to SSD based distribution, I just don't see it happening real soon or even now.

Re:Careful on Your Terminology There (2, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586692)

Blu Ray and CDs are still "spinning media" aren't they?

To be replaced with network-accessed or network-streamed material. Read-only rotary optical media will be a "way back" story our children will tell our grandchildren. (In other words, my 4-year-old daughter will tell HER 4-year old daughter "I used to watch Dora the Explorer on DVDs.")

Re:Careful on Your Terminology There (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586992)

Your 4 year old daughter will tell the little chinese children she is the family slave to about how when she was little girl, the corrupt and evil capitalistic pig dictators of the former USA, now the Autonomous Territory of the People's Republic of the Mao's States made her watch all kinds off exploitative and propaganda filled TV show in order to make sure she would be a fit peon for the Lords of the country. Thankfully your parents and grand-parents freed my people and showed us the proper way. We will forever be grateful for your aid and continued governance of our poor and backward province. That is if she want s to live and not have her organs harvested.

Re:Careful on Your Terminology There (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586818)

"If the article thinks that movies and albums will switch to SSD based distribution, I just don't see it happening real soon or even now."
Oh no you are right. No one will ever download or stream music and or movies. And nobody will ever sell music on SD cards.
Actually I think we will see HDDs for some years yet but I actually think CDs and DVDs may have an even shorter lifespan.

Child pornographers. (1, Funny)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586574)

Hard drives and very powerful magnets will still be the #1 choice for child pornographers.

Re:Child pornographers. (5, Informative)

floppyraid (1756326) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586858)

That is a really persistent myth (that magnets will erase/corrupt data on a modern hard disk drive).

Inside of all harddrives for the last 10 or so years are multiple, very powerful neodymium iron boron magnets that move the actuator arm over the surface of the discs. If magnets outside of your drive would erase data, then surely these intensely powerful magnets inside would do the same, no?

The most conclusive testing I've seen done on this was several years ago. A guy had stacks of dead hard drives, and he decided to harvest the magnets from them. He had a stack of 50+ very powerful NIB magnets. He then took a working HDD, full to capacity, and covered the entire hard drive in them- front and back, with layer upon layer of magnets. Then he set the drive in a desk drawer for a few weeks, after which he plugged the drive up, and all of his data was still completely intact. Not 1 file was corrupted in any way.

Now, if you put a .40 or .45-caliber round through a platter, you can be certain the data is unrecoverable. Last time I checked, HDD platters are made out of some sort of silicon composite, so a bullet should shatter the entire plater (or at least half of it) into tiny fragments.

Re:Child pornographers. (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586876)

I'm sure they are already on top of that. I'd imagine a jumper cable would make a great charge pump. Now we just need to convince them that it only works in a flooded room while wearing metal shoes; then I'd say the circuit is complete.

Re:Child pornographers. (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587042)

Nah, just as today. Deep basements are the answer to their storage needs.

Nikon F6 and FM10 (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586596)

There are only two advantages SSD has over spinning media at this time: Access speed and Durability. Storage space is still not up to par, and cost is definitely a weak point. However, technology progresses and we're hitting the limits of the current hard disk technology. SSD technology is definitely the future of most personal storage.

But it won't replace it in all areas. There are still "obsolete" technologies in widespread use due to technical superiority over perceived convenience. No one is going to say digital cameras are lousy, but compared to film, they are simply outmatched. Where is Velvia for digital? Where is Kodachrome? These films have no equal in the digital world except as poorly implemented filters in Photoshop.

Spinning media is going to be with us for a while, and I expect, like film, that eventually prices will go back up and this technology will be a specialty market targeted at high-end users and professionals.

Re:Nikon F6 and FM10 (2, Informative)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586758)

Except, chemical film stores the data in a different way than digital cameras, and there is a significant difference between the two because of this. With hard drives, the data is stored in the same way - as bits - regardless if it is spinning or not. I don't see how the details of _how_ bits are stored matters to the high-end user. He or she will just want whatever solution stores the bits the fastest and most reliably.

Re:Nikon F6 and FM10 (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587052)

Durability? Umm, yes and no.

You can beat a properly-built and operating SSD with a stick and there's a very low likelihood of damage, while the spinning hard drive will almost die an immediate and horrible death. And as long as the controller holds up, whatever data is on the SSD will almost certainly be OK on it. So, physically, a well-built SSD is a tough little rascal.

But the media contained in it has a lifespan of somewhere on the order of five years of relatively ordinary use. The spindles might not fail, since it has none, but you'll find slowly diminishing capacity and performance near the end of the lifespan of the drive. Compare this to spinning hard drives, where I have a 20GB drive I bought when 20GB drives were new (late 90s) that still performs as well as the day I purchased it. I have SMART monitoring on and it keeps coming up all-green. It's been in continuous use for well over ten years. I use it only for an OS drive and don't keep any data on it any more because one of these days it's just going to die, but I'd be nearing end-of-life on my second SSD drive by now.

Now, there is one advantage of SSDs. They fail earlier, but the failure is usually in the form of loss of capacity and performance. Drive failures are rarely as dramatic as a spindle lockup or head crash, so you can usually get your data off the drive while it still works fine. Data-loss failures do occur, but they are (AFAIK) somewhat rare.

Re:Nikon F6 and FM10 (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587096)

Whoops, I said "SSD drive", didn't I? Did I really type that?

And me a Grammar Nazi. Have at it, folks. I have it coming. ;)

Tiered Storage (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586640)

The clock is certainly ticking, but it's got a long time to wind down. The largest barrier to the death of mechanical storage is the looming halt in NAND geometry shrinks, as processes get so small that it goes from being merely crap to wholly unreliable.

Seeing as how we've got 2TB in single disks now, and that capacity will likely continue to rise, I suspect we'll see capacity increases for SSDs slow for a while as new NVM tech comes online. Instead, prices will simply fall and you'll (hopefully) see some more consumer-oriented hybrid solutions where frequently accessed bits are stored in NAND and large, infrequently files will be out on your (hopefully RAID-6 protected) mechanical storage.

This just in! (5, Insightful)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586652)

Helicopters signal the end of automobiles, just as soon as their poor $$/mile traveled ratio reaches parity, but you can buy helicopters from Air Hog right now!

Solar panels signal the end of nuclear power AND the oil industry, just as soon as their poor $$/watt ratio reaches parity! But you can get a solar powered calculator RIGHT NOW!

Can I be a tech pundit yet?

Re:This just in! (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586924)

When was the last time anyone bought batteries for their calculator?

Re:This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31587012)

I teach college math (algebra, calc, etc.), people buy batteries everyday.

TI-83's, TI-89's, Casio, whatever. None of the high-end calculators are solar powered.

Re:This just in! (5, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587090)

Dammit man, I'm a slashdot troll, not a market researcher!

Who really needs SSDs for Porn? (4, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586674)

SSDs offer speed. Spinning Disk HDDs offer cheap space. Hybrid disks [storagesearch.com] offer a nice compromise until SSDs overtake spinning disks in storage/price.

I mean really, who needs an expensive big SSD for your porn collection? Unless you have 12 monitors running porn simulcasting...SSD speeds are really only needed for heavily accessed files. HDDs offer cheap storage for those not-so-often used files. The solution is relatively inexpensive, and here today

Re:Who really needs SSDs for Porn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586930)

>who needs an expensive big SSD for your porn collection?

You can destroy the SSD and the contents by sticking it the microwave oven at high. It does not work on the HDD.

Re:Who really needs SSDs for Porn? (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586956)

.SSD speeds are really only needed for heavily accessed files.

Exactly!

What about random writes? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586676)

Wake me up when cheap SSDs don't choke on random writes and their performance doesn't degrade significantly over time.

Re:What about random writes? (2, Informative)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586984)

If by "cheap" you mean the craptastic OCZ Core series, and the other SSDs of the same gen that used the god-awful JMicron controller, the "cheap" end of the SSD market is full of high-performance drives that don't choke on random I/O. As soon as Intel and Indilinx came out with controllers that were worth the sand they were printed on everyone started doing it, and we've now got a market where the performance delta between "cheap" and "prosumer" SSDs is much, much smaller.

The vast bulk of the cost of the SSD is the flash, which is why if you can find someone still selling Core series SSDs they're only marginally cheaper than an SSD that's actually usable.

Re:What about random writes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31587022)

Intel

Trim

Windows 7

Interesting assumptions (3, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586682)

The article seems to assume that a typcial laptop user needs a 120Gig harddisk. I don't think that's true. I can most certainly live with a 20Gig to 40Gig harddisk in a laptop. As a matter of fact, my current laptop (3 year old AMD Turion with "120Gig" HD) has two parts: about 16Gig fro WinXP MCE and the remaining 100Gig for Ubuntu. The 16Gig has all the productivity apps I need + 1 game (Portal), which still leaves me 2Gig free for data. If I didn't have the game, I'd have ~8Gig free for data. For typcial data like word processing documents and the like that is more than enough. It is perfectly usable for day to day tasks. (The Ubuntu part is my playground, but it could live just as wel on a 16Gig partition)

If you enter digital pictures into the landscape, it does change a bit. Still, that's still a lot of pictures. Besides, you don't want all your pictures on the move. They're much safer at home on server and/or NAS.

Music you say? We're talking about "needing"... You don't "need" music on your laptop, unless that's your profession, but that doesn't make you a typcial user.

While I don't think I'm going to shell out 100€ for a 32Gig SDD, because I'm a cheap bastard and what I have works, I could most certainly live with a 32Gig disk in my laptop.

Re:Interesting assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31586816)

Laptops are becoming the typical machine for people. As in, their main and only computer. Most people don't have a server and don't have a NAS (I don't). I got rid of my desktop too.

Both my roommates are in the same boat. A single laptop, nothing else.

Re:Interesting assumptions (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586996)

Well, people should at least back up their pictures on a NAS and/or USB/eSATA disks. If you don't have any you're playing with fire. Loss or theft of laptop means loss of all your precious data.

Also, if I get to repair a computer (laptop or desktop) the first thing I usually get asked to do is to save their precious digital pictures of their kids/vacation/whatever... because they have no backup at all.

My motto is: carry around what you need, keep on the NAS what you want to store and backup everything on external disks. (Which I don't do is have offsite backups, but technically, that would be the wise thing to do)

Best of all worlds and it won't set you back much financially these days...

Re:Interesting assumptions (4, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586914)

Typical users keep music on their computer.

Re:Interesting assumptions (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587036)

True... How much space does it use up? I once ripped my whole CD collection to MP3. Total was 9GB, half of which I never listen to. So your point is?

Re:Interesting assumptions (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586942)

IME the average laptop doesn't have WinCE, Ubuntu or games either. I don't expect your typical "home" laptop to start coming with an SSD for another year or two, but there's plenty of businesses that are drooling over the prospect of a) uber-fast laptop drives to make the loading of all that security bloatware bearable and b) laptop drives that are small and don't get stuffed full of files that should have been on the file server in the first place.

My "workstation" laptop has a 500GB drive, and I wouldn't give that up for the world - I need the space for VMs. But my knockabout laptop is a toshiba T110 with an aftermarket 60GB OCZ drive in it. I don't have to worry about it being jiggled, there's a noticeable improvement in battery life and, obviously, I/O responsiveness is much improved (which helps make the laptop feel faster than its wimpy single-core proc would have you believe). Extra space for media or similar is provisioned more easily in the way of USB keys or SD cards.

Moral of the story: IMHO people will go with a best-of-breed solution. Hard discs for people who need the storage, SSDs for people who don't. I think the article is right to assume that the majority of the laptop market can live inside 120GB.

Re:Interesting assumptions (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587130)

WinCE?!? You must be confusing what I said: I have Windows XP MCE [wikipedia.org] , which has nothing to do with WinCE.

I need the space for VMs

So do I on my work laptop... However, I was talking typical users, not computer enthousiasts and/or professionals.

I think the article is right to assume that the majority of the laptop market can live inside 120GB.

Of course it is, because it's major overkill. Even most Netbooks come with 160Gig HDs these days. I don't even think you can buy disks much smaller than that these days

Re:Interesting assumptions (4, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587140)

Music you say? We're talking about "needing"... You don't "need" music on your laptop, unless that's your profession, but that doesn't make you a typcial user.

Fail.

not yet (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586686)

The article seems to be making the point that if the average price becomes reasonable ie. 100 $$ then somehow people will start replacing their existing 500GB drives with 30-50 GB SSDs which is ridiculous. SSDs still need to be able to compete with hard drives at the $/GB level if they are to replace hard drives. Now that isn't to say that SSDs wouldn't have a niche like netbooks and SSD/hard drive hybrid setups but I seriously doubt we'll see SSDs take over the market in a few years.

Reports of HDDs' demise greatly exaggerated (1, Insightful)

kyz (225372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586702)

As TFA says, For $125 you get a 40GB SSD. Today on Newegg I can pay 110 for a 1500GB hard disk drive - that's about 40 times more storage, for LESS!

Unless SSD suddenly becomes 40 times cheaper, it's unlikely to wipe out regular HDDs. And it has to cope with the fact HDDs get better every year too.

There has always been a sliding scale in computing with "faster, less storage" on one end and "slower, more storage" on the other.

Cache RAM -- RAM -- Flash RAM -- SSD -- HDDs -- tape.

As time goes on, everything gets faster and everything grows in storage capacity - but they all stay the same relative to each other on the list. Anybody who tells you otherwise is selling you something.

Re:Reports of HDDs' demise greatly exaggerated (2, Insightful)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586826)

And not to mention that 40GB is barely enough to have Vista or 7 breathing, once Office installed. Don't ever think about installing Windows 7 SP1 on such a tight space.

Oh, and don't you have those MP3s, Videos, Documents et al of yours?

Re:Reports of HDDs' demise greatly exaggerated (1)

Renegrade (698801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586944)

Totally agreed there, but you forgot "Registers" or "Register File" at the top of that speed progression.

Flash is going to run into the quirky nature of low-nanometer electronics before long, too.

Re:Reports of HDDs' demise greatly exaggerated (3, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587072)

How much for a hard drive that's as fast as that $125 SSD?

The 1TB Seagate hard drive that I recently tested gets random 4k read rates in the ~1MB/second range. My 80GB Intel X25-M gets ~38MB/second.

That's about 40 times more performance for THE SAME PRICE!

Storage capacity is irrelevant in many situations.

A 40GB SSD is more than sufficient for your average manager/executive. They'd almost certainly prefer opening Outlook and Power Point in a tenth of the time it used to take to having an extra thousand gigabytes of unused space on their laptop.

The 80 GB drive I have in my system was the best upgrade I ever bought. Kernel compiles are crazy fast, and all of the media I need can be streamed off the network (sharing a single one of those 1.5TB drives with a dozen or so other people).

32-40 GB isn't bad (2, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586772)

While most computers come with bigger disks (because the cost of making spinning disks makes the marginal cost bigger, and bigger numbers are always easier to sell), I've had 30-40 GB Linux setups on dual-boot machines where the primary was Windows, and never really had space problems. And lots of the things that eat up space on consumer machines (like video) are stuff that is better on a hard disk anyway. So I could easily see computers that aren't heavily used for video or similar applicaitons going to SSDs if 32-40 GB SSD are affordable, and computers with a 32-40 GB primary SSD as well as an HDD, where the HDD is mainly used for things where sequential transfer speed rather than random access time is key. The trick for the latter is getting a good configuration/UI setup that makes it "just work" for the most common applications without the user manually choosing locations (mapping locations appropriately, and maybe implementing MIME-type-based defaults for download locations), while giving power users precise control.

Ram Disks (1)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586886)

Oh yes... remember how RAM "disks" would soon rule once we got to a gig of ram, and all that extra ram was unneeded? There will be a time in the near future when you start seeing common augmentation (+1 for boobies being first).

Re:Ram Disks (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587070)

I had a 2 meg RAM drive back in the 80s. It was freakin' awesome! The computer was up and running in seconds. Apps launched instantly with the touch of a button, like frogs in a dynamite pond. It had a battery backup that would keep the data alive through power outages of up to 6 hours.

SSD Drives (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 4 years ago | (#31586976)

The SSD drive on my netbook has been running great ever since I bought it. I'm really looking at buying a SSD drive and turning my newer SATA platter drive in to an external backup drive of sorts. Since I won't need to access it very regularly it'd make the perfect backup tape of sorts.

80 gigs for $224 ain't bad...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167023

YUO FAIL IT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31587024)

mod points and ne7er heeded MAKES ME SICK JlUST The latest Netcraft

Extra tinkering still required (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587062)

There's the reliability issue but then I find the babysitting annoying. Firmware updates, performance refresh utilities, partition alignment... With HDDs you didn't have to worry about any of this. I hope with future SSDs neither.

Why does one have to win? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587082)

While I see SSD becoming more common in the future, if HHDs continue to be significantly cheaper for large storage they will continue to play a roll.

While SSDs are getting cheaper and cheaper, computers are needing more and more storage space.

Right now I have 2TB installed on my desktop and if I had wanted SSDs it would of cost $7000~=((2,000/44)*$125).
Which is obviously not even close to affordable.

SSDs make a lot of sense for some things but are not likely to replace HHDs anytime soon.

Just get one... (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31587116)

Seriously. I've got small ones on my main machines, (just the OSes and pgms - plenty big enough) plus a bigger one on the laptop.
Internal or external classic HDDs give plenty of cheap space. With SATA, even external drives are fast enough.
Forget about springing for the latest multi-core gonzohertz CPU; these things have make a real difference to everyday usability.
OK you only boot once per day, but application and big datasets load fast...laptops hibernate and reload fast too...nice.

OCZ? Aren't they scam artists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31587124)

They were uprating memory a while back. People still buy from them?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>