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The 1 Terabyte SSD Arrives

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the that-should-be-enough dept.

Data Storage 237

An anonymous reader writes "Over recent years Solid State Drives (SSDs) have moved from luxury to affordable additions to one's PC, but mechanical hard drives are still king when it comes to capacity. That was until the revamped Colossus LT series Solid State Drive came along this week. With up to 1TB, the drive offers offers massive storage capacities of the level normally not seen in SSDs. While 1TB of SSD space hits right at the heart of the traditional hard disk market, it comes at a high price — at around $4,000 for the 1TB model, these drives are in the realm of aspirational rather than practical."

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I'll wait a while. (4, Interesting)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830444)

I have a handful of friends who adopted Intel's latest G2 X25-m models at their release. With new firmware, they are all still reporting notably reduced performance over time. Everyone knows what causes it, it is entirely understandable given the storage technology in question, but that doesn't make it any less of a drag. I'll wait and see how things change before doing the switch.

Re:I'll wait a while. (2, Interesting)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830702)

I have a handful of friends who adopted Intel's latest G2 X25-m models at their release. With new firmware, they are all still reporting notably reduced performance over time. Everyone knows what causes it, it is entirely understandable given the storage technology in question, but that doesn't make it any less of a drag. I'll wait and see how things change before doing the switch.

Everyone knows what causes it huh?

Sorry, that's a really stupid assumption, because, I don't know what causes it.

So I guess not everyone knows what causes it.

Re:I'll wait a while. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830756)

Well, we can assume that you retain the required intelligence to find it out yourself, then.

Re:I'll wait a while. (1)

FredMastro (1238062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830806)

I agree with you. Because, I don't follow the SSD market so close. I hear it's a performance gain but slight at that. I've not heard about slower performance over time. Would like to know more. So yes, I don't think an assumption should be made. Maybe, an assumption and then a reference link for those that don't.

Re:I'll wait a while. (3, Informative)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830850)

I think maybe it's something like this: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/hardware/articles/43400.aspx [brighthub.com]

But since he's so mysterious about it, perhaps it's not.

Re:I'll wait a while. (5, Informative)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831094)

That article was low on logic and common sense.

The article's take-away that SSDs slow down over time may be right, however the reasoning behind the explanations doesn't even make sense.

> "Because they have a two-part write/erase cycle, unlike the single write cycle of mechanical hard drives, they wear out at least twice as fast as their spinning counterparts."

Umm, what? SSD writes are done in two stages, yes, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the way a traditional hard drive does writes. So how could you say SSD's wear out "twice" as fast as traditional drives because they have to write twice? It could be that an SSD could write a thousands times more or a thousand times less than a traditional hard drive before wearing out because they are completely different technologies.

> "This isn't helped by the architecture of most SSDs. Usually, data is laid down within a block of available memory, meaning that it might not take up all the available space--yet will still write to all of it"

Does the author think traditional hard drives write to byte-addressable boundaries? Hard drives write blocks and sectors too and have wasted slack space at the end of their blocks too.

> "Defragmenting or "defragging" a SSD takes up many write/erase cycles... which shortens the lifetime of an SSD, even if it's also cleaning up the drive."

No, defragging is not cleaning up an SSD drive. There is no reason to defrag an SSD because their is no latency getting to a further sector.

> "it's a delicate balance, how often you should defrag your SSD for optimum performance and lifetime"

How about "NEVER"?

> "Only defrag when necessary!"

Argh!

Re:I'll wait a while. (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831146)

Yes, yes I know:

s/their/there/

Re:I'll wait a while. (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831250)

I should have posted a caveat that I just did a google search and picked the first thing that came up. I guess I could have posted a link to the google search rather than a specific article. In any case, I'm impressed with your rather in-depth analysis of a link not actually part of the Slashdot story.

Re:I'll wait a while. (5, Informative)

gmack (197796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831216)

That seems written by someone who really has little to no idea how SSD drives work. It should take years to see problems caused by flash wearing out even under intense use.

The actual problem involves the way modern SSD drives write your new data to an unused portion of the disk before erasing the old flash to improve speed. If the drives think they are full then you are stuck waiting for the old blocks to be cleared before you can write your data.

TRIM was added to fix this problem by letting the OS tell the drive when blocks become unused but it only works on very recent drives and new operating systems. You are out of luck on that front if your running XP or a Linux kernel older than 2.6.33 but on the upside the problem only affects write speed.

Re:I'll wait a while. (3, Interesting)

gmack (197796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831244)

It is only a slight performance improvement for large files. For large amounts of small files it's a huge gain thanks to the lack of head movement.

I picked up a 32gb SSD drive to handle the OS and apps and left my 1TB drive for movies. The difference in boot times and app load times are very noticeable.

Re:I'll wait a while. (4, Informative)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831190)

google: why do ssd get slower over time. first answer: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738/8 [anandtech.com]

no comment

Re:I'll wait a while. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830708)

Are they using an O/S that supports TRIM?

Re:I'll wait a while. (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830824)

They are Windows 7 and Linux users. TRIM seems to just ameliorate temporary.

Re:I'll wait a while. (4, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831006)

They are Windows 7 and Linux users. TRIM seems to just ameliorate temporary.

Your friends aren't benchmarking. Welcome to subjective perceptions. As quantitative data has proven conclusively (see anandtech.com, pcper.com, etc.), TRIM does truly prevent lost performance over time.

Re:I'll wait a while. (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831280)

TRIM was only enabled on kernel 2.6.33. I don't know any distros that ship that version yet so unless your friends are custom compiling their kernels they don't have working TRIM.

Re:I'll wait a while. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830880)

dirty gnu hippies don't like trim, they prefer a hard cock.

Re:I'll wait a while. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830914)

at the moment, the only thing that might not support TRIM is OSX, which I suspect does. Linux and windows do.

Re:I'll wait a while. (2, Funny)

zkrige (1654085) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830742)

Just defrag it :P

Re:I'll wait a while. (1)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830842)

It's not a file system fragmentation issue. Also, as there is no real seek time, fs fragmentation is a non-problem on SSDs, even with slobs like NTFS/FAT.

Re:I'll wait a while. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831016)

Ummmm, SSDs map disk sectors to physical flash cells dynamically as part of wear levelling.

Defragging will probably make it much worse.

A watershed moment (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830446)

This is the IBM PC Jr of SSDs.

Re:A watershed moment (1)

Jay Tarbox (48535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830772)

Ouch dude! Leave the PCjr alone! That computer was my geek larval stage. While my buddies played games on their C64's, I was messing around in DOS on my PCjr. Trying to get drivers to load and still have enough RAM to play a "game".

Re:A watershed moment (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831058)

And the "chiclet" keyboard. I'll bet that was hella fun. ;-) I'm surprised IBM didn't learn from Atari which made the same mistake in 1979.

Anyway: I was looking for the PCjr on wikipedia and stumbled across the Coleco Adam. Basically a Colecovision upgraded to a computer. However due to poor sales (it cost about twice an Atari or Commodore) and poor design (the computer erased disks & tapes when booted), the Adam was a major flop.

Eventually Coleco went bankrupt. Commodore went bankrupt. Atari went bankrupt. It seems that building a computer in the early 80s was a curse that killed once great companies. Except Apple and RadioShack - they managed to survive (barely).

Re:A watershed moment (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830796)

So it's the first SSD to have a 3-voice soundchip?

Re:A watershed moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830838)

No, it comes with a wireless chicklet keyboard and two cartridge slots.

I LOVED Rocky's Boots for the PCjr. Great introduction to boolean logic. :)

I can seem some enterprise paying for this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830448)

Imagine the power savings and time savings replacing existing storage with these.

Re:I can seem some enterprise paying for this. (4, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830746)

Well, a normal 15k RPM SAS drive costs about $1400 per TB ($700 for a 500gb drive) and draws around 16 watts of power (for a Seagate Cheetah at least). Let's assume these SSD's will be like the others and draw around 1 watt. So that's a difference of $2600 and 31 watts (Because you need 2 SAS drives per SSD). So every hour, each SSD will consume 31 watts less. So with a price of $0.12 / kWh, every hour the SSD will save about $0.0036. Over the course of a year, that will add up to about $31.44 in power savings. So you'd need to run the drives for around 82 years to recoup the added cost from power savings (A higher electricty cost will lower this, but even at $0.50 per kWh, you're looking at nearly 20 years). Needless to say, that's well beyond the life span of the drive. So no, a prudent company won't buy these for power savings...

Re:I can seem some enterprise paying for this. (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830944)

The only real "enterprise" case for SSDs(besides just making the boss's laptop quieter and more responsive for a few hundred bucks extra) is IOPS.

As a mass storage option, SSDs are pretty pitiful. As you note, even 15k RPM SAS stuff, hardly the cheap seats, is substantially cheaper per gigabyte. If you can step down to 10K RPM, or even the nicer grade of 7200RPM SATA(SAS/SATA compatibility can be quite convenient), the difference gets even starker.

If you are talking IOPS/$, though, SSDs passed the "economically viable" point some time ago and were last seen running for a location somewhere between "not even fair" and "Good God, man, it's like curb-stomping a puppy!" in their competition with even the zippiest of mechanical drives.

Re:I can seem some enterprise paying for this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830960)

You probably need to add the cost of cooling the serverroom too.. And also have a look at the failurerates between SDD's and "normal" disks and then look at the cost of replacement of drives and such.. Also you might need fewer SSD disks in a database-server and that would then result in a smaller chassi = less rackspace...

It might actually make sense in some situations to get SSD's when looking at the total cost of everything..

Re:I can seem some enterprise paying for this. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831060)

It might save them on power infrastructure as well as electrons...

(By switching to SSDs they might be able to add a couple more servers without changing any cables and/or upgrading the UPS and backup generators).

Re:I can seem some enterprise paying for this. (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830818)

Imagine the power savings and time savings replacing existing storage with these.

As a media producer who uses DAW and video editing apps, solid state storage is a dream for me. I'm using much smaller SSDs now and although the power savings don't mean much to me, they are certainly quieter and faster than magnetic or optical media.

My 15k rpm drives are too loud and too warm.

When a 1TB SSD hits $1000, I'm in for two.

Re:I can seem some enterprise paying for this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31831124)

Get a PC case with rubber grommets on the HDD mounts, Zalman fans and PSU, dynamat lined box and a RAID0 array of 4x Velociraptor drives. It'll be pretty silent, and no SSD will match that sort of firepower for I/O, and you'll smoke even the fastest SAS drives unless they, too are in RAID configuration.

That will also cost you a fraction of what equivalent SSD or SAS will cost you per TB.

That's a much better deal than a 5GB Hard Drive! (2, Funny)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830466)

Speed? (2, Interesting)

kingofnexus (1721494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830472)

Paying $4000 for a hard drive is one thing, but how fast is it? Slapping what I assume to be a ton of chips together wont make for an impressive benchmark. If I had the cash to blow on this sort of thing I would rather raid together a bunch of and small fast ssd's than 1 big one.

Re:Speed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830626)

Slapping what I assume to be a ton of chips together wont make for an impressive benchmark.

Um, actually, isn't that HOW SSD's are so fast in the first place? Basically an on-device RAID type system that lets you write to the 32 different flash chips all at the same time? Maybe I'm wrong.

Re:Speed? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830932)

Slapping what I assume to be a ton of chips together wont make for an impressive benchmark.

Same as:

... I would rather raid together a bunch of and small fast ssd's than 1 big one.

SSD seek time is zero, there is no multi-spindle advantage. Unless you are trying to exceed a system thruput of 3 gigs/sec, the limit of a single SATA channel...

Re:Speed? (0)

mitgib (1156957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831276)

Slapping what I assume to be a ton of chips together wont make for an impressive benchmark.

Same as:

... I would rather raid together a bunch of and small fast ssd's than 1 big one.

SSD seek time is zero, there is no multi-spindle advantage. Unless you are trying to exceed a system thruput of 3 gigs/sec, the limit of a single SATA channel...

There might be a cost savings with a raid setup to achieve larger capacity, but personally I would do it just for some fault tolerance. No matter how well made things get, stuff breaks, and usually at an inopportune time.

I've been thinking of some SSD solution for my next PC at home as my current PC has lost it's new toy feel for me. It's still great hardware, but it's not new anymore, and cheaper then trading in women. I think people need to change their view about home computing some though. Is there really a need to have you music/video collection on every computer in the home? How much can be stored centrally on a NAS tucked away in the closet? I see the mechanical drive being king of the NAS market of the future, with folks running huge storage pools at home, then SSD for your local apps.

Yay (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830478)

Can we please get an affordable, 60GB one that is actually worth buying now? Last time I checked (two months ago), most of the less expensive drives were real spotty with their reliability.

Any suggestions for a decent 60GB SSD for under $120?

Re:Yay (2, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830526)

You can get 60GB for under $120? Damnit, I considered an SSD recently and 30/40GB was £100 for the cheapest ones. Didn't get it in the end because of reports of degrading performance over time. That'd be one hell of a downer if you'd bought something that large and expensive!

Re:Yay (5, Informative)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830608)

You can get 60GB for under $120? Damnit, I considered an SSD recently and 30/40GB was £100 for the cheapest ones. Didn't get it in the end because of reports of degrading performance over time. That'd be one hell of a downer if you'd bought something that large and expensive!

No, you can't.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010150636%201421439415&name=60GB [newegg.com]

The lowest price for a 60GB SSD is $140, and that's from a no-name company. If you want quality for that spec, your wallet will be taking a hit of about $200

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830798)

100 pounds
100.00 GBP = 154.396 USD (XE.com, not inc. various exchange fees)

Re:Yay (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830962)

You can get 60GB for under $120?

No, you can't.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830940)

here in australia the cheapest prices ive found are

http://www.cworld.com.au/product_info.php?ID=171379

KINGSTON V SERIES 64GB SSD [SNV125-S2/64GB] for AU$135 !! cheaper than i expected. but id have to pay postage.

or locally,
Kingston SNV425-S2 SSD 2.5” 64GB for AU$189

or two 32gig USB Pen 32G Kingston for 2X AU$81 = AU$162

Re:Yay (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830870)

yes, in about two more years. hang in there.

and on that day I'll be getting by really cheap, as I only need about 20GB for a laptop

Re:Yay (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830942)

And mine will probably have 10 TB. "You got room for only one OS in there ? Do you know that virtualization is all the rage right now ? Be secure, man !"

Welcome back to the 90s (4, Insightful)

Elledan (582730) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830516)

So at roughly $4/GB that'd place us where, back at the late 90s? I'm not sure what part of 'catching up' people seem to think of when they're talking about SSDs replacing HDDs. Yes, they're faster in a number of applications, but HDDs are crazy cheap at $0.10/GB or better, fast enough for most purposes and have a longer life than Flash-based media. I guess I could pull out a stack of punch cards 1 km tall and claim it's got 1 TB storage capacity too, thus having 'caught up' with HDDs.

Considering Flash is reaching the point with its feature sizes (32 nm) where its data retention rate (1 year) and number of write cycles (8,000) is dropping rapidly (enterprise SSDs use 65+ nm SLC Flash instead), it's hard to see how Flash-based SSDs are winning, exactly.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830730)

However, progress in the HDD arena has been slow lately. Compare how fast 3.5" capacity went from 1G->500G to how relatively slowly its inched from 500G->2000G. It's also not clear how much farther the cost of a HDD can go down, the manufacturing efficiencies have been squeezed as far as they can go.

It's not clear if flash capacities are going to progress faster, but I think there is certainly room for their price to fall.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (0, Flamebait)

quantumplacet (1195335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831056)

Compare how fast 3.5" capacity went from 1G->500G to how relatively slowly its inched from 500G->2000G.

First 1GB hard drive came out around 1994 or 1995. It took 10 years until the first 500GB HD came out in 2005. Then the first 2TB drive came out in 2009, 4 years later. So basically, what the hell are you talking about?

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830792)

Um, they are WAY faster. They are also growing in size more rapidly than traditional hard drives. They have gone from like 32gb to 1000gb in just a couple of years. They are also rapidly dropping in price.

Even now, a lot of people only use like 30gb worth of disk space. Sure, they have more, but they don't use it.

32 GB / $125 USD / Sequential Write: 187.5 MB/s / Sequential Read: 294.5 MB/s.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211419
For a lot of people, that would be the largest upgrade in terms of speed they could possibly give there computer. Maybe reducing the time to load photoshop from 8 seconds to 2. Loading Word for 3 seconds to instant. Simple as that. For $125 dollars.

64 GB / $149 USD / Similar speed
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820139132

128 GB / $351 USD / Similar speed
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148319

Again, these are the largest speed improvements that you can possibly give your computer right now. That isn't insignificant. At all.

Sure, they aren't really there YET, but it won't be that long.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830990)

32 GB / $125 USD / Sequential Write: 187.5 MB/s / Sequential Read: 294.5 MB/s.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211419 [newegg.com]

You do realise that sequential reads and writes are pretty much irrelevant to most people, right? The big benefit of SSDs is _random_ read and write speed, which is where HDDs really suck.

For a lot of people, that would be the largest upgrade in terms of speed they could possibly give there computer. Maybe reducing the time to load photoshop from 8 seconds to 2.

And how often do you load photoshop? For most people, saving six seconds on something they do once a day is hardly going to be 'the largest upgrade in terms of speed they could possibly give their computer'.

I put an SSD in my new HTPC because I wanted it to boot up fast, and while it probably halves the boot time there it's otherwise pretty underwhelming.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831088)

I put an SSD in my new HTPC because I wanted it to boot up fast, and while it probably halves the boot time there it's otherwise pretty underwhelming.

Isn't it quieter? When I installed a SSD in my mythtv frontend, hard drive noise went from noticeable, to gone.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831154)

You do realise that sequential reads and writes are pretty much irrelevant to most people, right?

My #1 storage delay is waiting for virtual machines to suspend and resume. That means writing or reading a 1GB (or whatever the VM's RAM is) contiguous file. Before SSD, suspend/resume to disk wasn't even worth the wait, now it is. Most people don't bother with VM's, but suspend-to-disk in general is a feature that millions of home users should be using by default to save power (compared to never shutting down) and reduce waiting (compared to rebooting just to grab an email).

Of course, the fast seek time is great too.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831252)

I have an SSD, and I too use it for suspend to disk/resume goodness. It resumes much quicker than with an HDD, and my computer is a bit quieter now, too. A lot of things are just quicker.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831162)

The largest potential advantage for SSD drives, is clever redesign can allow for extreme expandability. Unlike harddisk drives, SSD drives can inherently be designed as more open units, with additional slots for additional memory cards ie, it is readily possible to manufacturer a SSD drive that starts with say 50 gig of memory to which you can add additional memory cards at say 25 gig a piece. All this done before adding the additional cost of another drive with it's own expanding memory slots.

As prices fall, likely target would be 100 gig drives with 100 gig expansion cards to fill out to a terabyte.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

bertok (226922) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831126)

Seconded.

Nobody who's actually used an SSD talks about how hard drives will remain relevant. Nobody.

It's not even about the streaming speeds. Going from 60 IOPS (typical SATA disk) to 6000 IOPS(*) is a night & day difference. There's just no comparison. Meanwhile, the latest SATA 6 Gbps drives can reputedly [anandtech.com] do 60,000 IOPS!

To put that in perspective, 60K IOPS is the same as a 350x 15K RPM drives in a SAN storage array. That's the kind of thing that banks buy for $millions, but it's still not as good as the SSD, because a SAN can only do those IOPS if it's receiving many independent requests on many "threads". The latency of any single request is still a couple of milliseconds. Meanwhile, SSDs can not only pull insane aggregate IOPS, but they can do it for a single thread, because the latencies are way lower.

There's "enterprise" SSDs out already that can do over 200K IOPS over PCI-e. Sooner or later, that's going to trickle down to the consumer market.

Hard drives are the new tape.

*) that's what I get from the somewhat outdated SSD in my laptop.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830834)

Its all about the input/outputs per second (IOPS). Spinning disks peak out around 200 IOPS, while enterprise-grade SSDs exceed 100,000 IOPS. Enterprise applications are always bound by database performance, which is always bound by the IOPS performance of disks. Enterprise applications often cost 10's of millions to develop with database licencing alone often costing millions, so spending a few 10's of thousand on 50x faster disks is peanuts.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830878)

i am not a hardware expert. However, I have a few uses for something like that in the small company where I work. $4k is pricey, but for applications that rely on huge file I/O and is sensitive to speed, this is viable.

I've already ordered a SAN solution.... but if I were making the decision again, and the price dropped by a factor of four, I would likely go with the SSD if I could mix and match with traditional hard drives.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831120)

i am not a hardware expert. However, I have a few uses for something like that in the small company where I work. $4k is pricey, but for applications that rely on huge file I/O and is sensitive to speed, this is viable.

True, but I was just shopping for storage and considering a SSD.

Newegg ran a deal on a 2TB HD yesterday for $130. Standard price for many is $140-150. $150 for 7200 RPM.

At $4k, you can afford to have 20 of these drives and still have money for some fancy controllers. Run them in RAID-1 for the DB application to give you the necessary bandwidth/capacity. 20 Drives beat 1 SSD controller. Heck, for most applications 5-10 beat the SSD. Write doesn't matter much because, well, SSDs write about as slow as HDs.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

VinylPusher (856712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831270)

You haven't factored in energy costs, physical space requirements or reliability. If you have 20 spinning disks, two will fail within 6 months (most likely) unless you've paid extra for e.g. an Apple fileserver.

Plus: noisy.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (4, Informative)

Gruturo (141223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830882)

I guess I could pull out a stack of punch cards 1 km tall and claim it's got 1 TB storage capacity too, thus having 'caught up' with HDDs.

This being Slashdot, I'd expect better of you :-)
A 1km-tall stack of cards, which, according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] are 0.178mm thick and can storage 64 bytes with the most efficient coding, results in a measly 342.89 megabytes (assuming 1 megabyte= 2^20, which is admittedly uncommon when quoting storage, esp when a vendor does it. They'd use the 10^6 version, so 359.55 megabytes (I'm aware of the kibibyte/mebibyte etc scale, but I don't like using it))

For a full terabyte you're looking at slighly over 3058km worth of stacked punch cards (or 2781.25 km if using the storage vendors' definition)

(Disappointingly, Wolfram Alpha was no help doing the above calculations)

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831264)

This being Slashdot, you should know that storage manufacturers always exaggerate the data capacity of their products.

The _unformatted_ capacity of 5.6 million punch cards is 998,320,126,812 bytes.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831064)

So at roughly $4/GB that'd place us where, back at the late 90s? I'm not sure what part of 'catching up' people seem to think of when they're talking about SSDs replacing HDDs.

I deployed a 586 based single board computer using a 4 gig CF as the boot drive about a year ago. Entire system draws about 4 watts total and no moving parts. I would call it vaguely mid 90s ish specifications. If you define HDD as advancing about one year per year, then SSDs seem to be advancing about half a decade per year, thus "catching up" at a rate of about 4 years per calendar year, and currently "about a decade behind" so figure SSD will pass HDD around the end of the world, late 2012-ish. Sign of the Apocalypse?

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831292)

I deployed a 586 based single board computer using a 4 gig CF as the boot drive about a year ago.

I'll bet it's a Soekris box, and you've added a spinning 2.5 hard drive to it to as well. Did I guess right?

Did something similar about a year ago, too, but I opted for single 16GB Mtron MOBI SLC SSDs. All the units still work as expected.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831086)

>>>SSDs are faster in a number of applications, but HDDs are crazy cheap at $0.10/GB or better

Precisely. It's why when you buy Mario Kart Wii, it comes on a cheap disc not a solid state cartridge. The disc can be mass-produced and is very simple, which is why it will always be cheaper than the more-complex chip-based storage.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31831114)

How is this "it's too expensive" argument relevant? This is a cutting edge product. Once it gets past the cutting edge stage, it will become available for lower prices, and in the end aimed at consumers. You know how these things work. So why still the argument like the introduction price of a new cutting edge product is the end of it all? Sir, if everything had to be made according to your standards, we'd lose invention and stick with evolutions of mass-produced products aimed at the lowest price point.

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

mayberry42 (1604077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831122)

New applications of technology are always much more expensive than their older counterparts. Why do you think the latest and greatest Nvidia video cards cost $hundreds? (disclaimer: it's been years since i've worked with or built computers, so the details may a bit out of date, but the concept still stands) In part, supply and demand. Part also because they are trying out new techniques which require substantial R&D costs. Once problems are ironed out and people start buying en masse (assuming it's not a shoddy product/tech to begin with, like 3D -- until now), economies of scale will kick in and the "true market value" (for lack of better terminology) of the mass will ultimately dictate whether it's ultimately worth the investment or not. That's the way it was with the introduction of PCs, CDs, video game consoles and any other type of technology conceivable. this will be no different.

If you don't like it now, that's fine (and very understandable), but just give it another few years until the market takes over before making any judgements. In the mean time, sit back, relax, and let the uber-geeks do their thing :-)

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831308)

So at roughly $4/GB that'd place us where, back at the late 90s?

Around 2002 [mkomo.com]

I'm not sure what part of 'catching up' people seem to think of when they're talking about SSDs replacing HDDs.

They're thinking of SSDs previously being 12 years behind HDDs in $/GB (in 2007!) and now being 7 years behind. That's pretty good "catching up" by any measure!

Re:Welcome back to the 90s (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831322)

They're not faster in a number of apps; last time I looked (or, indeed, used a mechanical drive as a system disc) SSD's were the performance king by a nautical mile. I'm not aware of any type or number of hard discs that can compete on performance with even a mid-range SSD these days.

In the 90's your only option other than an array the size of a fridge was an enterprise ramdisc (and try getting either of those into your laptop). Depending on which metric is most important to you (and it should be random read/write), SSD's are pretty much an order of magnitude faster that mechanicals.

On top of that, not everyone needs the space. Corporate laptop users especially will boot off a small 30-60GB SSD and have all their documents presented over the network or over VPN. Paying $0.10 a GB is a loss when it's cheaper for you to pay $5 a GB and get $30 more productivity from an employee per day due to faster boots, shorter logins, less thrashing during the mandatory virus scan and fewer mechanical failures (which is often enough to put an employee out of action for a significant fraction of the day, or even week if they're out and about).

IIRC Intel (who make up 2 out of 5 of the SSD's I currently own) say you can write something like 80GB to one of their 160GB drives every day and not start running out of sectors for five years; I don't know of any mechanical discs (especially 2.5" SATA ones) that are capable of such punishment. Flash and SSD controllers (along with a DRAM cache and NCQ) have really come a long way in mitigating the rewrite/longevity problem.

Disclaimer: I don't understand why more people don't love SSD's, especially when the dislike seems to relate solely to their high price.

Cheaper than 1TB FC drives, EMC SSD (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830524)

Hey, $4K/TB isn't that expensive. What's the performance and reliability like?

Re:Cheaper than 1TB FC drives, EMC SSD (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831026)

Yea, it's only _40 times_ the cost of a regular hard drive.

Why not buy a crapload of regular drives...then you can RAID a bunch of them and have a crapload more left over for when any of them fail. Guarantee 40 TB regular drives could be set up to be both faster and last longer than a 1TB SSD. Would be a bit bigger though....

Re:Cheaper than 1TB FC drives, EMC SSD (1)

VinylPusher (856712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831304)

Maybe you want to deploy it somewhere you don't visit regularly...

Perhaps you have space constraints.

Perhaps you want to put it in a music production environment (which needs to be quiet).

There are any number of uses for $4k/TB silent, low-power storage. Not all of them will fit your idea of sensible, but some are still valid.

Solid State of the Art (4, Funny)

sackvillian (1476885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830534)

It's too bad that I won't be able to take this baby for a spin...

Re:Solid State of the Art (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830988)

For those who missed it, parent is referring to the fact that SSD have no moving parts.

Re:Solid State of the Art (2, Funny)

theY4Kman (1519023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831108)

I think that all the time at the park!

great scot! (5, Funny)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830544)

This sucker's electrical. But I need a nuclear reaction to compress the data to the 1 terabyte of capacity I need.

Not so sure about the "aspirational" line (2, Informative)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830546)

"aspirational more than affordable" ? For business ( on-site programming ) purposes I just ordered a new laptop with two 256-Gb SSD drives. Only a few hundred bucks more expensive than one with disks. Wait a year or two, and 1 Tb SSD drives will be perfectly normal items on a medium to high end computer.

Re:Not so sure about the "aspirational" line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830650)

Which laptop is that? I've been looking to replace my aging laptop this year. Dual SSD's sounds perfect.

Cheers.

Re:Not so sure about the "aspirational" line (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831070)

Yea. Only a few hundred bucks more expensive for the entire laptop, which may not seem like much...but is it really worth it? Of all the things you could have spent that money on, it went to the hard drives? You're adding a few hundred bucks for a part that is usually under a hundred bucks.

Tax day is tomorrow... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830576)

Don't forget that in 10 years the national debt will equal 100% of the economy. Don't forget who did this to you, regardless of whether they have an R or a D after their name. Don't forget that you also played a part in this - standing around with your hand out, expecting Uncle Sam to be your god.

Uhmm.... (3, Interesting)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830588)

This has been on newegg for a very long time: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227500 [newegg.com]

I've been waiting forever for its price to drop, but nothing seems to be happening. I don't think SSDs will be of any consequence to mainstream users before memristors become all the rage.

Re:Uhmm.... (2, Funny)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830688)

But look, it's only $1.99 shipping! What a deal!

Re:Uhmm.... (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830754)

Considering how much variety and mindshare there's been around SSDs and the competition with HDDs, I find that the prices have
stayed much too high for far too long.
I wonder if we are going to hear about another PC/IT price-fixing scheme.

That's a lot of money..... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830612)

.....just to store downloaded episodes of Star Trek, Stargate, and Galactica (plud other unmentionables). I'll buy the DVDs instead.

Re:That's a lot of money..... (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830710)

You don't need a solid state drive for storing media. It's completely useless. There's only a few really good uses of these things. Mostly in places where you have a lot of reads all over the disk in a very short amount of time. Mostly for things like Databases and stuff. For personal use, it really only makes sense to store your programs and OS on it. There's no reason to store things like movies and MP3s on there. Get a second drive spinning platter drive for that.

Re:That's a lot of money..... (0, Flamebait)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830868)

You don't need a solid state drive for storing media. It's completely useless.

If you say so...

Mostly in places where you have a lot of reads all over the disk in a very short amount of time.

Yeah, like my video server trying to feed multiple HD streams at the same time. Zero seek time sure would be nice. Good thing video is not media, because then it would be useless.

Re:That's a lot of money..... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831226)

Yeah, like my video server trying to feed multiple HD streams at the same time.

How many HD streams at the same time?

Right now it'd be cheaper for you to get 2 drives in raid 1 and a raid controller smart enough to queue requests seperately to the two drives.

Unless you don't have enough movies to make HD's economical - HD's scale up well, Flash scales down better.

I have a 512GB SSD (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31830646)

And it is awesome. My MacBook Pro flies. I've also lost a lot of weight since I don't have money for food anymore. Highly recommended.

Not 400x (4, Informative)

radaos (540979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830670)

Maths fail in article. $4000 / $100 != 400x

Snow Leopard (2, Interesting)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830738)

It's a real pity OSX 10.6 failed to add TRIM support. With Win7, this is the first time I've seen MS cut Apple's lunch.

Not so bad, compared to: (2, Informative)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830820)

Paying $4000 for a thousand gigabytes is not so bad. Some of us have worked on:

DEC DF-32: 32K 12-bit words for around $5000 (1971)

DEC RKO5- 2.5 megabytes for $10,000 ( 1973 )

Mac HD-20: 20 megabytes for $1000 ( 1985 )

All those were like, 1000x or more per byte. AND WE WERE PERFECTLY HAPPY. (Well, a little cramped on the DF32)

Re:Not so bad, compared to: (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831022)

Is this a new play on "When I was young..."? ;)

Re:Not so bad, compared to: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31831048)

You're "perfectly happy" only because there's nothing else cheaper in 1971 for $500, or 1973 for $250 or 1985 for $100. If there were, you'll be perfectly happy with the cheaper alternative too.

Affordable (3, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830970)

Over recent years Solid State Drives (SSDs) have moved from luxury to affordable additions to one's PC

When I can get a 1TB 3.5" SATA drive [ebuyer.com] for £61.33 (approx $94.58), I'm not sure how something which is 42 times more expensive can be considered "affordable".

Maybe I have a different definition of the word.

Re:Affordable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31831340)

It is called a "summary statement" and it is preparing you for the news by giving you some context of the history of solid state drives. Hence the use of the words "over recent years" in the sentence. It is not talking about the new drives that are the focus of the article, but about solid state drives OVER RECENT YEARS. Reading comprehension ftw.

Price. (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31830972)

Sweet! Maybe now I can replace the 1.3TB of hard drives in my desktop with some solid state!

Oh wait. Nope. I can barely afford a 30GB drive. Let me know when SSDs are less than $1/GB.

Re:Price. (1, Insightful)

bbn (172659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831128)

Come back in a year or so.

we paid that for a megabyte in late 1970s (2, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831052)

Its all relative, folks.

Reference Articles (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831150)

I don't pretend to even an elementary working knowledge of this stuff but the Anandtech articles seem to be the most frequently cited reference starting points. The SSD Anthology: Understanding SSDs and New Drives from OCZ [anandtech.com] and The SSD Relapse [thessdrelapse] . I've a rudimentary understanding of the problems but have yet to come across anything that speaks to whether a SSD can be "refurbished" at the end of it's relatively short life, or, if a technology could be developed that would be profitable to refurbish SSDs at the end of their life. Just to underscore how little I know about this, I'm not at all sure what I mean when I say "refurbish" a SSD.

Not the right use of this tech (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831158)

I'd simply want to put the "read mostly" parts of say a linux distro on one, to improve boot and app startup times, and leave the rest on good old spinning disks, even though I'm severely power limited here and SSD's would help with that. Fairly easy to do in Linux with mounting points and so on, not so easy with other opsys. Of course, the more bloatier apps still churn a bunch of writing on startup due to config files being updated and the like....

But this way you don't write the SSD much, it should live long and not get real fragmented. Also, you don't need that big size to pull it off. To save power (but not annoyance) you then set the spinning disks to power down real quick when not in use...

Seems like a good plan for my home main server which has a ton of read-mostly data on it -- now that could use up some SSD capacity indeed. But nearly all of that read mostly data could do as well on a normal hard drive -- music, data sheets, scientific papers and such like don't need blazing fast reads to work well. I can't see putting my MySQL databases on SSD anytime soon though.

disapointing (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31831186)

You could already get half this capacity in a laptop sized drive and a desktop drive is more than twice the volume of a laptop drive.

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