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Intel Confirms It Will Ship 160GB Flash Drives

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the that's-some-solid-state dept.

Intel 228

Lucas123 writes "Intel has confirmed plans to ship a new line of solid-state drives for laptop and notebook PCs with storage capacities of 80GB to 160GB. While it did not lock in a ship date, Intel told Computerworld that the drives would be available in the second quarter. From the story: 'An aggressive move into the laptop and PC notebook flash disk drive business would catapult Intel into direct competition with hard drive manufacturers such as Toshiba Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. that are trying to spark demand before their SATA-based offerings are released in the coming months.'"

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228 comments

Hmm.. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22729922)

I call your mother the "160GB flash drive." That can't be just a co-incidence.

Re:Hmm.. (-1, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730242)

I call your mother [uncyclopedia.org] the "160GB flash drive." That can't be just a co-incidence.

There, added the link to "your mom".

You're welcome.

Great. I buy a 160GB iPod and now they (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729934)

tell me I could have got a solid state one.

Oh well. I'll just have to wait until the moving parts on this one stop moving.

Re:Great. I buy a 160GB iPod and now they (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22730010)

The 160 GB SSD is probably 1-5x the size of your ipod...

Re:Great. I buy a 160GB iPod and now they (5, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730628)

"The 160 GB SSD is probably 1-5x the size of your ipod..."

why do you say that? I can buy a 16gb flash drive for $60 [google.com]. Line 10 of those up and you have a 160gb flash drive for $600 that shouldn't be much bigger than a iPhone if you remove the unnecessary plastic and USB ports from the drives.

Imagine a RAID0 array of ten 16gb flash drives! 200+ mByte/sec (ten x 20mB/sec) transfers and access times in nanoseconds vs hard drive milliseconds! No more bottlenecks.

i for one welcome our new flash memory overlords!

Re:Great. I buy a 160GB iPod and now they (4, Informative)

KingOfGod (884633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22731066)

You forgot the 10x increased chance of unrecoverable failure.

Re:Great. I buy a 160GB iPod and now they (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730384)

Great. I buy a 160GB iPod and now they tell me I could have got a solid state one.
They do?
Where?

XYZ-byte Solid-State inevitable (5, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730740)

I'm here today to announce the future availability of 10TB solid-state drives.

Pricing, manufacturing, and delivery date will be announced at a later date.

I for one... (-1, Offtopic)

background image (1001510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729946)

...welcome our new high-capacity, solid-state overlords.

Re:I for one... (3, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730092)

Why? A solid-state overlord is not much more than a geometric rock.

Re:I for one... (1)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730318)

Does your rock run Linux?

Re:I for one... (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730406)

There is a difference between a solid-state overlord and an overlord with solid-state storage. My non-solid-state overlord does run Linux, though.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22730896)

In my slightly buzzed state I just noticed your sig and initially started trying to translate it from leetspeek... *slaps forehead*

Proof (3, Insightful)

Slashidiot (1179447) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729954)

More proof that competing companies are good for consumers. I just hope that toshiba and samsung have enough strength to come up with something that takes the lead from intel.

Re:Proof (1)

happy_smile (913796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730156)

however, I think it still takes years until the price is affordable for me. Besides, I'm still concerning the limited write cycles it has.

Re:Proof (2, Informative)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730278)

Besides, I'm still concerning the limited write cycles it has.

I'm not sure the limit on write cycles will be a major concern at those sizes, especially if you keep the drive maybe 50-75% full.

Re:Proof (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22731112)

yeah, the more people competing, the lower the prices. And the #1 thing that SSDs need right now is a price drop! Instead of 1 or 2 companies releasing a massive bunch of flash chips all connected to each other practically as a joke or concept product for like $1000+ now hopefully they'll get serious and start developing something that can rival a normal hard drive's price. 160GB is fine for me when it comes to a system drive. I have a 250 and a 500GB storage drive for videos and files and all that but the system drive is where I want a fast reaction. My boot time is horrible cuz of all the hard drive IO.

But can I afford them yet? (2, Insightful)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729970)

The price needs to drop a lot for me to consider one above the tried-and-true magnetic hard drive.

Re:But can I afford them yet? (5, Interesting)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730120)

At the show in December [computerworld.com], another article said:

"In a short demonstration of an Intel solid-state drive at work in a laptop, Saleski showed that the drive could read and write 680MB of data and related storage in 24 seconds. The read and write speed of the solid state drive will be three to four times faster than that of most hard drives, and it will initially cost as much as three times as much as a hard drive, he said."

If in a year they are twice the price of a regular hard drive, that is a bargain for some of us, if for no other reason that to use it as a swap drive for the OS and scratch drive for Photoshop. It would also making loading game levels much faster, so an 80gb version could make an affordable addition to a regular drive that has the OS.

Re:But can I afford them yet? (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730306)

3x the sustained read/write at 3x the price of a winchester drive is too good to be true. Keep in mind the access time for SSD destroys a hard drive. When you consider the value of data on a drive, and what it costs to have a tech replace one, I'd think winchester drives will quickly be obsolete in PCs for business users.

Re:But can I afford them yet? (1)

fuzzylollipop (851039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730556)

Actually you are way off base. Current SSD drives are about HALF as fast as 5400 RPM drives in writing, and pretty close to even on reading, definitely not any faster. So you won't see any performance in loading games or using Photoshop.

Re:But can I afford them yet? (1)

justinlindh (1016121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730774)

You're right, but I think we'll be in dire need of some optimization in the scenarios you describe.

I know that Photoshop allows you to specify a scratch drive, and I'm assuming there's a way to specify where to toss the swap file in Windows (I know this is simple in Linux by just creating the swap partition on the flash drive).

The problems come in your game example: Yes, game level loading (and related assets) would be greatly improved, and the performance improvement is definitely welcomed. But you wouldn't ideally install the entire game on the flash drive. It's not uncommon for installed games to take upwards of 5 or 6 gigs. This, combined with swap/scratch/etc will fill space up very quickly (especially an 80gb drive, as you mention as a good companion drive). This space is a price premium, so you probably wouldn't want to install the entire game to this drive, at least, until the price came down to where it wasn't a price premium. I've yet to see a game that lets you install some assets in a different drive/partition than the base install, and I'd be surprised if game developers decide to take the time to implement this.

So, I agree that it's a great idea in theory, but it's a bit more difficult to implement, unfortunately.

Re:But can I afford them yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22730942)

Actually, I wouldn't want it for a swap drive. It's flash memory, aka burnt out in no time.

For storing games and app files that don't change ever, it would be fantastic for load time.

Re:But can I afford them yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22730168)

Tried and true?

There is no piece of hardware in my computer that pisses me off more than hard-drives. I say good riddance.

Re:But can I afford them yet? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730312)

Better hope that it doesn't drop too quickly into hard drive prices or you'll crash the heads

Bummer. (2, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729980)

I thought this was an announcement for a 160 gig USB thumb drive. Not that I could afford it anyway.

Logical move (5, Insightful)

crow (16139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22729992)

It's very difficult to move into an established market, like disk drives. There's tons of technical expertise to acquire, and without your share of patents to negotiate a sharing deal, you're going to be paying through the nose in royalties. You just don't see new disk drive companies popping up. The only way to enter the market is to buy or partner with an existing player.

The shift to flash drives changes all this.

This is Intel's one chance to become a major player in a component that they haven't been involved in until now.

Re:Logical move (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730194)

Intel have been in the flash memory market for as long as I can remember, they're just focusing on a growth market like everyone else is. AMD where also in the game, have n't really kept up with what they have been up to though.

Re:Logical move (4, Informative)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730440)

I'm curious at what point we will quit treating these hard drive replacements as that, and instead treat them as what they are - large arrays of addressable memory. Without doing the homework to be sure, I suspect that being able to remove the overhead of an OS building the needed protocol stream to address this memory as a hard drive, and instead treating it as memory, would save significant(?) code/time.

Re:Logical move (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730602)

I don't think it'll happen before we get rid of the limited write cycles. At which point it would also be a true HDD replacement. Anyways, RAM is still faster (I think)

Re:Logical move (4, Informative)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730756)

Current hardware with simple wear leveling will give you about a solid year of continuous writes. That's writing 24/7, nonstop. I don't think a HDD could even survive that. For a consumer device, even under fairly heavy use, the hardware will be long obsolete before it runs out of write cycles.

Re:Logical move (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730752)

There is very little overhead in the block device protocol (and they are still block devices - flash chips are typically not bit-addressable, they are collections of block that must each be erased in one go). Most of the overhead is in the filesystem and you still need that for flash.

Re:Logical move (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730488)

Flash drives are very nice, but I want bigger SD cards (or something similar). That way I can buy a pocketful of cheap storage cards for something like the Eee. USB flash drives stick out too far. (Although the type without any housing on the plug somewhat cure that.)

Is there some limiting problem for SD cards that prevents them from being 20GB or so?

year 2015 the end of the consumer hard disk? (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22731032)

It's quite possible that by 2015, most consumer PC's will not have hard drives. Hard drives will be relegated to servers that have over a terabyte.

Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730036)

Yes Megnetic Media is cheaper then Solid state... But higher speeds and still its prices are falling fast too, battery power usage, less points of failure. It really seems like the way to go. I could see Magnetic Media go the way of the CRT in 10 years? I think it is possible. Unless Magnetic makes some Huge Improvement in capasity and also we get a hug increase in demmand in data. Because drive size has began starting to exceed our data storage needs (at least on a personal computer Level)

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730090)

Because drive size has began starting to exceed our data storage needs (at least on a personal computer Level)

Er.... I have several 30 GB HD rips that would tend to disagree with you.

Multimedia content is still huge. Your standard from-the-factory PC can only hold 3-4 high quality movies. I know people who have multi-TB RAID arrays to archive their media content and are already feeling storage crunches.

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (1)

qortra (591818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730364)

Hear Hear! Current storage capacity is just fine for people who use gmail and openoffice, but not for people who actually use their computers for media - especially video and uncompressed/losslessly compressed images and audio. I am one of those people who has a multi-TB linux server in the basement. I ripped my music collection to FLAC, and got about 1/3 of the way through my DVD collection (raw rips with menus), and now I need more space - significantly more space. If there is a be a brave new physical-media-less world, our current storage capacity is woefully unprepared.

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (1)

asterix404 (1240192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730700)

This is not a factory PC drive, prices will have to come down a ton until the normal average person will ever buy one of these. On the multi-TB SAN however when you start getting into about 40-60HDD's with a 500k rack 16 fibre chans... all of the needed advances is because to get bits on disk is still way slower then bits being fed to them. Put solid state into a 12 fibre chan SAN at a back plain of 32 GB/s and you will see a performance boost from the slowest object in your SAN, which is in fact the most important place to see an improvement. That of course will only be used by people who will need that speed, IBM, UPS, and other mega tech houses will be the first to purchase them and I'm sure main frame DB techies are salivating at this possibility.

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (2, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730808)

Why do you think I gave it a 10 year span...

I never stated that people will not be able to fill the drives but it is a case the demmand for space is less then the supply of space in general... Back in them olden days were drive size was in the 100s of Megabytes people were rather quickly filling up the drives with normal operations. This was true until drive size got over 40 Gigabytes. About 10 year ago... While drive size has increased we can still get by quite well with 40 Gig hard drive. Even with Vista Ultimate with Office 2003 and .NET 2008. This is the eqlivlant of in the year 2000 having windows 2000, Office 2000 and Visual Studio 6 running on a 512 Meg Drive... Our Demmand is actually less... Yes if you are going to some HD media (and most poeople don't... I don't... And I have a Mac too) It is really a special case of doing some unique work that normally you could afford to do with more... So Today except having a small array of 3 Terabyte Drives you will have a large array of 20 Solid State Drives. (expensive Yes) but doable and if the performance benefits help out it may be worth the cost... But as Flash Drive get cheaper and faster and larger I would predict that in 10 years The cost difference between Magnetic Drive and Flash Drives of the same size would be about $100 difference. ANd the gains would make it worth the extra cost.

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730826)

The ratio between hard disk capacity and the size of the content we put on it is increasing, actually. Look at the trends, the launch date of the CD-ROM and DVD-ROM coincided with fantastically smaller hard disks than we have today, and they could hold proportionally less CD and DVD content without changing the compression. This is not idle speculation, this is cold hard fact.

And this will only get worse. Already 1080P content requires you to be within 6 feet or so of a 100" screen to discern the difference between it and the next highest industry standard (2K resolution used in digital cinematography.) No one sits that close to a screen, they'd have to turn their neck just to see the whole thing. Our eyes simply don't have the resolution to keep increasing the definition, so HD is about as high as 2D pictures will go.

No, I can't predict what will happen if holography becomes the norm, but I can tell you that the gap has historically widened between hard disk capacity and the ability to use that capacity. Hard disks have grown faster, in greater leaps than CPUs or bus speeds or even their own ability to read and write information. We have a wealth of information, and we'll increasingly find our tools inadequate to analyze it as we did before. That's unfortunate, but it's the way things are turning out. We'll have to come up with more and better ways to squeeze every byte and get every bit of value we can from our media because the only way we know of to improve our processing ability is to make the hard disks redundant: mirror the damn things until you have as much throughput as you need.

Go back and look at standard from-the-factory PCs from the time of the creation of the CD-ROM and DVD-ROM. (Good luck with the CD-ROM one.) You'll find yourself lucky if you could store a CD or DVD rip or two on one of those things.

P.S.: Try using a more compact encoding for your HD rips, you don't need all 30GB to have spectacular picture, H.264 can do amazing things.

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730150)

But higher speeds and still its prices are falling fast too, battery power usage, less points of failure.
But shorter lifespans. True, they are more predictable, but the average lifespan is still lower.
I'm personally thinking of having a flash / drive and a HDD /home.

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730520)

Is that true?

Because I don't think we have had SDD for long enough to really know what the average lifespan would be. Also it could very likely be increasing as HDD has been decreasing.

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730618)

While there is a longer Lifespan for the data... Normally the machinancal parts of the drive die well before I have to worry about the magnitism going away. WHile Flash may have a shorter lifespan I would expect you will have more dependable drives due to the fact there is no moters to burn out or heads crashing down on the dive giving a nice scratch on it. And by the time it becomes a problem it is usally time for a major upgrade and you move the data over.

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730656)

The data is still readable, right? Is it only the writing that fails?

Will never be cheaper (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730300)

The difficulty of fabricating flash memory are in the orders of magnitute more diffuclt compared to covering a metal disk with some magnetic material. So there will always be a market for magnetic media, unless that is replaced by some similarly cheap technology.

Re:Will never be cheaper (4, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730574)

Um sorry I was a sleep for 40 years and I just woke up... This Internet thing is pritty cool...

But the Difficulty of fabricating Magnetic Memory is magnitutes more diffucly compared to punching holes in some cardstock. So there will always a need for Punchcards.

Re:Could we see an end to Magnetic Media? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22730822)

I wouldn't be surprised to see magnetic media being used for large volume & offline storage like tapes used to be. They would be auxliery drives in desktops or in external storage for the laptops, spun down when not in use to reduce their failure rate.

Partition Filesystems (5, Interesting)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730062)

What filesystem (NTFS, ext3, etc) is best for solid-state drives anyways? All of our commom filesystems are written for spinning drives, and certain features (such as ext3 self-defragmentation) probably shorten a flash drives lifespan.

Re:Partition Filesystems (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730174)

Can someone with more knowledge,tell me if ZFS is better for flash drives over say NTFS or HFS+.

I am wondering if OS X's slow move to ZFS has some unexpected side effects.

Re:Partition Filesystems (4, Insightful)

von_rick (944421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730176)

Why would you need defragmentation when there's no read head to consider? The whole idea behind defragmenting programs is to gather a file at one place so that the head doesn't have to jump to different addresses on the cylinder.

Re:Partition Filesystems (4, Interesting)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730232)

Exactly my point. Ext3 defragments itself automatically, which does more harm than good on a flash drive.

Re:Partition Filesystems (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730786)

> Why would you need defragmentation when there's no read head to consider?

Because contiguous reads and writes are still faster than scattered ones. This means you have to avoid small fragments anyway -- once the fragments are big enough, making them all adjacent won't help much.

Re:Partition Filesystems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22731082)

In flash this is not that big of deal. If at all. To the drive controler it is just one memory location vs another. With a NOR type flash yes this would be a big deal. But NAND is different...

Contig data on the other hand has saved me MANY times with data recovery and corrupt directories.

You could even make a case for fragmented files being better for the system. Hmm need to think about that. With a demand page loaded system. Fragmented files would be faster. As you could put the fragments that are loaded in order. With a flash system its not that big of deal.

Re:Partition Filesystems (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730310)

probably shorten a flash drives lifespan.

Well, that's probably only true on drives that don't automatically do wear leveling. Is it a waste of effort? Sure. But the additional write cycles will probably have a negligible effect given the sheer number of memory cells available in a device such as this.

Re:Partition Filesystems (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730354)

Even if it has a minor effect, why should we be willing to put up with any degradation at all?

Re:Partition Filesystems (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730658)

I think wear leveling probably potentially has significant limits that proponents seem to ignore. Especially if you have less than 10% free space. Then all your writes will "wear level" over the available free space and degrade orders of magnitude faster than the maker suggests.

That said, I haven't found a decently detailed write-up on exactly how wear-leveling accomplishes its task. I'm assuming that stuff that is rarely written will end up occupying space that's not available to the wear leveling algorithm until it is modified.

Re:Partition Filesystems (1)

vmalloc_ (516438) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730320)

Most filesystems optimize for spinning disks primarily by starting the layout of the partition on the inner part of the spindle. The reason they do this is that it's much faster for the head to read these sectors than the ones on the outer part of the drive. So when you do this, the Operating System gets the fastest access part of the hard drive, which makes sense since your computer frequently accesses this to keep your system running.

There's probably a ton of other optimizations like this, you are on to a very good point. A good person to ask this question would be Kirk McKusick, who is the genius behind FFS and a lot of other great filesystem ideas.

-Kyle

Re:Partition Filesystems (1)

Aaron Isotton (958761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730624)

I'm not sure, but is it not the outer part which is faster (because it's moving faster past the head)? I don't see how seek time should be different on the inner/outer cylinders.

Re:Partition Filesystems (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730578)

So what is flash drive lifespan nowadays in terms of read/write ops?

Re:Partition Filesystems (4, Informative)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730794)

Hmm...
I just found this [storagesearch.com]:

Unlike DRAM, flash memory chips have a limited lifespan. Further, different flash chips have a different number of write cycles before errors start to occur. Flash chips with 300,000 write cycles are common, and currently the best flash chips are rated at 1,000,000 write cycles per block (with 8,000 blocks per chip). Now, just because a flash chip has a given write cycle rating, it doesn't mean that the chip will self-destruct as soon as that threshold is reached. It means that a flash chip with a 1 million Erase/Write endurance threshold limit will have only 0.02 percent of the sample population turn into a bad block when the write threshold is reached for that block. The better flash SSD manufacturers have two ways to increase the longevity of the drives: First, a "balancing" algorithm is used. This monitors how many times each disk block has been written. This will greatly extend the life of the drive. The better manufacturers have "wear-leveling" algorithms that balance the data intelligently, avoiding both exacerbating the wearing of the blocks and "thrashing" of the disk: When a given block has been written above a certain percentage threshold, the SSD will (in the background, avoiding performance decreases) swap the data in that block with the data in a block that has exhibited a "read-only-like" characteristic. Second, should bad blocks occur, they are mapped out as they would be on a rotating disk. With usage patterns of writing gigabytes per day, each flash-based SSD should last hundreds of years, depending on capacity. If it has a DRAM cache, it'll last even longer.

Re:Partition Filesystems (3, Informative)

AaronW (33736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730640)

I was reading up on this a while back and it was recommended to use EXT2 instead of EXT3 since the journal would cause a lot more wear on the flash.

I think there is definitely room for a Linux filesystem that is optimized for dealing with flash devices and limits the number of times data must be written. Furthermore, don't pad with 0's but with 1's (erased flash has all the bits as 1's).

I would love to see a simple universal flash filesystem which could be used by portable devices and PCs without all the limitations of FAT32 (i.e. 4GB file limit) which seems to be the current fs of choice for consumer devices.

JFFS2 is not suitable for regular flash drives (SD/MMC/CF/etc.) since it has its own wear leveling support and is optimized for devices without hardware wear leveling.

For non-flash devices I have switched to XFS due to the higher performance and better tools compared to EXT3.

-Aaron

Re:Partition Filesystems (1)

asm2750 (1124425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730804)

Its suggested you use a FAT partition for max life for flash based drives because it doesn't talk that much.
If you use a talkative file system like NTFS or ext3 I've some articles that state 5 year life is typical for flash rives.
 
  Honestly I don't think flash will be the end all solution that will make us use solid state drives, really its just a stepping stone to drives that utilize phase-change or another type of NV memory that has no real write fatigue and higher density.

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I'm curious... (0)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730102)

What niche of the computer world will these disks fill at their current price point?

First, you'd have to know who would want to buy them. Enthusiasts? I suppose... but I think most enthusiasts want the best bang/buck ratio for storage space, and why buy one of these when you can get a good ol' magnetic drive with a capacity of 1TB? People who require "rugged" notebooks? Solid state is definitely a plus here, but the main organizations I know that use them are mostly government (public safety, et al) and I don't see them affording it. What about servers? Obviously 160GB is overkill for a router-type box, and the smaller 4-8GB solid state drives would be a much better fit. Perhaps the price point would be right for a server that only serves web pages or simple file storage? Again, I think here that most people have some form of large magnetic storage (perhaps via SAN) and a web server would just pull from that.

This kind of thing is really slick... I just don't see it being accepted in the near future.

Re:I'm curious... (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730254)

This kind of thing is really slick... I just don't see it being accepted in the near future.
I think the same was said of flat-panel computer monitors. Now that's pretty much all you can find.

Re:I'm curious... (1)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730290)

I think the same was said of flat-panel computer monitors. Now that's pretty much all you can find.

Well... yes... but it took a while for flat panels to catch on. This is my point now, as well. I think it will *eventually* be widely accepted... just not in the near future.

Re:I'm curious... (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730380)

I can see that, depending on your individual definition of "near" as it relates to technology. I would bet in less than 5 years most all laptops will ship with these. I suppose that's "a long time" in the computer technology world, though.

Re:I'm curious... (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730504)

Define "near". Next week? Next couple of months? Right after Duke Nukem Forever is released?

Re:I'm curious... (1)

74nova (737399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730298)

business laptops like mine. I'm not sure I could convince the boss to let me buy one yet, but I run virtual machines on it for testing and do a fair bit of other development. If I were to have a very fast drive in it, swapping for all the virtual machines would be faster and I could give them less memory. I don't know, it all depends on what these things cost.

Re:I'm curious... (1)

von_rick (944421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730532)

If the Magnetic Vortex Core (http://www.mpg.de/english/illustrationsDocumentation/documentation/pressReleases/2006/pressRelease200611281 [www.mpg.de]) technology ever makes it into the hard-drive markets, it will considerably reduce the size of these drives. Densely packed cores would mean less movement, thus lesser power, and higher stability - and yes, less weight. SSDs would be quite expensive and slow when compared with drives built on Vortex Cores. Lets see what the future has in store.

Re:I'm curious... (2, Funny)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730812)

Plus, anything called a "Magnetic Vortex Core Drive" is a damn cool piece of hardware to own.

I'm an idiot (2, Interesting)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730108)

But shouldn't these figures be some more convenient power of 2? Like 64GB (rounded) or 128GB?

Re:I'm an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22730226)

The storage capacity advertised are based on a 10 to 1 compression ratio. So you are in fact seeing 8GB and 16GB drives respectively.

Re:I'm an idiot (1)

crow (16139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730608)

As the other poster mentioned, these are hard drive GB, not memory GB, so it's base 10, not 2 when it comes to advertising the numbers. Also, I'm not sure how the wear leveling and failure handing works, but they may have some small extra space set aside to replace blocks that wear out, just like you see in traditional hard drives (or actually you don't see, since they hide it from you with the drive firmware).

Anyway, in the short term, they would rather waste a GB or two and make the sizes the same as what you see in magnetic drives because the marketing is easier.

Reason for using solid-state drives (4, Interesting)

pieterh (196118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730162)

Disclaimer: I paid the extra $1,000 for a SSD with my MacBook Air, so I'm probably biased, but most notebooks I've owned has had disk drive issues. It seems part of the price to pay for portable computing. Maybe I'm just brutal with them. The HDDs used in iPods seem more robust but they're slower than normal notebook drives.

The main value of an SSD in a notebook is therefore that the notebook will last longer and there is much less chance of losing data due to disk failure.

Additionally, SSDs are a bit faster, and they're silent and use less power. They are also a little lighter, I assume.

On the down side, they're really expensive and writing files is slower so I guess you want to have lots of RAM and avoid swapping.

In 3 years they'll cost 10% of what they cost today, and they'll be in more than 50% of notebooks.

I don't see the advantage of SSDs in desktops, where it's trivial and normal to have full backups, and where power consumption, noise, weight, etc. are less important.

So it's a little inaccurate to see SSDs as direct competitors to HDDs, ultimately they address two distinct markets, high capacity vs. high reliability. SSDs are always going to be for secondary computers, and portable devices. Of course it's also true that these compete with desktops.

Re:Reason for using solid-state drives (1)

DarkSkiesAhead (562955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730248)


Additionally, SSDs are a bit faster, and they're silent and use less power. They are also a little lighter, I assume.

On the down side, they're really expensive and writing files is slower so I guess you want to have lots of RAM and avoid swapping.

Er, which is it?

Re:Reason for using solid-state drives (2, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730782)

Technically SSD is both:

Reads faster (ie boots quickly, apps open faster)
Writes slower (ie files saves slower, page file churns sluggishly)

Re:Reason for using solid-state drives (1)

GregPK (991973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730262)

I'm looking forward to the day that we can just get rent movies from the store in a worm drive read only card format.

Think, if you could get hd format movies in full length put onto an SSD that simply plays the movies. No more CD scratching.... Errors, etc.

Re:Reason for using solid-state drives (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730848)

I've heard you can download movies off the tubes without having to go to a store. You can even do it without getting it from pirates, what with their parrots and eyepatches and all that. Amazons maybe.

Re:Reason for using solid-state drives (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730974)

Solid state is growing capacities slightly faster. If that keeps up, they will eventually be cheaper per unit capacity, and larger, making reliability and power consumption the deciding factors.

WOW!!! (0, Redundant)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730208)

My PC at home has a combined total of 100 gb hard drive space, including HDa, C:, and D: and I'm nowhere near filling it up yet!

I could have a computer without a hard drive and it would actually work!

I wonder what these puppies are going to cost, anyway?

Re:WOW!!! (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730694)

I have a 500 gig drive that is nearly full and starting next month I will be filling up a terrabyte with DVD data.

My notebook has a 120 gig drive and between games, development data and multimedia it's almost full.

In other words there is a market for a measly 160gigs! ;)

Re:WOW!!! (1)

crow (16139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22730698)

Here, too. Excluding media files, I don't see any use for more than 32GB on any of the systems that I use. But that's a big exclusion. My photos probably only take 10GB, but once you get into my music and my MythTV recordings, I'm pushing a TB, and I would have had to buy another drive if not for the writers' strike.

Sgoat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22730576)

ONE HERE BUT NOW Java IRC ^client Has broug4t upon Base for FreeBSD
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