SSDs: blindingly expensive for a while yet

June 6, 2008 | 09:05

Tags: #computex-2008 #cost #drive #hard #ssd

At the request of one of our readers, we dropped by a few memory manufacturers today – these guys often do SSD modules as a diversification because there’s currently more money to be made in NAND than DRAM, as DRAM prices have hit rock bottom and margins are low.

Unfortunately, the news still isn’t quite so good: the performance we want is still far too expensive and capacities just aren’t there yet, we’ll have to wait for a while longer yet, we were told.

How long is unclear at the moment – the estimates vary between an optimistic Q4 this year to a hand-wavy "sometime in the next few years" timescale, but most seemed to think that Q3/Q4 2009 would be a respectable timeframe. It all depends on production, innovation and industry scaling and there seems to be no one pinnacle solution everyone is waiting for. Instead the predominant market is mobile applications which don’t necessarily need huge capacities or speed, but greatly benefit from the better reliability.

For desktop use, there are drives that are faster – 120MB read and 100MB write was seen here and there, and while maybe the latest 320GB Western Digital VelociRaptor can do this on a good day, coupled with zero random read cost and you’re always on to a winner, however at a significant extra cost.

Unfortunately, just like hard drives everywhere is pretty much the same – the general technology jumps in leaps and bounds every so often, but that also means the entire market sees the benefit. With that in mind, it means there’s really no niche core innovations and much variations apart from size and controller type which could differentiate reliability, although that’s hard to show in benchmark numbers.

We’ll still have to wait for that breakthrough hook which really makes you want to grab one. Until then, we’ll still have to put up with our noisy, failure prone spinning disks for a while longer. Sorry, guys.

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SSDs: blindingly expensive for a while yet SSDs – still blindingly expensive for a while yet SSDs: blindingly expensive for a while yet SSDs – still blindingly expensive for a while yet

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