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New ssd cheaper than hard disk drive

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  • SSD
  • Floppy Disk
  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
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a c 312 G Storage
May 7, 2011 4:00:31 PM

With all of the complaints about the high price of solid state drives I think it is time for a reality check. There's been entirely too much whining, moaning, and groaning about the perceived high cost of ssd's. It is not justified.

I purchased my first desktop computer in December 1984. It was an original IBM pc. The operating system was an early version of DOS 2.0. There were no hard disk drives for consumers. Instead, the pc came with two 5.25 in. floppy disk drives. I had to insert a floppy disk containing the OS in order to start it. I also purchased one of the first IBM word processing programs. It came on two floppy disks. Depending on what I wanted to do I had to keep swapping the two floppy disks. The original version of Flight Simulator was a freebie. It was absolutely horrible.

The following Summer PC Magazine and Computer Shopper magazines published reports about hard disk drives. A company I never heard of was making them. That company was Seagate. I went to a local computer store and inquired about the new drives. The store had brand new Seagate 10MB hard drives with an access time of 140 milliseconds. That was the only benchmark back then.

What did it cost? That 10MB Seagate hard drive cost $350.00 and installation was free.

Time to pull out the calculator and do some math.

At $350.00 for 10MB the price works out to $35.00 per MB.

There are 1,024 MB in 1 GB.

At $35.00 per MB that works out to $35,840.00 per GB. :o 

You think you're paying too much when you pay $2.00 per GB for a solid state drive? Gimme a break!

BTW - It took 26 years to for hard disk prices to drop from $35,840.00 to $00.50 per GB. It is a pretty safe bet that the senior citizens among you will be 6 feet under and Hell will freeze over before ssd's match hard drive prices.

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a c 143 G Storage
May 7, 2011 5:22:25 PM

A very interesting way to look at it! Puts things into perspective IMO on the true cost.

I think what people sometimes have to understand there is cost for performance and one has to understand that. I would love to drive a Nissian GTR but I don't have $80,000+ for one, which doesn't mean I complain about the cost. Heck, it is cheap compared to most cars that hit the 200 MPH mark. It is the same for a SSD compared to hard drive... you are paying for the performance difference. The issue than becomes, one of "real-world" & perceived differences in the two. This can't be truly measured except by oneself. 20 seconds difference for a program to load may mean the world to one person but mean nothing to another person.

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a b G Storage
May 7, 2011 8:32:29 PM

Interesting but your time period for the price drop in SSDs is probably wrong.

Its like comparing how long it took a dual core CPU to come down to the same price as a single core. It took a while but quad cores dropped within 7 months to sub $300 and now AMD has 6 core CPUs out for $200.

Technology is advancing much faster than it was when it was $35K/GB so pricing drops much faster. In March I bought 4GB of DDR3 for $50 bucks while I paid $150 for 4 GB of DDR2 in 2007 and in 2003 I paid almost $500 for 2GB of DDR.
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a c 415 G Storage
May 7, 2011 9:27:41 PM

> It took 26 years to for hard disk prices to drop from $35,840.00 to $00.50 per GB.

Hard drive prices are way, way cheaper than 50 cents/GB. You can buy a 2TB hard drive for about $70 bucks these days, which works out to about 3.5 cents/GB.


> It is a pretty safe bet that the senior citizens among you will be 6 feet under and Hell will freeze over before ssd's match hard drive prices.

Definitely agree. People seem to forget that hard drive capacities are advancing too, and flash technology faces some serious and fundamental limitations as they continue to reduce the cell sizes.

The sweet spot is to buy a relatively smaller SSD for performance-critical files and a much larger but slower HDD for bulk storage. It's going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
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a b G Storage
May 7, 2011 9:32:03 PM

sminlal said:
> It took 26 years to for hard disk prices to drop from $35,840.00 to $00.50 per GB.

Hard drive prices are way, way cheaper than 50 cents/GB. You can buy a 2TB hard drive for about $70 bucks these days, which works out to about 3.5 cents/GB.


> It is a pretty safe bet that the senior citizens among you will be 6 feet under and Hell will freeze over before ssd's match hard drive prices.

Definitely agree. People seem to forget that hard drive capacities are advancing too, and flash technology faces some serious and fundamental limitations as they continue to reduce the cell sizes.

The sweet spot is to buy a relatively smaller SSD for performance-critical files and a much larger but slower HDD for bulk storage. It's going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.


I would agree to a point except that now Intel has the 3D trigate tech which may allow them to do stacked NAND chips instead of the regular way. If so, it may advance performance, size and reliability. Intel will have 600GB SSDs out by the end of this quarter and 400GBs out next quarter.

I looked up the average life span and for most 34nm and 25nm based SSDs, its about 5-7 years. Thats is normally with heavy use as well. In most computers, you don't need to keep something for 5 years like a HDD.
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a c 415 G Storage
May 7, 2011 11:42:53 PM

jimmysmitty said:
I would agree to a point except that now Intel has the 3D trigate tech which may allow them to do stacked NAND chips instead of the regular way.
Intel's Trigate technology isn't about letting them "stack" circuits on a chip - it's a new way of designing the process layers to maximize the junction area of the transistor, which in turn lets them reduce voltages and power. The technology on it's own doesn't reduce the real estate required for a transistor. I don't see this on its own having any impact on flash memory densities. Densities will increase by scaling the process technology down below 25nm - but of course reductions in flash memory cell size have negative impacts on speed and write endurance.

Its possible that the 3D Trigate technology will allow an effectively greater area to store a flash memory static charge, which would mitigate the issues faced by designers when they scale to smaller cell sizes - but I've yet to find any suggestion of that in the announcements I've read.
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a c 312 G Storage
May 9, 2011 1:56:21 PM

Whther it is $00.50 or $00.05 per GB you get the idea.
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a b G Storage
May 9, 2011 4:19:48 PM

SSD capacity increases will also help to circumvent the loss of PE/c as well.
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a b G Storage
May 9, 2011 5:01:48 PM

while i see your point that bleeding edge technology often demands premium prices, most of the pricing schemes are based more on what the developer thinks the device should be worth instead of on any increased price due to manufacturing. if product a and b are $5 different in product cost but product b performs 15% better then the markup could be 50% or more for no reson other than a tiered pricing plan.

also, its not fair to directly compare $/gb from 1984 to present as there are other factors affecting the price. keep in mind that there is a much larger customer base so there is no need to have high prices to cover development. also keep in mind that production costs are likely lower (compared to cost of parts) than they were with the release of the first drives as we already have machinery developed to produce them. another thing to note is that with the advances in technology 10mb is more equal to 3tb in terms of space as these are the larger drives on the market now.

with all this considered, paying $135-150 for 80gb is high (what my sataII vertex 2s go for), considering most ssds (at least in terms of the tech world) are not bleeding edge technology anymore. the only reason people are buying them is because of the increased performance over standard HDDs, but yet most people still rely on standard HDDs for storage because of the high prices.
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a b G Storage
May 9, 2011 5:47:39 PM

that's about the size of it. 2 words sum it right up... PRODUCT PLACEMENT.
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a c 312 G Storage
May 10, 2011 12:25:02 AM

ssddx - I did a little reasearch. Different types of ssd's have been around for over 40 years but the first ssd's that were fairly similar to the ssd's of today became available in 1989. The cost for a 160GB ssd in 1989 was $32,000.00. That works out to $200.00 per GB. Definitely cheaper on a $/GB basis than my first hard disk drive.

BTW - In September 2006 the first ssd review appeared here at Tom's Hardware. It was a review of a Samsung 32GB ssd. Unfortunately Samsung did not provide a price. At the time the cost for flash memory was about $25.00 per GB.
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a b G Storage
May 10, 2011 4:38:03 PM

what we really need to know is how much the components actually cost compared with how much the drive costs retail.

i know flash memory (at retail pricing) for cameras is down to $1.25 or less per gb. i paid $1.65 per gb for my vertex 2s. compare this to the $0.09 i paid per gb for my hdds. theres a huge difference in price between any type of flash media compared to hdds. seeing as how long flash has been around prices should be much lower.

off topic:
the same sort of high pricing scheme can be seen with blank blueray disk media. dvd disks can be had for $0.16 a piece or cheaper while blueray disks are at least $1.60 a disk or more. this is for the LTH disks which re-use machinery that used to make dvds so its not costing them much more.
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August 20, 2012 1:03:59 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
BTW - It took 26 years to for hard disk prices to drop from $35,840.00 to $00.50 per GB. It is a pretty safe bet that the senior citizens among you will be 6 feet under and Hell will freeze over before ssd's match hard drive prices.


It's hasn't even been a year and a half since this thread was posted, and 512GB SSD's are selling for 350 bucks. Compare that to 2TB drives that are still selling over $100 thanks to the shortages in thailand. Factor in that HDD sizes have stagnated since everyone is playing the waiting game with UEFI, and it's easy to see that the numbers are converging way faster than anyone expected
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a c 941 G Storage
August 21, 2012 2:50:09 AM

hey Jonny, Couldnt afford the St-506 when you got the pc? it came out in '80 and was well over $1500 around here. I didnt pick up a harddrive myself until 85 and it was the 10mb st-416 (which came out in 81 according to google).
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a c 312 G Storage
August 21, 2012 3:13:26 AM

popatim - Nope! Couldn't afford it on my military pay. However, I did pay $399.00 for a new thing called EGA - 16 colors on a 12 inch color monitor! Beat the heck out of the ugly green or orange text on a black background. I think pac man was the first game I played in color. wocka wocka wocka wocka......:) 
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August 21, 2012 6:11:30 AM

I'd like to point something out about the SSD's.
The pricing is dropping drastically, my Dad bought a 128gb SSD 6 months ago for $400 and now the average for 128gb SSD's is around $200, think about that now! ;) 
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