Solid state drives may finally go mainstream in the form of cache SSDs that are becoming an attractive technology for ultrabooks and possibly similarly thin notebooks that are expected to be pushed by AMD later this year.
IHS believes that shipments will climb from 881,000 units in 2011 to more than 121 million by 2015. 2012 shipments are forecast to soar to 25.7 million cache SSDs, which will complement traditional hard drives. A cache SSD cannot be used as the only mass storage device in a PC, but must be used in combination with a separate HDD.
“Intel is continuing to put its eggs into the ultrabook basket,” said Ryan Chien, research associate for memory & storage at IHS. “From the company’s introduction of the Nikiski reference design, to its announcement that more than 60 additional ultrabook designs will enter the market in time for the 2012 holiday season, Intel at CES showed that Ultrabooks have become the centerpiece of its mobile computing strategy."
Cache SSDs are a critical component of ultrabook design and are likely to extend their reach to competing devices with AMD processors, which will not be called ultrabooks, but provide a similar form factor.
Of the more than 25 million cache SSDs to be shipped this year, about 22 million units will be built into ultrabooks, IHS predicts. While cache SSDs had only a small presence in the storage industry in 2011, the market research firm says their impact in the coming years will become "increasingly significant". The cache drive segment is said to turn into the primary reason behind the mainstreaming of the solid state drives and is forecast to jump to 46 million units this year, up from 17 million in 2011.