A lot of details were filled in at Computex, but the big picture hasn't changed. If you look at any large volume SSD manufacturer right now, you see a three-drive portfolio that includes entry-level, mainstream and premium products. The same offerings will exist moving forward, but many vendors will add two new categories. The classification previously known as mainstream will split into entry-level mainstream and performance-level mainstream. And very low-cost entry-level products will bring the 256GB capacity size down to $50.
Drives like Samsung's 850 Pro and SanDisk's Extreme Pro will come down a tier to create the performance-mainstream category. They'll be joined by entry-level PCIe SSDs similar to Plextor's M6e. More products will quickly fall into this category as SandForce, Phison, Silicon Motion and JMicron release four-channel PCIe controllers. We may even see existing SATA controllers rehashed into new SKUs as the next generation of NAND makes its way onto the market.
The new premium category will be all-PCIe. Samsung's SM951 and Intel's SSD 750 kicked this tier off with a big bang, though we have to recognize the XP941 as the real originator. This is arguably the most exciting place in storage, and the next two years should prove to be the most interesting yet. PCI Express opens the door to a room with an unlimited ceiling. We have four-lane PCIe 3.0 designs now, but that doesn't mean controller manufacturers can't add lanes to increase bandwidth. Before we go that direction, expect to see eight-channel controllers supporting the NVMe protocol and delivering up to 3200 MB/s of sequential read performance. This space will heat up rapidly around Flash Memory Summit, and then turn into a full-blown inferno come CES in January.
Along with lower prices and higher performance, we will also see greater capacities. We didn't bring this up before, but IMFT's 3D NAND will be 256Gb. This doubles the density of the die, which allows 1TB SSDs to become 2TB drives for nearly the same price. One source told us that IMFT 3D flash will be expensive to manufacture, but the flash will appear in client products first. Then, when yields improve, it'll go to the enterprise space.
TLC flash will also usher in higher-capacity SSDs right along with helping reduce the prices of mainstream products. In the coming days, we'll publish a review of the first retail TLC product that doesn't come from Samsung or SanDisk. Others will follow soon after. We expect to see a large number of TLC flash product SKUs before 2016. After next year's CES, most client SSDs will use TLC with only premium products shipping with MLC flash.
SSDs are still no archival media, and they will corrupt after a year or two without power. But if you are the sort of person who travels a lot and unplugs your PC for 2-3 months at a time then it is not a real concern anymore.
I'm so out of touch that I didn't even know that was "a thing"
Really? 5 years ago? Because I've gone on vacation for about a month and my Windows wont even start anymore. And that was about a year ago. Heard a rumor that the 3D stacking technology thing managed to eliminate this problem and i was waiting for some more good news about that before buying a new SSD.
A $60 240GB SSD is the reason why you don't feel a big performance increase over your HDD.
But how old was the SSD? The model, not the particular one that you own.