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The State Of Solid State: Computex 2015

Introduction

The SSD market moves rapidly and some users want to know what's on the horizon before making a purchase. This is my first State of Solid State editorial here at Tom's Hardware, and it's full of future-looking statements that lay out technology and products just over the horizon, as well as advances that will take shape several product generations from now.

We sat down with engineers, product managers and others in the know at this year's Computex to get a clear picture of what to expect in the second half of 2015. Contrary to recent (misguided) reports, you will not be able to buy a 4TB SSD for $150 anytime soon, and SSDs will not reach price parity with hard drives in the next five years.

SSD prices will continue to decline on a dollar per gigabyte basis. Expect the same sort of controlled decline we've seen in the past. The bottom doesn't just fall out when only a handful of companies control supply to the key component. Historically, the Black Friday holiday shopping season is the time to look for large price reductions, and this year should be the same.

NAND flash accounts for the largest cost of SSDs. This is true for fabs, which is what we call companies that make the NAND flash (Intel/Micron, Toshiba/SanDisk, SK Hynix and Samsung) and third-party customers (Mushkin, Patriot, Kingston and so on). All flash starts out as a wafer, and the easiest way to reduce what an SSD costs is increasing the usable amount of storage density per wafer. The two key words in that statement are usable and density. In the latter half of 2015, both will be addressed. 

  • blackmagnum
    The time is ripe to change your old spinning catastrophe and embrace the now of SSD.
    Reply
  • Vivecss
    So have they fixed the data loss if not connected to electricity for more than a week thing?
    Reply
  • synphul
    Spinning catastrophe? My hdd doesn't perform much slower than my ssd for 90% of tasks, the biggest improvement was installing windows. For that I was impressed. An hdd shouldn't be a catastrophe, if it is I'd strongly suggest a better brand/model. Installed an ssd on a workstation and of all the upgrades it was the component I was least happy with. The new cpu and ram upgrade were by far more impressive. Not that I'm 'unhappy' with it, it is a little snappier though not enough to make me rush right out to buy another one for my other rig. If another 240gb ssd goes on sale for $60 like the first one I bought I might consider it. Pcie m.2 look appealing and great on paper but I suppose it would be of greater benefit to someone who is suffering a bottlenecked system due to storage in the first place.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    So have they fixed the data loss if not connected to electricity for more than a week thing?
    Yes, about 5 years ago.
    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.
    Reply
  • wtfxxxgp
    So have they fixed the data loss if not connected to electricity for more than a week thing?

    I'm so out of touch that I didn't even know that was "a thing"

    O.o
    Reply
  • Vivecss
    So have they fixed the data loss if not connected to electricity for more than a week thing?
    Yes, about 5 years ago.
    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.

    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.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    Spinning catastrophe? My hdd doesn't perform much slower than my ssd for 90% of tasks, the biggest improvement was installing windows. For that I was impressed. An hdd shouldn't be a catastrophe, if it is I'd strongly suggest a better brand/model. Installed an ssd on a workstation and of all the upgrades it was the component I was least happy with. The new cpu and ram upgrade were by far more impressive. Not that I'm 'unhappy' with it, it is a little snappier though not enough to make me rush right out to buy another one for my other rig. If another 240gb ssd goes on sale for $60 like the first one I bought I might consider it. Pcie m.2 look appealing and great on paper but I suppose it would be of greater benefit to someone who is suffering a bottlenecked system due to storage in the first place.

    A $60 240GB SSD is the reason why you don't feel a big performance increase over your HDD.
    Reply
  • WyomingKnott
    "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."

    But how old was the SSD? The model, not the particular one that you own.
    Reply
  • synphul
    It was on sale. At the time, ocz vector 150's were going for $180. It stays neck and neck with the samsung 840 evo (850's weren't even available yet) and the two trade blows a bit. The vector 150 has slightly slower random reads and the samsung has slightly slower write speeds. It was chosen for a workstation doing content creation with larger files where write speed was preferred. Maybe people feel such a huge difference over their hdd's because they're using junk hdd's? My wd re4 gives me no issues. The only time aside from bootup that ssd's seem to have a huge performance gain is during testing where a longer sustained data transfer is occurring. Something most people won't encounter under normal use of a pc, instead it will more than likely operate in small bursts. So technically, it was a $180 ssd using the newer 19nm toshiba nand. Hardly a junk ssd.
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    When you said it I was thinking something along the lines of a V300 with async flash.
    Reply