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Data Storage Upgrades Technology

SSD Won't Make Sense In Laptops For Two Years 326

kgagne writes "While solid state disk drives can vastly improve random read performance and are perfectly suited to most mobile devices, many operations are sequential in laptops and desktops and involve writes where SSDs most often lose to magnetic hard disk drives in performance. While introducing multi-channel flash memory controllers and interleaving the NAND flash chips increases performance, it will still be about two years before the cost versus benefit ratio will make sense to install SSD in your laptop or desktop PC, according to a Computerworld story. '"I think you need to get to 128GB for around $200, and that's going to happen around 2010. Also, the industry needs to effectively communicate why consumers or enterprise users should pay more for less storage," says Joseph Unsworth, an analyst at Gartner Inc.'"
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SSD Won't Make Sense In Laptops For Two Years

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  • I completely agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @10:04PM (#24788855)
    The small increase in performance isn't worth the several hundred in cost it would add to my laptops. I bought my laptop for $650, and a better HD just isn't worth increasing that to nearly $1000. YMMV.
  • by dindi ( 78034 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @10:14PM (#24788957)

    Well, I use Linux/Windows as my servers, and use a Mac mini/G5 as my development environment, and even though I do now own an SSD laptop I know it makes sense.

    Uses less power and can be dropped. My laptop is a macbook (not pro) and I know it is overkill with what I do with it, so a macbook AIR would be just the right thing to do if it had the correct pricing with SSD. But it doesn't, at least not for me.

    No optical drive, limited HDD? I do not really care. For my visits to clients (of web projects) could be done on a 5 year old crap (if it wasn't windows and had a battery live of 10 minutes) so for me an AIR would be just fine.

    Ohh... does it makes sense on WINTEL? Do not know how Vista runs on an SSD and if you have any space on a 64GIG drive after installing VISTA. Not flaming, I really do not know.

    I know, that if I had to travel more I would get an AIR with SSD, and it would perfectly satisfy my multimedia needs (just grab those 4-5 movies to HDD for the flight and you are set).

    Just my 2c, but I am a (mostly web) developer, so all you sales people and myltimedia freaks might have a different viewpoint about the whole fuss.......

  • battery life? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigdavex ( 155746 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @10:16PM (#24788973)

    I think people are willing to pay a premium for extended battery life. If I can use my device more, it has more utility.

  • by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @10:19PM (#24789001)
    I'm afraid they'll want to take my Eee PC back if they hear that.
  • Ah...No. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by actionbastard ( 1206160 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @10:27PM (#24789065)
    "I think you need to get to 128GB for around $200"

    The price needs to drop below equivalent rotational-based technology -currently $42.00 for 160GB- in order for it to become 'cost effective' to change.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 28, 2008 @10:36PM (#24789165)

    "16GB for data is plenty for almost anybody."

    Hahaha oh wow

  • Re:Ah...No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ottffssent ( 18387 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @10:44PM (#24789239)

    Sure. If speed, durability, power, and acoustics are valueless to you.

    For the rest of us, SSDs are worth a premium. The amount of that premium depends on the user and workload.

    However, given the success of WD's Raptor line of drives, I would suggest that there's certainly a segment of the population who needs or thinks it needs faster rather than larger disk. And further that this segment is sufficiently large to support a business.

    It's not just database users who are buying fast SSDs (which can hit 200MB/sec read and >100MB/sec write these days), and prices are plunging as a result.

  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @10:53PM (#24789319) Homepage Journal

    I thought many of those hyped benefits haven't panned out, or are taken out of proportion. Power consumption even on a good drive isn't significantly lot lower, the real-world speed generally isn't there yet, and the noise? I think first you'll need to deal with CPU power consumption. Notebook hard drives consume 1-2 watts of power, standard notebook CPUs go for 30W. Then there's the fan that's needed to cool the CPU. I personally don't need silent, and I am not really bothered by the noise a good computer emits, the noise level is so low that the money is much better spent on sound treatments for the house or quieter appliances.

  • $200? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davidpfarrell ( 562876 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @10:55PM (#24789337) Homepage

    Maybe its just me, but I fully expect 128GB SSD to go for much less than $200 by the end of 2010.

    How much HDD space will you be able to buy by that time for $200? I'd say easily 10-15x capacity.

    I feel like TFA is trying to set you up to accept higher prices on the hardware for a longer period of time.

    SSD is merging onto the superhighway that is Moore's Law for HDD and I can't see settling for lower capacity and higher prices for more than another year or so.

  • Re:battery life? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trum4n ( 982031 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @11:01PM (#24789389)
    I just get a bigger battery. Its cheaper than a SSD, and i don't drop laptops. If i drop my laptop, i deserve to be without.
  • by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @11:04PM (#24789409)

    SHHH! if we cant convince rich idiots to buy these things en masse we dont have to wait as long before they are useful.

  • by Miseph ( 979059 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @11:14PM (#24789491) Journal

    Yeah, actually it is. And if it isn't, you can just swap out one for another. Or you could store your hundreds of hours of anime you only watch once a year on a big ol' external HDD. Heck, you could probably just let it live in the BitTorrent cloud where you got it all in the first place; it's not like you'll never have broadband again.

  • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Thursday August 28, 2008 @11:16PM (#24789511)
    Ever try to torrent something that isn't popular? Yeah. That's why you keep a local copy.
  • Advertising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cybereal ( 621599 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @11:31PM (#24789637) Homepage

    Also, the industry needs to effectively communicate why consumers or enterprise users should pay more for less storage," says Joseph Unsworth, an analyst at Gartner Inc.


    Seriously, solid state electronics, even after years and years of being around them as an early 80's baby, still just seems like magic to me. I can't wait to get rid of every little motor whine in my computing world, even if it's another 10 years, that will be a happy day to have a powerful computer without any moving parts.

  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Thursday August 28, 2008 @11:45PM (#24789743) Homepage Journal

    I'm typing this on an ASUS eeePC 901. It gets quite a bit better battery life than the comparable MSI Wind, mostly because it uses an SSD drive.

    How is that possibly a good comparison? There are many possible variables. The screens are different, the batteries are different, and who knows how many other differences there may be on the board, in the power regulators and what not, even if it might use the same CPU. You need to try both kinds of drives in the same system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2008 @12:37AM (#24790155)

    Let's see.

    For a 1TB hard drive you would need 200+ DVDs.
    1TB drive is $150, 200 DVDs would be about $120.

    I think I'd rather just spend the extra $30 and get the hard drive since it's much faster, takes less physical space, is rewritable and I don't have to go digging around stacks of discs.

    People who say that 16GB is enough are naive. It might be enough *for you*, but your needs don't represent everyone else's needs. For example, I own enough CDs to fill 30GB worth of space in MP3 compressed format. I own enough DVDs to fill 100GB if I compress each film down to only 1GB each. I work with image files that take 200-300MB for each master copy. I work with audio projects that take 500-1000MB each. The average size of a modern game is 5-10GB. Windows XP takes 4-5GB (while Vista takes about 15GB). Do you see where this is going?

    So no, 16GB is FAR from enough space.

  • by master5o1 ( 1068594 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @12:54AM (#24790265) Homepage
    You do know that this is a nerd infested website. You can never get enough data storage.
  • by Alarindris ( 1253418 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @01:18AM (#24790427)

    Also, the industry needs to effectively communicate why consumers or enterprise users should pay more for less storage

    For the consumers, or average Joe, there is no reason to pay more for less storage.

    The trade off is reliability. For 99%, if not more of the people using pc's today, a generic 120gb hd does the job just fine. On my desktop, I've never had any of the 3 hard drives fail in the last 12 years that I've been using them, or any time before that for that matter.

    From a fundamental electronics standpoint, SSD is amazing. It's what I dreamed of making in the early 80's when I was first turned on to electronics by ham radio and Apple //.

    As TFA states, it's not practical for now other than USB drives, which is fine. I just hope the development of these devices continue to recieve funding, because in the long run, it will be a boon to the PC industry.

  • by eebra82 ( 907996 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @01:51AM (#24790609) Homepage
    It is good to see that the typical computer is closer to getting rid of moving parts. Currently we have HDDs, CD/DVD/BR/HDDVD players and fans. We know that the SSDs are replacing the HDDs and that the players will be wiped out by the internet, wireless and memory sticks. Now we just need something feasible to replace the damn fans to get the first true consumer notebook with no moving parts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:04AM (#24790707)
    wasn't we talking about laptops? or you are planning to do video editing on the eee pc?
    as the parent said, 16+16gb is more than enough for a portable, if you use the damn thing as a portable! the term you are searching for is desktop replacement. and even there most 2.5 drives have insane price/size/performance characteristic, so I normally use a 500g esata drive to all my desktop replacement needs.
  • by Urkki ( 668283 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @02:10AM (#24790745)

    There's no good reason for your SSD to come perfectly honest about that either.

    Is there a reason for it not to?

    How about providing a consistent interface to the software driver? Do you *really* want solid state disks that all require a different driver? Sort of like current video hardware, which is plagued by buggy drivers, missing specs of the chip, missing open source drivers...

    I'd much rather have a standard interface, so that when I buy a disk, I know it'll work.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @09:31AM (#24793497) Homepage Journal

    Reliability and data protection may be more important.

    What I'd love in a portable device where performance wasn't the overriding factor:

    1) Temporary files stored on a media that doesn't wear out, e.g. RAM or HD
    2) Permanent files that are not confidential stored on a media that's resistant to shock. Accelerometers help but silicon generally wins here.
    3) Confidential files that are in a "2-part" format. This could mean an encryption key on a dongle, or it could mean encrypted files with some of the bytes on a removable media.

    A two-bank silicon "drive" in a RAID-0-like format with one of the memory devices removable greatly increases security even if the data is not encrypted. If it is encrypted or even compressed using certain algorithms, it won't even be partially recoverable without both pieces. This is also provides "two-key" or even "3-key" access for sensitive operations: One person has the laptop, one person has the external half of the data, and a 3rd person has the encryption keys.

    This also gets around the "search your laptop at ports of entry" problem - if one person carries the laptop, and the other half of the data is sent by courier or electronically, there's not much to search. Of course, this doesn't have to be a 50/50 proposition, with encrypted data it could be 90/10 or even 99.99/0.01, with the small part shipped over the wire and downloaded to a hotel courtesy computer and put on a USB key.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @09:43AM (#24793671) Journal
    For a lot of people, a laptop is their primary (even only) computer. Laptop sales passed desktop sales last year and so that isn't going to change any time soon. For most people having a laptop and a desktop makes no sense - you spend far too much effort keeping files synchronised between the two. Just keeping everything on your laptop makes a lot more sense because then it's always with you. The only people who really need a desktop these days are the ones doing a lot of gaming, and a lot of these are buying a console and a laptop instead of a desktop and a laptop, since it's cheaper. The other people buying desktops are the ones who find laptops too expensive for the performance they need, but this set is going to get smaller every year since economies of scale are shifting from desktop to laptop parts.
  • by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Friday August 29, 2008 @10:04AM (#24793975)

    wasn't we talking about laptops? or you are planning to do video editing on the eee pc?

    Contrary to popular belief, not every laptop is an eee pc.

    as the parent said, 16+16gb is more than enough for a portable, if you use the damn thing as a portable!

    If you use the damn thing the way you use a damn portable. Which probably means "for nothing particularly useful".

    Lots of people here have jobs which require their laptops to be a portable workstation. That means both speed and size of the harddisk are important.

    A co-worker just got a new laptop with SSD, and it boots Windows in about 2 seconds. I assure you there are many situations where that's well worth the money.

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