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Data Storage Technology

Will 2009 Be the Turning Point For SSDs? 290

Iddo Genuth writes "Since first entering the consumer market about two years ago, solid state drives (SSDs) have improved significantly. While prices remain substantially higher than conventional magnetic storage, it is predicted that in 2009 SSDs will finally make an impact on both the consumer and business markets bringing blazing fast speeds at reasonable prices for the first time — will it finally happen?" It seems likely, as Samsung began mass-producing both 128GB and 256GB SSDs this year. Intel and Micron have also posted recent breakthroughs which will help to bring the technology into the mainstream.
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Will 2009 Be the Turning Point For SSDs?

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  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:19AM (#26101481) Homepage
    For laptops at least. There is no reason to not to have an SSD in your laptop.
  • by theaveng ( 1243528 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:37AM (#26101545)

    Riiiight. And the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Wii part 2 will abandon discs in favor of cartridges again. Just our of curiosity I looked-up how much it would cost to replace my standard disk drive:

    300 GB disk drive - I spent $90.

    256 GB solid state - $7,426 to $9,125 online


    This is why Nintendo 64 and Nintendo DS cartridges never grew larger than 0.3 gigabytes, and why for the Cube and Wii they abandoned the solid state cartridge in favor of discs. Discs are simpler and therefore cheaper.

  • Limited writes (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @06:45AM (#26101581)

    What would bother me more than the high price is the limited number of writes.
    Sure, there are ways to limit writes to the disk, like disable swapping and delaying writes whenever possible, but I would still rather go with a reliable HDD over a SDD.
    I never dropped one of my notebooks until today, but then again I never had one that looked like a toy...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:00AM (#26101623)

    If by "price competitive" you mean "equal $/GB," that day is far off. But if you mean "reasonable size and comparable write speed for less than $200," then that day will come in 2009 or 2010 for a lot of people, since many of us can get by fine with only 128GB.

  • Re:No, they won't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bob8766 ( 1075053 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:05AM (#26101641)
    It won't be long before SSD drives are cheaper than conventional drives. An SSD drive is mostly a bunch of memory sandwiched together. A conventional drive has complex precision moving parts with motors, platters, heads, etc. Manufacturing costs on SSDs will be almost nothing when the scales get a bit smaller and they go into mass production.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:22AM (#26101683)

    I'm looking for a SSD cache driver for windows. I would like to have a hd-driver for vista which uses another harddisc (SSD) as a cache for other (spinning) harddiscs. My working set (including the OS) is probably below 32GByte, so a fast 64GByte SSD driver should be enough for general use. As I still have a lot of data (around 1TBype) which is only occasioaly used, a caching driver which usses a SSD would be the ideal solution.

    Does anybody know such a software(driver)? I'm willing to pay, no need for open source...

  • by shirai ( 42309 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @07:24AM (#26101685) Homepage

    Using an SSD in a desktop is an affordable fantastic upgrade if you configure it like this:

    * A small 32 GB SSD as your main drive for software
    * A larger (perhaps terabyte) hard drive as your data drive
    * Configure My Documents (or your home directory) to the terabyte drive.

    I found a good performing MOBI SSD driving for $220 for 32 GB. My computer boots in 30 seconds from power on. Everything is snappier and starts faster (especially Eclipse) and as a bonus, my data drive is nice and clean.

    As a bonus, OS reinstalls can be done without affecting any of your data because it sits on a separate drive. This wasn't the intended reason for splitting the data but it has a nice organizational side effect.

    Actually, I've only used around 14 GB of space on my SSD but I wanted at least 32 GB so I didn't have to worry about it.

    One thing I did notice though was that writes were slower. The specs on the drive didn't show that to be the case but for some reason my database writes happened at half the speed during my test units. Random reads on the other hand (e.g. bootup and software loading) happen incredibly fast. For this reason, the split between installed software and data makes even more sense since loading software is made mostly of random reads and no writes.

  • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @09:20AM (#26102127) Journal

    When the helical fluorescent tubes that screw into regular lamp sockets came out, they were a flop. They cost $15 to $20. Despite being longer lasting than the equivalent dollar amount of incandescent bulbs, people didn't see them as a significant improvement. In one study group, a subject gave a remark that summed up their reticence: "This solves a problem I don't have."

    So it is with SSD. It'll have to be enough cheaper than magentic storage and appear to be long lived enough so that people can overcome their unwillingness to switch from something that works just fine. Specs don't matter to the average user. Not getting stuck with an orphan matters far more. That point remains unproven. Thus SSDs do not solve a problem, but present one of their own. If and when both of these change, they'll be accepted.

  • Re:No, they won't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Saturday December 13, 2008 @11:10AM (#26102737) Journal

    You're right. If you need 1 TB of storage, you won't be buying an SSD soon.

    Last I looked, programs were still getting bigger, not smaller. A download of java, eclipse and all the available plugins runs ~2 gigs. That's a serious chunk of real estate out of a 64g SSD, but peanuts for a 500g laptop hd at the same price. Plus, when the disk gets full, you can always pop it out, buy another 500g drive, reinstall your fav. distros' latest release, and you still have all your data intact, and your previous release, that you can fall back onto with a screwdriver and a minute's work.

    Do you really want to try upgrading the OS an almost full 64g SSD? It'll probably fail, no matter what OS you have on it.

    64 gigs isn't enough any more. my laptops' / partition holds 48 gigs (80 gigs still free), and my /home takes up 80 gigs (78 still free). And no, I don't have movies on it ... just programs and data.

    When opensuse 11.1 comes out, I'm configuring my laptop as an installation server - it'll be easier to upgrade the other boxes locally - but that will also eat up a lot of disk space, since some of the machines (including the lappy) need the development libraries and header files for c/c++ development.

    5 years ago, the idea of using a laptop as an installation server would have been laughable - not enough disk space - but now they really are desktop replacements, and more energy-efficient, to boot. The marginal improvement in speed (and only in some cases) from an SSD doesn't cut it. When I find my laptop no longer does the job, I'll just buy another laptop. By then, hard drives will probably come with 32 or 64 meg of cache, which will eliminate any speed advantage from a 64meg SSD.

  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Saturday December 13, 2008 @02:36PM (#26104515)
    You know, I wouldn't be too upset if they went to using USB drives. I would let my kids and friends handle USB drives. Extra double bonus if the games would work through a standard USB hub. That way, you don't even have to worry about the socket on the game system breaking. you just have your kids plug into the hub. Plus, you could put the game system up high or hidden away, and only have the USB hub down low and visible.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein