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Data Storage

SSDs Approaching Price Parity With HDDs (computerworld.com) 272

Lucas123 writes: Hard disk drive per-gigabyte pricing has remained relatively stagnant over the past three years, and prices are expected to be completely flat over at least the next two, allowing SSDs to significantly close the cost gap, according to a new report. The report, from DRAMeXchange, stated that this marks the fourth straight quarter that the SSD price decline has exceeded 10%. Over the past three years, SSDs have dropped from 31 to 13 cents per gig annually. In contrast, from 2012 to 2015, per gigabyte pricing for HDDs dropped just one cent per year from 9 cents in 2012 to 6 cents this year. However, through 2017, the per-gigabyte price of HDDs is expected to remain flat: 6 cents per gigabyte. Consumer SSDs were on average were selling for 99 cents a gigabyte in 2012. From 2013 to 2015, the price dropped from 68 cents to 39 cents per gig, meaning the average 1TB SSD sells for about $390 today. Next year, SSD prices will decline to 24 cents per gig and in 2017, they're expected to drop to 17 cents per gig. That means a 1TB SSD on average would retail for $170, though online prices are often much lower than average vendor retail prices. DRAMeXchange also stated that SSDs are expected to be in 31% of new consumer laptops next year, and by 2017 they'll be in 41%.
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SSDs Approaching Price Parity With HDDs

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  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @08:54AM (#51040115) Journal

    I've seen multiple deals in the last 4 weeks of 1TB (well, 960GB) SSD's ranging near the $200 US mark.
    I'm gonna guess that $350 is the new "expensive" 1TB SSD in 2016, Q1/Q2 and then $200 becomes standard place for the cheapies by end of Q1.

    Multiple articles, quoting multiple manufacturers seem to claim we'll be seeing, VERY large SSD's in less than 24 months and within 5 years, ridiculously big SSD's (in the 80->120TB mark, iirc)

    I'd just like to see an SSD in the 10TB mark, "cheapie" or not, under $300 US within 24 months. My FreeNAs machine is spinning 6x5TB Toshiba 7200RPM disks and it's just gross. The heat, the noise, the failures. Just not fun.

    In other news, Seagate made an interesting announcement, which went under the radar. They announced a plethora of different HDD models (I'm so sick of all the sub-product dilution, but I digress) one of which though was an 8TB NON Helium, NON SMR, NON HAMR tech.
    It's plain, old, regular HDD - no read / re-write / write trickery, no obscure elements required. It's actually a bit of a shock, how long it's taken to release a larger than 6TB disk which works 'normally' The fact this announcement occured in the last month or two and how long ago it was the first 6TB HDD was announced (which didn't require fancy tech) I would have to surprisingly admit that the storage industry is indeed as speculated, moving incredibly rapidly towards ending magnetic drives, they see the writing on the wall and appear to be paying close attention to it.
    (hence stagnated HDD price reductions at the top end, also)

    FWIW: I've hated (and loved) hard disks since my first machine, with a 20MB MFM disk. I still recall the benchmarks. 18ms track to track, 80 or 90ms random reads, 640kb/s sustained (under DOS 6.22)
    I purchased the first consumer 7200RPM disk, I think it was a 9gb or 18gb (?) version of the WD Expert, $600 at the time

    I'll miss HDD's, SSD's have had some real bad stuff go on with them in the past 5 years but considering I plan to utilise them in a NAS eventually, with some redundancy, I'm looking forward to my server cupboard running a bit cooler, quieter and cheaper on electricity

    I still don't understand how 3D Nand works or why it's so much cheaper but I'm glad it exists.

    • Main problem for HDD is that SSD only needs to get below $50 for 256GB drive and nobody (except data centers, database servers and several professional applications) will ever ask about HDD again.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        A 256G drive won't even hold my Steam folder and I'm a Linux user.

      • I just bought a 250GB drive for $55 on Black Friday so expect this to happen by the end of next year.

        Even with that pricing being common, I still think most store bought PCs will continue to using traditional HDDs. Self builds, sure go SSD, but manufactures will try to cut every corner so even if they are a penny cheaper HDDs will be around for a long time.

        That SSD I bought is going into a new Laptop. While shopping the vast majority of them have come at with a sub 1080p display. My 2.5 year old smart ph

    • The problem with SSDs, for me personally, is their catastrophic failure mode. It has to do with the controllers rather than the storage technology, but all the same, when an SSD fails your data is gone - all of it, and you can't retrieve it in any way unless you are a three-letter agency.

      • From my experience with Desktop based drives. HDD seem to be more fragile, So they will have errors and crash after any little detail. Sure you may be able to recover your data and replace the drive, but once it starts going downhill it goes downhill fast and most of the time, it is isn't worth it to try to get the data out of it.
        SSD having no moving parts tend to run a bit better over a longer period of time. But when they go they are gone.

        Either way, if your data is that important you should have a backu

    • by dargaud ( 518470 )
      Is it this one [newegg.com] ?
    • by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:16AM (#51041093)

      Back in the days of CP/M my dad splurged on a RAM disk. A 1 MByte RAM disk, no less, with a Ni-Cd battery backup on a daughtercard. The disk was visible to the OS as 4 256kB disks. It was sheer joy to work using that thing - think instant WordStar saves and menu switches (overlays had to load from disk!). When we moved to a PC/XT clone, I re-interfaced that disk and had "instant" boot-ups, much faster than even the half-height 20MB NEC hard drive would give. I'm awaiting for the future to catch up with the past where we'll be able to get rid of mechanical drives. It's about time. I got spoiled in my youth, you see.

      Side note: This thing was a work of art, with properly engineered battery charger where each cell was individually charged using a flying capacitor kind of a set-up - the cells lasted for almost a decade.

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      meanwhile you can get a 4tb for half that price and a 1tb 4 a quarter of that price using mechanical hard drives

      add in the 2 SSD's I have bought shit the bed 3 years into their life and I still have maxtors and quantiums from the late 80's still working fine, still the only advantage is speed, which is a moot point considering a properly setup amd A-X2 can still boot to a windows desktop before my cheap ass acer screen turns off its logo and my i7 loads everything except the largest of games instantly

    • I still don't understand how 3D Nand works or why it's so much cheaper but I'm glad it exists.

      Why, you know, your bits can just Get Perpendicular! [youtube.com]

      (Actually, 3D Nand doesn't work this way at all. But this Hitachi video still has to go down as one of the most entertaining and ridiculous explanations of new ways to cram bits in. It's common to do stuff like this today, I suppose, but in 2005, this kind of video release was pretty awesome.)

    • I'd just like to see an SSD in the 10TB mark, "cheapie" or not, under $300 US within 24 months. My FreeNAs machine is spinning 6x5TB Toshiba 7200RPM disks and it's just gross. The heat, the noise, the failures. Just not fun.

      Do you really need to store your porn stash on a RAID array?

  • No they're not. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @08:56AM (#51040127)

    I had to replace my computer's failing spinning HD recently, and a trip to Microcenter cost me this:
      $100 for a 250GB SSD
    and $40 for a 1TB spinning HD.

    Same manufacturer, and both were best in class prices. I think parity is a ways off yet...

  • BS (Score:5, Informative)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @08:56AM (#51040129)

    Retail pricing for HDD's is already below $.03/GB, 8TB drives can be had for $230.

    • Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I rarely (never?) purchase HD space at retail. External 4/5/6 TB hard drives are hovering around $25/terabyte when on sale (which is fairly frequently). 8s, as you noted, are getting close to that. There's a limit to how low the price for a new drive can go - they typically bottom out at $40-50 no matter how small the capacity is. The 2-4TB drives are falling quickly toward that range, which means the 8s will start taking the low-$100 spot next year (Though perhaps late

      • I think it's questionable if a pure spinning-disk HD or SSD is the "future". Consider that Media storage demands have escalated
        rapidly in a very short time. We also have a huge variance in display technology now.

        5120x2880 == 14745600 pixels
        1600x 900 === 1440000 pixels

        A sample png image with the dimensions 1600x900 takes up ~350KB on disk and 4.12MB in Memory.

        An image that fits the new screens will be at least 3.5MB. Camera resolutions are also up around that 5K monitor size.
        To display an image that w

    • Here is what you do not realize.

      As economies of scale cheapen SSD's the same economies of scale raise the price of HDD's as less people purchase them.

      There will come a time when a new R&D investment will not make much business sense anymore. True today they are still cheaper but if we had a graph showing the trends you will see a point.

  • editing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @08:57AM (#51040131)

    > Over the past three years, SSDs have dropped from 31 to 13 cents per gig annually

    What in the fuck does this mean? Does anyone even read these or is a bot posting them?

    • Hard to tell. My interpretation is that prices have dropped somewhere between 31 and 13 cents per year over the last three years. So one of the three years saw a 31 cent drop, another of the three years saw a 13 cent drop, and another of the three years saw a drop somewhere in between.
  • "approaching" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fche ( 36607 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @08:58AM (#51040141)

    ... not in the sense that they are close, only that they're getting less far. Current retail price for TBish HDDs is on the order of $0.06/GB; TFA for SSD is $0.39/GB, about six times as much.

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      Yes exactly. Prices have been approaching for a few years, and will continue to approach for a few years. I don't get why this is a story right now. This is interesting when the difference really is close to parity. Right now a 2TB HDD is cheap, and a 2TB SSD is not.

      Poorly written story too, just quoting numbers left, right, and centre.

      • Re:"approaching" (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Beezlebub33 ( 1220368 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @10:05AM (#51040549)

        Poorly written story too, just quoting numbers left, right, and centre.

        And would it fucking kill them to put a graph there? this line is the price per gig for HDD and this line is for SSD. See, they are getting closer. That's the article.

        • by Malc ( 1751 )

          Yeah no kidding... from this we might easily be able to visualise or interpolate the point/time where SSD and HDD pricing does actually approach parity.

        • by wings ( 27310 )

          Assuming a picture is worth 1000 words, showing graphs would mean the the article wasn't necessary. How would the poor writer ever get paid?

    • Should have been: SSD parity still long way: HDD expected to be still 3X cheaper in 2017!
      (The post speaks of 17 cent/GB for SSD and 6 cents/GB for HDD)

  • What's the MTBF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @09:02AM (#51040165)

    How long do SDDs last now? That's basically all that keeps them from replacing HDDs by now.

    • There's not much to worry. SSDs last just fine unless you write to them constantly with full speed. Remember Tech Report's SSD endurance test?
      • My old Intel X25-m SSD is 6 years old, and the Intel SSD utility says that it has 99% of its life remaining. I have not had a single SSD fail on me yet. My 4 year old Samsung 830 pro also says it has 99% of its lifetime remaining. Those two drives combined have written well over 20 TB of data. Even my Samsung 840 pro which is only 2 years old has written 7.3 TB of data. I have had many platter hard drives fail on me, some within a week or two of purchase. I trust SSDs more for continual use, but my backup d

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        That hasn't been my experience. I'm considering them for backup storage, and I've had SSD's die without warning, apparently from being removed from power for too long. Not acceptable for a backup.

        OTOH, what I'm talking about were thumb drives. But why should I think other removable SSDs would be different?

    • Was MTBF actually a problem with SSDs? I've heard people worry about write endurance and crappy firmware but I was under the impression that MTBF - essentially mechanical/electrical failures - were heavily in SSDs favor.

    • Well, that and the price difference.

      Want a 500gb SSD? Can't get one for below £100 here. Want a 500Gb HDD? Can't get one for over £40.

      They're "approaching" parity like Antarctica is approaching South America.

      in 2017, they're expected to drop to 17 cents per gig

      which is still 3x higher than current HDD prices.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

      Not as long as your average HDD does and with the race to the bottom? Its only gonna get worse.

      The reason why many drives were so high in 2012 is most were SLC while today its pretty damned hard to find anything other than enterprise that isn't MLC, in fact I don't think a single manufacturer makes an SSD that is SLC for the consumer market anymore. Whats worse is as they keep adding bits to MLC to both increase capacity and lower cost the MTBF for each cell just plummets and on its best day with perfect co

      • Oh, I'm sure they will sell the same user-capacity drive with a higher MTBF rate (and higher cost) as a "prosumer" product. How?? Same technology, feature, etc, only difference is they'll stamp more chips on board to be used a transparent spare cells as they die out; thus extending the life.

        It's a dirty bolt-on solution to extending MTBF, but that's exactly what will happen.

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        For most users, there is no warning. They absolutely can't recognize the behavior of their failing hard drive. My neighbors, two very wonderful ladies, have an iMac with a hard drive that has been failing and getting worse over the last year or so. They don't see a problem, while I cringe every time I visit them and hear the poor thing do a head cycle if they happen to be using it. The error counts are off the rails, I'm surprised it still works.

        So, well, in practice, for 99% of the market, the progressive

        • For most users, there is no warning

          There was a study from Google a while ago looking at hard disk failure modes. Very short summary: SMART errors generally indicate that a drive is about to fail, lack of SMART errors in no way indicates that a drive is not about to fail. Large numbers of spinning rust drives fail abruptly with no warning. Some do give warnings, but often it's too late for anything other than recovering the data from a RAID array - by the time you see user errors, the drive is likely to already have stored corrupted sector

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        It's not just hard disk drives. On any digital camera or smartphone forum, you'll find hundreds of questions about how to recover data from a blown flash memory card.

        There were problems back in the 1990's with Ethernet boards using flash memory for the MAC address. These cost around $1000, and had the MAC address stored on a flash chip that was written to by a DOS utility program when the PC started up. The only problem was that these flash chips burnt out quickly after 10,000 power up cycles. In theory, ev

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        SSD endurance is fine. All good brands last a long time [techreport.com] and even the supposedly cheap and short lifespan Samsung TLC drives last well beyond what most people will ever get out of them. [anandtech.com]

        SSDs don't see to be any worse than HDDs, and for laptops that get moved around a lot are probably even more durable.

    • There is still the concern about write cycle limits on SSDs but they are a lot more reliable than HDDs. If you can no longer write to an SSD you simply replace it and move your data to a new disk. If an HDD fails it's usually a mechanical failure of something like the head actuator and all of the data is gone. By the time your SSD wears out, you'll be able to buy a replacement of the same size for probably a dollar. Or they will be given away at trade shows. If your writes are really so heavy that you
  • No not really.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @09:21AM (#51040259) Homepage

    1TB SSD $400.00
    1TB HDD $89.00

    Call me when a 1TB SSD is $98.00 a REAL one from a reputable brand not the remarked B stock crap from ADATA or Happy-Fun SSD

    • 1TB SSD $400.00

      There must be a mistake, Apple charged me +$300.00 for +256GB SSB in a Macbook.

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      $377 [macsales.com], and that's from OWC, not exactly the cheapest outfit out there. The cheapest 1TB SSD currently runs for $323 [newegg.com]...

    • And the only circumstances under which I can see not wanting to pay that $300 is ultra-cheap consumer hardware. HDDs have a terrible failure mode (heads crash onto the platters stripping off the magnetic surface destroying data). SSDs just tell you that you have to get a new one but you can read all of your data. If you are looking at very low-end hardware, just get a smaller disk and use cloud storage. If you're actually doing something of value with the equipment, $300 really isn't enough to even blin
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Price is one thing. Suitability is another. I'm willing to accept that SSDs are excellent cache storage, and in that application their increased speed justifies the larger price. But what I'm looking for is durable backup capability, and so far SSDs don't seem to fit the picture even at half or less the price of usb HDs. Their failure is to sudden and too complete. If DVDs weren't so small I wouldn't even be looking at them.

      FWIW, I was told at one point that SSDs tend to loose their contents over time

  • What kind of moron writes these articles?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Morons that work for a magazine that sells advert space as its business model. Or in today's world, a clickbait site.

  • Way cheaper (Score:4, Informative)

    by zmooc ( 33175 ) <zmoocNO@SPAMzmooc.net> on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @09:28AM (#51040317) Homepage

    I don't know where these guys get their disks but my last one cost me 4 cents per gigabyte (converted from euros) and prices down to 3 cents per gigabyte can easily be found. My disk was a 6tb one for 240 euros. Equivalent SSD storage capacity would cost me about 2000 to 4000 euros depending on how many SSD drives I am prepared to fit in my computer case. We're nowhere near price parity.

  • by sabbede ( 2678435 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @09:57AM (#51040509)

    Over the past three years, SSDs have dropped from 31 to 13 cents per gig annually.

    How exactly does it drop from 31 to 13 cents every year? Does the price go back up every Jan 1st?

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @11:47AM (#51041333) Homepage

      They meant to say:

      Over the past three years, SSD prices have dropped between 31 cents per gig annually and 13 cents per gig annually.

      They mean that the amount of the drop varies. The maximum drop seen was 31 cents, and the minimum drop seen was 13 cents. I had to read the summary 3 times to figure out what they meant.

    • They were providing rates of change, not starting and ending positions. It took me several re-reads before I understood that too, since my first thought was "If SSDs dropped to $0.13/GB, I'd have thought I'd have noticed, because they've been slowly pushing past the $0.30/GB mark for most of this last year".

  • Even with the price coming down, have SSDs managed the same write cycle count as HDDs? I am asking, since I was last recommended to keep with HDDs for jobs which required a lot of disk writes. Has this changed?

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I'm aware of at least two endurance tests of SSDs that showed write endurance greatly exceeding expectations:

      http://techreport.com/review/2... [techreport.com]

      This one was widely reported on Slashdot and other sites.

      http://packet.company/blog/?ca... [packet.company]

      This one was more recent and I haven't seen it show up here or elsewhere, but it's moderately more interesting because it's a newer Samsung 850 Pro 1 TB and it didn't fail until after 7 PB of writes.

      Now, there's all kinds of problems with these tests as being not exactly definiti

      • One other thing, would putting an SSD into an external enclosure, connected via USB3, still outperform an HDD in the same enclosure?

  • Apples and Oranges (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trevelyan ( 535381 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @10:34AM (#51040739)
    For the same size SSD and advertised bus speed, there is already a huge price performance variance. SSDs vary greatly in both IO operations per second and total IO operations (lifetime).

    There are SSDs that have worse IOPS than a HDD, but in most cases HDDs cann't touch SSD IOPS specs.

    On the other side: A great SSD might have a better lifetime (IO operation total) than a cheap HDD; however it is still to be proven that an SSD could match a quality HDD in lifetime.

    Whenever these price comparisons come up, I get the feeling that there is a huge bias in favour of the statement that article wants to make. i.e. If its about the falling price of SSDs, then compare a low spec SSD with a high spec HDD. If you want to argue for HDD, do the reverse.

    As things stands both have their place, and you should be careful about what you buy in both cases. e.g. WD-Green for laptop, but WD-Red for a NAS (yes there is a difference). For SSDs only my budget would force me to buy an EVO instaed of an EVO Pro. (I only mention WD and Samsung to be able to give concrete examples).

    In my (humble) opinion neither SSD nor HDD will be able to replace the other, before some other storage technology comes along and blows them both away. Although that tech might be a descendant of one or the other (memristor? crystal/optical?).
    • e.g. WD-Green for laptop, but WD-Red for a NAS (yes there is a difference)

      In firmware. Variable RPM, head parking/load cycles, read or write optimized caching/buffering, etc...? All set in the firmware. Platters of spinning metal and heads are platters of spinning metal and heads.

      How's about selling me a drive and providing an fscking utility to tweak the settings as needed for whatever application the end-user deems fit. I don't care if they sell a bunch of drives with preconfigured settings for common usage, but let me tweak them as I desire for my use case.

  • "Consumer SSDs were on average were selling"

  • I saw a well-reviewed 120GB SSD on Amazon this week for less than $45. You can get less-well-reviewed models for as little as $29, though the SSD reputation makes you want to think hard about that. Still, even at $45, there's no excuse anymore for not using an SSD for at least the boot drive.
  • The mind still boggles at that phrase. The first disk drive I ever bought was in 1986, when prices first broke the $10 per *megabyte* barrier.

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2015 @10:53AM (#51040917)

    The Big Switchover will occur when, and only when, we can get SSDs to fail read-only.

    • by AcquaCow ( 56720 )

      Fusion-io did that 5 years ago with their pci-e flash cards. The drives were very vocal about any trauma they might have suffered and would drop into a reduced write mode if you didn't heed the warnings in order to get your attention... if you still ignored them, they would go read only and you'd be forced to copy your data off.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I really don't understand Intel's attitude to this. When the write counter gets to a certain level the drive goes read-only, and after a power cycle is bricked. You can't even read it any more. It's stupid because it's not based on running out of spare sectors or anything like that, just a counter that tracks how many bytes were written to it.

      I can appreciate that Intel no longer has faith in the drive after a certain number of TB written, and wants to put the drive into read-only mode. Fine, but why brick

  • I can buy a 3T drive on Amazon for $85. That is less than 3 cents per Gig.

  • I once had a disagreement with someone with regards to the security of SSDs versus rotating magnetic media: I was saying that you can use something like Eraser or sdelete to overwrite every block of an SSD, and the person I was disagreeing with claimed that 'wouldn't do anything' and it was impossible to completely erase an SSD; would someone please clear that up for me? I can't see how writing random data to every block of an SSD woudl fail to securely erase it.

    But on that same subject: an SSD is more tim

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