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Data Storage The Almighty Buck Hardware Technology

Laptop SSD Capacity To Remain Flat As NAND Flash Dearth Causes Prices To Rise (computerworld.com) 167

Lucas123 writes from a report via Computerworld: Laptop manufacturers aren't likely to offer higher capacity standard SSDs in their machines this year as a shortage of NAND flash is pushing prices higher this year. At the same time, nearly half of all laptops shipped this year will have SSDs versus HDDs, according to a new report from DRAMeXchange. The contract prices for multi-level cell (MLC) SSDs supplied to the PC manufacturing industry for those laptops are projected to go up by 12% to 16% compared with the final quarter of 2016; prices of triple-level cell (TLC) SSDs are expected to rise by 10% to 16% sequentially. "The tight NAND flash supply and sharp price hikes for SSDs will likely discourage PC-[manufacturers] from raising storage capacity," said Alan Chen, a senior research manager of DRAMeXchange. "Therefore, the storage specifications for mainstream PC [...] SSDs are expected to remain in the 128GB and 256GB [range]."
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Laptop SSD Capacity To Remain Flat As NAND Flash Dearth Causes Prices To Rise

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  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:27PM (#54033845)

    They're still using 5400 RPM HDDs in their low-end-yet-too-expensive Macs.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      And Dell,Acer,HP,ASUS,lenovo are doing the exact same thing.

      In fact almost NO stock laptop comes with a high end drive installed. Even the alienware Laptops come with low end hard drives and the first thing you do is swap them out. Buddy of mine just bought one and immediately removed the drive to replace it with a WD black.

    • They're still using 5400 RPM HDDs in their low-end-yet-too-expensive Macs.

      I know you're being snarky, but it's worth pointing out that the Macs you're mentioning are outliers. To get a sense for the trend across their product line:
      - 2010 was the first year they launched a Mac with no HDD option at all (MacBook Air)
      - 2012 was the last year they launched a laptop with HDDs as an option (MacBook Pro)
      - 2015 was the last year they launched a desktop with HDDs as an option (iMac)

      So, to say the least, it's pretty clear which direction the winds are blowing. Of the Macs that haven't been

  • by thegreatbob ( 693104 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @08:56PM (#54033947) Journal
    Is it more reasonable to assume that the markets have legitimately drained the supply, or that the whole industry is keeping a lid on it? SSDs seem to have become nigh ubiquitous on the convertible laptop/tablets, and an extremely common upgrade for even low-end laptops... Also, older news on this (i see things dating from Q4'16) offered the suggestion that relief might be coming by now. https://www.theregister.co.uk/... [theregister.co.uk]

    At any rate, let's just hope that as many manufacturers as possible survive as long as possible to avoid establishing one of them as the WD of NAND. Hopefully things will stay competitive for a while longer.
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Kinda glad I bought myself a new 2TB SSD a few months ago. I'm good for a while now.
    • let's just hope that as many manufacturers as possible survive as long as possible to avoid establishing one of them as the WD of NAND.

      I thought SanDisk was the WD of NAND since May 2016 [theverge.com]

    • by zdzichu ( 100333 )

      Well, last year DellEMC shipped over an exabyte of flash to customers. And this is one company only! I can believe that all flash production is being drained.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Is it more reasonable to assume that the markets have legitimately drained the supply, or that the whole industry is keeping a lid on it? SSDs seem to have become nigh ubiquitous on the convertible laptop/tablets, and an extremely common upgrade for even low-end laptops... Also, older news on this (i see things dating from Q4'16) offered the suggestion that relief might be coming by now. https://www.theregister.co.uk/ [theregister.co.uk]...

      At any rate, let's just hope that as many manufacturers as possible survive as long as p

    • The shortage might be caused by some manufacturer's switch to 3D XPoint storage technology. It was announced in Fall of 2016, and was faster than NAND. All the units for the next couple of years have already been spoken for, so we won't see 3D Xpoint drives on the shelf for quite a while.
  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speterNO@SPAMtedata.net.eg> on Monday March 13, 2017 @09:21PM (#54034033) Journal

    When I first started to buy SSD's for my school, I tried to do some research and quickly became confused about the differences between TLC, MLC, and SLC. I found various sites like this one [speedguide.net] that gave a good overview, but I didn't find very many that really analyzed the performance differences.

    I settled on the Kingston V300 [kingston.com] series of disks, an MLC unit that seemed to get decent reviews. It's been treating us well, but I always wonder whether the MLC was worth the extra money over the UV400 [kingston.com], a slightly cheaper TLC variant.

    Has anyone ever used both MLC and TLC drives and care to comment about whether the differences in performance justify the cost?

    • All I can say is that, at work we use mostly consumer SSDs made by a large Korean manufacturer. They are under heavy use (completely overwritten about once every 30 days and we can't TRIM them) and they seem to be holding up. Those manufactured by a large Idaho-based manufacturer didn't seem to last as well.

      However, this is a very small sample and may not be representative. We don't have any critical data on the drives: it is a minor inconvenience if they die.

    • It depends on what you're doing.

      I have a few laptops with TLC SSDs and they work great for a typical desktop workload - mostly random reads, occasional burst writes. None of them have ever used more than 1% of their rated wear lifespan over several years. They're

      We tried using some TLC SSDs in ESXi hosts at work for disposable dev/test VMs. This is a write-heavy workload and runs them full speed 24x7. We found the hosts would chew them up and spit them out in about six months. MLC drives handle it fine

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I'm curious what models of TLCs you used and how you used them.

        I've had good experience with Samsung 850 Pros in Server 2012r2 tiered storage spaces. They get beat on pretty good with daily tiering operations and the default write caching to SSD, but so far no lost disks.

        I've always been curious about using 850 Pros in VM hosts or even for repopulating an older iSCSI SAN. I've seen torture tests run against them that show endurance greatly exceeding manufacturer spec.

        While I'm sure some might die, with th

        • We experimented with 840 EVOs when they were basically the only thing available for 1TB SSDs. Those reliably got wrecked in VM hosts... We have a very write-heavy workload and simply used up the write endurance too quickly. For laptops, though, they're great.

          The 840 Pros held up fine until we took them out of service this year. Out of about 100, I think we had 2 fail, which is on par for consumer-performance SSD.

          Note that mainstream (Intel 3xx / Samsung EVO) and performance (Intel 5xx / Samsung Pro) are

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            Note that mainstream (Intel 3xx / Samsung EVO) and performance (Intel 5xx / Samsung Pro) are both cheap-out solutions, but they filled a need for us.

            That's what I'm getting at, though. When I spec out servers and storage for clients with enterprise flash, it's stupid expensive and I always ask myself if *most* workloads wouldn't be just fine on Samsung Pro even if the cost of ownership wasn't 2-3 disks a year needing to be replaced.

            Even Samsung Pros will deliver performance vastly beyond 15k spinning rust,

    • NAND just holds charges at different voltages. SLC uses two charge levels - one bit per NAND cell. MLC uses four charge levels - two bits per NAND. TLC uses eight charge levels - 3 bits per NAND.

      Physically, there is nothing different about the NAND. So most modern TLC drives initially write new data as MLC or even SLC to avoid the speed penalty. Then later during idle time they will re-write that data as TLC. Reading is still a bit slower, but writing should be the same speed unless you're writing
  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @01:27AM (#54034673) Homepage Journal

    I find it almost unbelievable that people are still sold computers with old-fashioned HDDs. At the coffee machine, a secretary told me they bought a spanking new iMac. "But it's so slow", she asked, "is that normal?"

    I told her to bring it back and get a model with an SSD. She didn't know what it was. I find it unbelievable that salespersons still sell this shit to consumers.

    • I'd agree with you if HDDs didn't have any advantage over SSDs like price per byte...but since they do it's fair to think that someone may prefer the larger storage offered by HDDs
      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        And cheaper prices for those bigger sizes. It is easy to fill up those tiny cheap SSDs. :(

    • I also agree with you. At this point, it's kind of crazy that you would be buying an computer with an SSD. Of course SSD can't really be summed up with a nice big number. When they see one laptop with 1TB storage, and another laptop with 240 GB storage, most unaware users aren't going to really understand just how big the performance difference is between the two, but they will grasp the difference between 1 TB and 240 GB.

    • Shit? When you can get an 8TB SDD for $300 then come back and tell us that HDDs are shit.

      Frankly I'd be more concerned if the consumer choice was no longer available.

  • Shortage of NAND flash?

    Did we have a bad crop this year? How can you have a
    sudden "shortage" -- or is it that no one bothered to expand capacity in a growing market to meet demand? Is that normal market strategy?
    (maybe it is, but having paid $60 for an optical drive that cost $40 about 5 years ago and $25 for a comparable about 5 years before that, AND seeing big BluRay drive manufacturers had to pay large fines and 10-30$? rebates to end-buyers of computer manufacturers like Dell for illegal price fixing

    • I'm guessing the industry is in a transitional phase from the old to new fabrication (lithography) with no overlap in production.

  • Makes me even happier about my recent purchase!
    A lot of mac haters and people saying SSD are unreliable, etc. Guess what, even the touch bar is way better than I would have expected based on the flames on Slashdot.

    Well I have lost 1 or 2 files in the past on my 2009
    MBP 17in which I loved, despite the weight, until the HDD errors started piling up. I use Windows and run some linux servers too. The price was quite high but I configured the best model I could since I expect to get 5-10 years of use out of it.

HOLY MACRO!

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