Will Solid State Drives Ever Replace Hard Disk Drives? - InformationWeek

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7/17/2007
11:35 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Will Solid State Drives Ever Replace Hard Disk Drives?

Not according to In-Stat. Solid state flash drives may be lighter and more stable, but standard optical hard drives are simply cheaper. Solid state drives will only inch their way into about 6% of the PC market by 2011. Guess which types of devices they'll be found in?

Not according to In-Stat. Solid state flash drives may be lighter and more stable, but standard optical hard drives are simply cheaper. Solid state drives will only inch their way into about 6% of the PC market by 2011. Guess which types of devices they'll be found in?A new report from In-Stat says that solid state drives were barely a blip in 2006, but 24 million of the little buggers will have shipped by 2011. The bulk of them will be found in Ultra Mobile Personal Computers, or UMPCs. It makes absolute sense that small, compact, mobile devices would make use of the teeny tiny mass storage medium. But there is a problem: Cost.

"There are few compelling reasons for most PC purchasers to pay more money for less storage than they can get using an HDD, so In-Stat expects HDDs and Hybrid Drives to continue to outweigh SSDs in these applications for at least the next several years," says Jim McGregor, In-Stat analyst, in a prepared statement. "Nevertheless, SSDs' advantages in lower power, higher reliability, lower noise, and faster access than HDDs, in an extremely durable unit, make for rapid growth in some markets, especially in military and industrial UMDs."

Ruggedized devices are screaming for SSDs. They will be far more reliable under stressful working conditions than conventional hard drives. And the power savings are key. Spinning up hard drives to dig out information is costly to battery life.

Aside from UMPCs, I'd also like to see larger solid state drives in smartphones. Many come with limited internal storage (less than 64 Mbytes) and users have to opt for external miniSD or microSD cards for additional storage. While the external option isn't a bad one, it wouldn't hurt to see more generous drives built-in, especially as prices come down.

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