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SSDs rapidly replacing HDDs, optical drives abandoned?

Posted at 05 February 2013 15:46 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Research company IHS iSupply reports that HDD makers will see their revenues drop considerably due to the popularity of SSDs. The researchers also argue that optical disk drives (ODD) could be abandoned by PC makers altogether. The researchers speak about a relentless onslaught for HDD manufacturers caused by the ongoing growth of smartphone, tablets and SSD markets. IHS expects that the HDD market revenues will drop with 13% this year, in 2014 the revenues should stay about the same.

The HDD industry will face myriad challenges in 2013,” wrote Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. “Shipments for desktop PCs will slip this year, while notebook sales are under pressure as consumers continue to favor smartphones and tablets. The declining price of SSDs also will allow them to take away some share from conventional HDDs.”

But despite the decrease in revenue for HDDs they will remain the dominant form of storage this year because of their cost advantage. It’s expected that HDDs will become 7% cheaper this year. Prices have dropped from 50 cents per GB in 2007 to 10 cents per GB in 2012, according to Zang. SSD prices have dropped from $8.79 per GB in 2007 to $1 per GB in 2012.

A boost in HDD sales is expected when Western Digital will release a 5 TB Helium HDD.  By using helium the internal friction is lowered which lowers the power consumption with 23% and increase capacity with 40%. The drives will, at least in the beginning, be targeted to enterprise users.

The report ends with the prediction that manufacturers of PC optical storage drives should expect losses in both revenues and sales. The declines are caused by a number of reasons, including smaller sizes for PCs, the gain of popularity of  video streaming and cost cutting from PC manufacturers that have lost interest in using optical drives.

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There are 24 comments

Kerry56
Administrator
Posted on: 05 Feb 13 17:20
    SSD's will not replace hard drives as storage any time soon. The difference in cost per gb is still far too great. As operating system discs, they do have some distinct advantages.

    Optical drives are on their last legs now. I suspect their primary function in the future will be as rippers for those holdouts who still buy physical dvd and blu ray movies. Actually burning discs is becoming a quaint holdover from a bygone age.
    alan1476
    Senior Moderator, Software Editor and Head of Promotions
    Posted on: 05 Feb 13 17:26
      Quote:
      Originally Posted by Kerry56
      SSD's will not replace hard drives as storage any time soon. The difference in cost per gb is still far too great. As operating system discs, they do have some distinct advantages.

      Optical drives are on their last legs now. I suspect their primary function in the future will be as rippers for those holdouts who still buy physical dvd and blu ray movies. Actually burning discs is becoming a quaint holdover from a bygone age.
      You are correct about Optical drives for sure, with the advent of USB3 and large storage capacity and streaming video DVDRW are all but gone. I dont expect them to last another 3 years. JMHO.
      DukeNukem
      MyCE Resident Commenter
      Posted on: 05 Feb 13 18:11
        I have a Blu-ray drive for ripping CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. I don't burn discs any more. Period.

        I won't be buying an SSD until all the data integrity issues are fixed. If I do buy one, it'll be for my OS drive and that's it. Anything I need to save will go on an HDD.
        Anthony1uk
        MyCE Senior Member
        Posted on: 05 Feb 13 18:42
          Hard Drive makers have turned greedy; since the Thialand floods they have upped their prices to almost double and never put them back. It reeks of profiteering and the fact that the big two - Western Digital and Seagate have bought out all others (including the much better Samsung hard drive devision) further is a pee take

          SSD makers have on the other hand been doing all they can to drop prices.

          For this I feel happier paying my hard earned for a SSD than a Hard Drive.

          Optical media the only use is buying movies and console games. And I hope this remains as 1080p downloaded will be some naff 5-10GB low bitrate movie file which the creators will argue is good enough when the whole point of 1080p is you want it to be more than good enough and thus I want my 30GB Blu-ray disk filled and to remain to exist as download speeds will never reach a level of allowing 30GB regular downloads anytime soon.
          AllanDeGroot
          MyCE Resident
          Posted on: 05 Feb 13 20:32
            Quote:
            Originally Posted by Anthony1uk
            Hard Drive makers have turned greedy; since the Thialand floods they have upped their prices to almost double and never put them back. It reeks of profiteering and the fact that the big two - Western Digital and Seagate have bought out all others (including the much better Samsung hard drive devision) further is a pee take

            SSD makers have on the other hand been doing all they can to drop prices.

            For this I feel happier paying my hard earned for a SSD than a Hard Drive.

            Optical media the only use is buying movies and console games. And I hope this remains as 1080p downloaded will be some naff 5-10GB low bitrate movie file which the creators will argue is good enough when the whole point of 1080p is you want it to be more than good enough and thus I want my 30GB Blu-ray disk filled and to remain to exist as download speeds will never reach a level of allowing 30GB regular downloads anytime soon.
            Actually retail prices are only 5%-15% higher than pre-flood prices

            The best pre-flood price I ever saw (and TRUST ME, I watch prices)
            on a Western Digital 500gb "Black" HDD was on sale for $59 at Newegg.
            On sale TODAY those drives are on sale for $64.99.

            While I am as harsh as anyone on HDD mfg's and their flood excuses for price gouging Especially Seagate who makes most of their drives in CHINA. so how does a flood in Thailand affect drive production in China?

            The fact is that prices HAVE dropped back to nearly what they were.

            Yet still HDD storage space is currently a bit more than $0.10/Gb.

            SSD Storage averages around $0.90/gb.

            the price of SSD storage space has to drop further, and SSD drive size needs to increase. Also NAND lifespan needs to improve by a factor of three (10k write cycles or so) but it is pretty obvious the writing is on the wall for Spinning HArd drives.

            But reports of their demise are at present exaggerated and premature
            paulw2
            MyCE Senior Member
            Posted on: 05 Feb 13 22:39
              I still use an CD/DVD drive daily at work and at home so I hope that they don't go away any time soon..
              Dee
              Senior Administrator and Reviewer
              Posted on: 05 Feb 13 23:50
                I don't get this (NAND needs to last longer" argument.
                10K cycle NAND with above average normal use could last over 150 years.
                I've seen 10K NAND with over 500,000 TB of writes still going strong.
                I've seen NAND rated at 3000 cycles with 10,000+ TB of writes and still going strong.
                Try writing that amount of data to an HDD, and see if its still functioning. In fact, try and calculate how long it would take to write that amount of data to an HDD, given the speed of HDD.

                In all my time I've spent researching the subject, I have never once seen an SSD that just burnt out its NAND in normal use.


                SSD controllers may fail, but NAND burnout should not be a concern.
                However, price per GB, is a concern,
                DrageMester
                Retired Moderator
                Posted on: 06 Feb 13 00:00
                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by Dee
                  In all my time I've spent researching the subject, I have never once seen an SSD that just burnt out its NAND in normal use.
                  I've had an SSD continuously develop more bad sectors; whether it's NAND burnout or something else I don't know, but from a customer viewpoint it doesn't really matter.

                  I do see on a lot of forums people recommending to not use the SSD for this or that purpose, because they are afraid it will wear out, so whether it's an actual problem or not, people are worrying about it.

                  As I see it, you should use the SSD because it performs (much) better than a harddrive, and it will probably last for more years than you need it anyway, instead of worrying about using it too much.
                  Dee
                  Senior Administrator and Reviewer
                  Posted on: 06 Feb 13 00:25
                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by DrageMester
                    I've had an SSD continuously develop more bad sectors; whether it's NAND burnout or something else I don't know, but from a customer viewpoint it doesn't really matter.
                    I think its impossible to say, it could be NAND burnout, but more likely a faulty NAND die.

                    Quote:
                    I do see on a lot of forums people recommending to not use the SSD for this or that purpose, because they are afraid it will wear out, so whether it's an actual problem or not, people are worrying about it.
                    My feeling on this is, it goes back to early 2008 SSDs, which were generally low capacity (32GB) were near filled to capacity, and by todays standards had dreadful garbage collection, wear leveling, and no TRIM.

                    GC and wear leveling is much, much better in modern SSDs, they all support TRIM providing you have an OS that supports TRIM, and 128GB - 256GB has become the entry level capacity.

                    Quote:
                    As I see it, you should use the SSD because it performs (much) better than a harddrive, and it will probably last for more years than you need it anyway, instead of worrying about using it too much.
                    I totally agree.
                    Mastus
                    MyCE Junior Member
                    Posted on: 06 Feb 13 02:38
                      Oh well... things are changing.

                      But no, CD's/DVD's/Bluray's won't go nowhere for a looong time. Why not? Because there's no alternative format available. There are lot of us who want to have a physical, tangible piece of something. Two meters of DVD's is a whole different thing than two terabytes of something.

                      Download services (apart from "illegal" sources) won't be cutting it either, because they are unable or unwilling to launch service where you actually could copy and use the content how you wish.

                      30GB regular downloads... It's already available in some places. 100M connection (when maxed out) can download 30 gigs in about an hour. In my book that's a "regular download".

                      And no, prices have not been dropped to the pre-flood point just yet. I do hunt cheapest price/GB ratio and pre-flood 2TB HDD was 66 euros (on sale, but _normal_ price was about 70-75e), and now cheapest what I can find locally is 3TB HDD for 129 euros. So there's about 20-30 percent to go...

                      SSD makers do have a lot of catching up to do (size and price-wise). HDD speed (for me) is reasonably quick enough. Could be quicker, but I won't pay ten times the money for that.
                      AllanDeGroot
                      MyCE Resident
                      Posted on: 06 Feb 13 05:32
                        It's more a case that many of us BELIEVE the "dire warnings" about running an SSD "too full" as a system drive.

                        I'll always believe the dire warnings because in my line of work I MUST assume the worst, to do anything else puts the system installation at risk.

                        The only thing more important than preserving the system is preserving data, dut as of yet, we don't use SSD's for active data drives.


                        a longer NAND write life might not be necissary, but relatively
                        speaking SSD's are "new" "Hard drives have been around for
                        nearly 60 years. Granted the 1950's versions were the
                        size of a commercial washing machine, but the basic idea
                        hasn't changed.

                        I say again SSD's are new and the early ones... in the dark distant past of FIVE years ago haven't been around long enough for any of us to entirely "trust" them.

                        To be honest the fact that I maintained a minimum of TWO backups of hard drives
                        should indicate that I never actually trusted them either...

                        If you've ever had an optical disc you burned to backup data that would not read at all or would only read in one specific optical drivr... and you still trust optical backups you probably also believe in Unicorns.

                        The motto I must live by is "In Redundancy We Trust"

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                        FreqNasty_RiseS
                        MyCE Member
                        Posted on: 06 Feb 13 05:42
                          Quote:
                          Originally Posted by DukeNukem
                          I have a Blu-ray drive for ripping CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. I don't burn discs any more. Period.

                          I won't be buying an SSD until all the data integrity issues are fixed. If I do buy one, it'll be for my OS drive and that's it. Anything I need to save will go on an HDD.
                          The data integrity on SSD's is now just as good as mechanical drives. Either way, you back up regardless, right?
                          Zod
                          MyCE Resident
                          Posted on: 06 Feb 13 07:43
                            I've always backed up stuff. I can only put some my hard drives in my computer (and I already duplicate quite of a bit of content in case of failure).

                            Most people aren't like me though. Most people don't use optical backup too much anymore. So I agree with the article. It'll still be there but not nearly as popular as in the cd/dvd era.
                            DukeNukem
                            MyCE Resident Commenter
                            Posted on: 06 Feb 13 17:02
                              Quote:
                              Originally Posted by FreqNasty_RiseS
                              The data integrity on SSD's is now just as good as mechanical drives. Either way, you back up regardless, right?
                              Absolutely !! Losing 4TB of Blu-ray rips is not an option for me.
                              tmc8080
                              MyCE Resident
                              Posted on: 08 Feb 13 01:40
                                You have to pick your battles here.. optical media has it's purposes as to be a failsafe for hard-drives.. flash media is still quite expensive to be the alternative and redundant hard drives are bulky.. but not as bulky as 4TB of optical media...

                                Not every single media type is worth backing up or having failsafe copies of..
                                what's better is having somebody with just about the same content as you to be an added failsafe.. plus the internet storage warehouse... almost nothing is lost... this can be attributed to the YOUTUBE craze.. I've seen rescued content going all the ways back to cellulose film days there.. and that's quite an accomplishment. This obscure stuff will find a niche and live almost forever on the internet.

                                Think about music.. most people nowadays have gorged themselves on music & media content that they take for granted it will ALWAYS exist on the internet one way or another and easily accessible. This kind of eliminates the hoarding need for a majority of cosumers.. this is good for most of the right reasons.. it will keep a check on demand for local content storage. When the market works and is not dysfunctional with profiteering it will be a long admired carryover from the go-go days of the 80s, 90s,... except the innovation curve is bent MUCH flatter than it's ever been since it's inception of storage media.
                                coolcolors
                                MyCE Resident
                                Posted on: 08 Feb 13 05:07
                                  Quote:
                                  Originally Posted by Kerry56
                                  Optical drives are on their last legs now. I suspect their primary function in the future will be as rippers for those holdouts who still buy physical dvd and blu ray movies. Actually burning discs is becoming a quaint holdover from a bygone age.

                                  From my vantage point and using the library DVD are still king so I don't think the cd/dvd/bd drives are going any time soon or on their last leg. And I doubt they are bygone age as people will still have cd/dvd/bd media to use and streaming has yet to be truly streaming without all the pain of paying out of the a33 for it's usage that is why physical media will still play a critical role. Not everyone has internet and I don't like watching a movie on a smart phone or tablet when no one else can enjoy it as well.
                                  coolcolors
                                  MyCE Resident
                                  Posted on: 08 Feb 13 05:09
                                    Quote:
                                    Originally Posted by alan1476
                                    You are correct about Optical drives for sure, with the advent of USB3 and large storage capacity and streaming video DVDRW are all but gone. I dont expect them to last another 3 years. JMHO.

                                    USB3 I got USB2 and server desktop with multiple large HDD and I still have a collection of dvd/bd movies on media so I doubt it will gone anytime soon. Streaming has yet to fix all the kinks and bugs in streaming to make it truly streaming least alone get throttle by your ISP as it seems to happen. That will kill true streaming....Throttling streaming and that takes the steam out of streaming....
                                    coolcolors
                                    MyCE Resident
                                    Posted on: 08 Feb 13 05:13
                                      Quote:
                                      Originally Posted by paulw2
                                      I still use an CD/DVD drive daily at work and at home so I hope that they don't go away any time soon..
                                      I say don't worry streaming has yet to fix all those throttling and bugs in streaming services to make it truly streaming. And when all those streaming goes dead ask yourself where do people turn next??? Physical media....that is why libraries and rentals still carry media because not everyone can afford streaming or be connected 24/7 and also not all places have broad band there are places in the US that you still use aka... Dial-UP......if that isn't old and was the best way to go to the internet.
                                      Mastus
                                      MyCE Junior Member
                                      Posted on: 10 Feb 13 15:30
                                        Quote:
                                        Originally Posted by tmc8080
                                        Think about music.. most people nowadays have gorged themselves on music & media content that they take for granted it will ALWAYS exist on the internet one way or another and easily accessible. This kind of eliminates the hoarding need for a majority of cosumers..
                                        You have just said the one thing which I use as an excuse to hoard.

                                        Something that exists now and is easily accessible, might be unavailable tomorrow. This has happened to me many times, once available content has not been available a year later. The only option is to store them locally.
                                        Dennis_Olof
                                        MyCE Member
                                        Posted on: 13 Feb 13 17:37
                                          1. Yes, SSDs will replace the standard harddrive. Because of better speeds and other advantages.

                                          2. Standard HDDs will be uses as external storage, docking stations, NAS etc. Why, well because of larger size. Will we ever see huge SSDs, probably not as it is not needed. The reality is that the advantage of SSDs are for system drives, where you keep your operating system etc. But for storage the size ain't big enough, and standard harddrives will do that job just fine. Will prices drop in the future, probably, but how much. They can't just shrink the size forever, just like with CPUs running into problem. However prices for SSDs up to 500Gb will probably drop so that most people will use a system drive as SSD, together with other storage solutions.

                                          3. Optical media will be around for a long time, it is cheap to produce, people are used to that media and all of that. Easy to distribute. And has been around for a long time. However, optical drives in laptops, and standard computers could go away. And it's up to consumers to buy that as extras if they need it, and now with USB3 on the way, with plenty of speed. No need (especially for laptops) to include a optical drive and so on. Most things can run over USB2 without a problem. And those things that need more can use USB3.

                                          4. Now that harddrives are cheap, they store huge amounts of data, using that for longterm storage of stuff you download, it is good enough. Do you need to back it up. I say NO.

                                          Why? Well if you take a closer look, how much of that DATA do you really need to save. A matter of life and death, I would say most of it you could do without. What should you backup, well the essentials like photos and so on, and on multiple media, archival cd's dvds and so on. Plus storing it at several locations in case of fire and all that. And perhaps burn some BD-R discs for the left overs that you want to save but, but you could do without.

                                          The rest, keep it on the harddrive, if it dies, so what. No need to waste money on saving stuff that you could do without. Computers where not even around over 60 years ago, or the Internet for that matter.
                                          Matth
                                          MyCE Resident
                                          Posted on: 13 Feb 13 19:45
                                            Never thought the floppy would go away, but it did...

                                            SSD vs. HDD? SSD is unlikely to hit anything near a comparable price point per GB, so big drives will always be HDD. Seems pretty inevitable that SSD will become more mainstream, rather than the superspeed luxury that it used to be.

                                            Optical? the main thing, is there are not really any great challengers for transferrable media, maybe SDHC could emerge as the replacement for floppy, CD, DVD & BD, but the price per media is quite a bit higher.

                                            The big annoyance of (legitimate) download is DRM, jumping through hops to authorize on more than one device, instead of just taking a CD or DVD out and playing it somewhere else.

                                            I think Blu-ray has missed the boat though, thanks to the delay in the format war, the excessive premium in price, and the cost of blank media that still falls way short of the ease of backing something up to external HDD or cloud.

                                            Also. if H.265 can cram down the data rate of HD video, then streaming or download of HD would be less of a drain on data limits - while a few ISPs go for headline-grabbing "truly unlimited", they'd soon change their tune if too many actually DO that!
                                            AllanDeGroot
                                            MyCE Resident
                                            Posted on: 13 Feb 13 20:04
                                              I fully believe that SSD's will eventually replace spinning hard drives.

                                              What I do not believe is that it will happen quite as fast as some true
                                              believers think it will happen.

                                              When LARGE SSD's drop to $0.20/gb there will be little point to
                                              magnetic storage.

                                              Except for ONE factor... if your HDD "dies" it is still possible to recover data from the bare platters.

                                              Yeah it may take a clean room and a skilled technician.

                                              Can data be recovered from a "Dead" SSD?

                                              On the other side of that thoroughly wiping an SSD to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands is far easier than doing the same to a HDD.
                                              Dee
                                              Senior Administrator and Reviewer
                                              Posted on: 13 Feb 13 20:41
                                                I don't think SSDs using NAND will totally replace large HDDs anytime soon. But, I don't expect SSDs to be using NAND indefinitely either. There are other solid state memory technologies being developed now.

                                                RE can data be recovered from a dead SSD?
                                                Yes, there are companies already specializing in doing this already.
                                                tmc8080
                                                MyCE Resident
                                                Posted on: 14 Feb 13 00:27
                                                  Yes, there are forward thinking people who go against the grain...
                                                  not many.. but your'e out there ;-P

                                                  IMO, as media gets old & obscure that is more of a problem.. always has been and mostly always will probably be.. coming from someone who's been around for decades now... it's a reasonable prediction of future events in our lifetime (next 70 years).

                                                  Don't worry about six strikes and all these anti-piracy laws.. they don't seem to have legs or teeth worth a hill of beans.. but still take prudent precautions as YMMV.

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