SSDs rapidly replacing HDDs, optical drives abandoned?

Posted 05 February 2013 15:46 CET 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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