An SSD Update – Where Do We Go From Here?

SSD sales have been on a gradual rise over the past few years and its not much of a gamble to believe that they will continue to soar in the future. A study by IDC has detailed somewhere in the area of 11 million ssd as having been sold worldwide last year. Increased performance, faster access times and lower power consumption are just the tip of the ice berg as we are now seeing the most powerful ssds become available at or below the $100 price mark.

Looking back only a few years, not only were they not available through retail sales, but also a typical ssd might be purchased for just under $1000 while many topped the $3000 mark. The high costs were not manufacturer greed, as many would like to believe but rather, the high cost of slc (single level cell) NAND flash which is still found at a price premium even today. It was the emergence of mlc (multi level cell) flash that has brought ssd prices within the consumers grasp. Watch for our next article to explain, in detail, the difference between the two and importance of knowing which is right for your computer environment.

The high costs were not manufacturer greed, as many would like to believe but rather, the high cost of slc (single level cell) NAND flash which is still found at a price premium even today. It was the emergence of mlc (multi level cell) flash that has brought ssd prices within the consumers grasp. Watch for our next article to explain, in detail, the difference between the two and importance of knowing which is right for your computer environment.

Through videos of ssds being dropped, thrown around and even secured to an automatic paint shaker, the industry has finally found the interest of the consumer in its price point. Never mind sales pitches that explained the critical nature of ssd use in fighter jets, as well as medical and aeronautical equipment, the consumer can now purchase a solid state drive with a logical life expectancy rate of 1.5 million hours, or 174 years. Dont hold your breath just yet as manufacturers will still only offer 2-3 year warranties with their product. The ssd is testament to our technological advance when we can simply fill it with an unimaginable amount of data, pictures, videos and music, and tuck it away for our grandchildren grandchildren to see how we lived.

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The SSD industry is changing every day with the appearance, and disappearance, of manufacturers such as Mtron and the industries desire to replace computer hard drives with ssds. In this we are also seeing the decline of many hard drive manufacturers, leaving only the big guys like Western Digital, Seagate and a few others to tend the nest. Consumer interest has now forced manufacturers to stand by their product through their ability to identify inferior ssds, with such issues as high latency and sometimes horrid random performance benchmarks. Through this, the consumer has discovered that the manufacturer is really nothing more than an assembler of parts, the same parts of which have been sent to a number of others. The question then becomes whether the single differentiating component of the SSD, the firmware, can be enough to create clearly distinguished lines from one SSD to another in ways other than just the price.
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Interested consumers were both confused and taken aback to learn of something called latency at the discovery of SSD stuttering, through the JMicron 602 controller, and even more so to learn how many companies had to hit the brakes hard because of it. A-Data, G.Skill, Kingston, OCZ, Patriot, Run Core, Solidata, Supertalent and Transcend all suffered this although some claim to have had success in correcting the problem. From a preliminary vantage point, something has to be said of Samsung and Intel, both of whom pushed forward with their own designs and have been comforted by success as a result. Intel has carved its place as the baseline for all SSD testing and Samsung has been alive and well since day one, probably deserving the acknowledgement of The SSD Pioneer.
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Given the benefits of ssd ownership coupled with the advertised prices at which a top performing drive can be had, the average consumer is now looking at avenues to get both performance and storage capacity. Ideas such as throwing in the SSD to run your system arent only popular in larger systems, but discussion has now started which removes laptop DVD players in favour of the hard drive that was just switched out with ssd. A setup such as this which includes the ssd and a bracket mount for the hd in place of the dvd can be had for under $200 and dollar for dollar, there isnt another computer upgrade that even comes close. This also leads the consumer to look at such things as flash cards, USB drives and external hard drives for storage, all of which we can try and tackle here as well….
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Stay tuned in upcoming weeks as we try and grab hold of the ssd community by throwing out articles that will capture readers of all levels of experience. We will try to show why one might want an ssd, what to look for, what would suit their needs and what makes them an educated buyer at that point of purchase. We hope to bring out some of the pitfalls many fall into and create a much smarter community in general. From there, stay with us as we dissect the ssd and try and find out whats inside each one which will prove to be a real job as many ssds only have 3 differences, the name, price and a little piece data called the firmware.

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