HDDs & SSDs Battle It Out
Hard-disk drive (HDD) sales are set to slump further in 2013, as statistics show that smartphones, tablets and solid-state drives (SSDs) have started to show signs of dominance in the computer storage market. It has been well-documented that shipments of traditional desktop PCs are falling almost by the minute, and notebooks are finding it hard to compete in a market saturated with smartphones and tablets. It is expected that revenue from HDD sales will drop by around 12%, down to $32.7 billion dollars compared with around $37.1 million this time last year.
HDDs will still manage to keep an overall advantage over SSDs as a result of a few important factors. Their cost advantage over SSDs is still sizeable, particularly where higher densities of storage solutions are involved. Measured on a scale of dollars per gigabyte, HDD storage is much better value for money than SSDs at the minute, and the price of the average HDD unit is expected to decrease even further this year. In the past five years, HDD prices have dropped to around $0.10 per gigabyte, whereas SSD prices still come in at around $1.00 per gigabyte.
The sales and revenue figures of HDDs will also be supplemented by hybrid storage systems; these systems feature both an SSD and a HDD, and are a popular PC storage solution for many. The increasing popularity of ultrabooks combined with the corporate market’s preference for HDDs will see them retain their status as market leaders. The trend for cloud storage will also prove to be another advantage that HDDs have over their SSD rivals. Another boost offered to the HDD market is the launch of the helium HDD later in 2013. Drives filled with helium are being released onto the market in order to reduce internal friction within the unit. Power consumption is drastically reduced and the capacity is increased by around 40%.
It is predicted that, with these advantages and innovations, HDDs will remain the ‘final destination’ for the majority of digital content, at least for this year.
That is not to say that SSDs will not be putting up a strong fight. Companies such as Intel have been pushing primarily SSDs, especially with their own branded ultrabooks, and all Windows 8 tablets which are being manufactured feature SSDs. Prospects for HDDs in the long term do not look bright; experts say it will be flat by 2014, with no growth in this specific market as SSDs start to exert dominance.
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