SSD shipments outpaced HDDs by 3:2 last quarter, but hard disks still lead the storage...


Posts: 7,452   +67
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In brief: We’ve come a long way since solid-state drives were the expensive alternative to traditional HDDs, making up only a small part of the market. Falling prices and increasing capacities have seen their popularity rise in recent times, to the point that in Q1 2021, SSD shipments outpaced their hard disk drive counterparts by 3:2, while in 2020, SSDs saw 28% more unit sales than HDDs.

According to a Trendfocus report (via Tom’s Hardware), three hard drive makers shipped as many as 64.17 million HDDs in Q1 2021, while fewer than a dozen SSD suppliers shipped 99.438 million SSDs during the same period.

We all know the typical speed and physical size advantages that come with SSDs, so the figures aren’t too surprising; a recent IDC report revealed that nearly 60% of new PCs shipped in Q1 used SSDs.

The trend of SSDs outselling HDDs isn’t new. A jump in fourth-quarter sales last year helped SSDs push past 333 million units for the entirety of 2020, moving ahead of the 260 million HDD units sold.

One area where HDDs have an advantage, of course, is their superior $/gigabyte ratio, which makes them ideal for enterprise solutions. And while datacenters do still use SSDs for caching, it means the total exabytes (EBs) shipments for HDDs in the first quarter far exceeded that of SSDs: 288.28 EBs vs. 66 EBs.

Solid-state drives are bringing in more money, too. Analyst firms had the SSD market valued at $34.86 billion in 2020, while HDDs lagged behind with $22.6 billion.

As with so many tech products, Samsung, the top supplier of NAND flash memory, is the industry leader when it comes to SSDs, boasting the largest market share for units shipped (25.3%) and exabytes (34.3%). It’s followed by Western Digital (18.2% units and 15.8% EBs) then Koxia—formerly Toshiba Memory (13.3% units and 9.4% EBs).

SSDs, and the storage market in general, is facing a tough time right now—despite the positive report. The shortage of SSD controllers is expected to affect sales, while the introduction of cryptocurrency Chia, which can ruin a 512GB SSD in 40 days, is starting to impact drive supply and prices in some areas.

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Posts: 4,020   +2,039
The 1.75GB of SSD storage I have is more than enough for what files I use that benefit from it.

That makes the premium we're still paying worth it imo. I'm def not calling for the death of HDDs anytime soon. That's where my videos and music live just fine.


Posts: 31   +32
Loving both the use cases for both SSD's and HDDs. I'm sure one day we will get massive storage space on SSD's (I know we can to a degree now), but HDD still have their place as archival media. I have a mixture and I love them both :)


Posts: 2,538   +2,258
Not surprised by the numbers I'm still buying Nas optimized hard drives for my NAS.

However my primary desktop is all Flash based memory and will never see a standard hard drive in it.


Posts: 2,018   +834
QLC performance is mediocre once you get past the cache speed and it seems the dual head HDD competes very well. The combination of a NVM TLC drive and a Duel head archiving HDD is the perfect combination. They can even lower the speed of the HDD for power saving and it would still be fast enough. I got a system in storage now for almost a year. I'm concerned that by the time I fire it up, I'm going to have to reinstall the OS due to it being on an SSD. That's the SSD's weakness. I should had mirrored it on an HDD, it's strength. I still don't recommend HDD's on laptops. It was irritating to find that they were still shipping HDD's with the last few laptops, I bought. But, it was apparent they were emptying their stockpile.

Something that I've noticed. Once the speed of a SSD exceeds the processing power of your system, a faster SDD is not going to help. In most cases, a SSD Sata drive, or a comparable NVM in that speed range is all you need. I upgraded a 2013 laptop with an SSD and doubled it's memory. It boot faster, but after that it was still the same ol' slug, when it came to internet browsing. The memory helped a little. Memory and storage are no longer the bottlenecks they once were.
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