How Did Ssds Get So Cheap All of a Sudden?

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How did SSDs get so cheap all of a sudden?

Flash is already widely used and has been around for decades. Modern SSDs have been around for just over 10 years and are mature products. The fundamental factor is density of the chip and the costs related to these non-volatile memory fabrication plants, which is in the billions of USD. The vast majority of the cost of the SSD is in the media. Everything else (controller, enclosure, capacitors etc) is rather fixed and a small percentage. The value of an SSD is much higher than a Hard Disk Drive which cannot do that many operations per second. T are also bulkier, use more power at times, and deliver more heat. Their mechanisms are susceptible to aging and shock more than an SSD, which is important to mobile usages. Hard Disk drives operate in milliseconds, while an SSD is roughly 20x faster per input and output operation at the hardware level, and can operate in low microseconds (CPU and DRAM operate in nanoseconds). SSD can operate well with IO queuing and Hard Drives are abysmal at this. So under load, SSDs rock! In fact many SSDs wonder why the applications don’t use them better. SSDs can also be parallelized just as many cores of the CPU, this is not true of a Hard Disk Drive. There are some advances in Hard Disk Technology to read data more efficiently and add density (lookaheads, buffering, shingled platters and so on) but not with many engines or cores into the memory. You can think of an SSD as its own small parallel computer of CPUs and many memory channels. You need to use many Hard Disk drives to gain parallelism which in consumer products for space, power and heat reasons is a non-starter. In Data Centers for high compute and data intensity it is also a non-starter, but was the norm in the last millenium. Hard Disk Drives may never die because t can store so much and for a long time. The value of an SSD is much higher, to modern many core CPUs which is the standard today. Parallelizing computers means SSDs have a special value. Not all workloads require this storage performance however. SSD’s are at a great price now for what you get, and have been for the last several years. This is especially true when DRAM costs $8–12 USD per GB. Hard Disk drives which are approaching 1 cents per GB (for say 6TB drive) are of course a fantastic value for long term storage and single threaded or sequential read (*video) needs. In fact smart computer users often combine medias. Even the use of Intel’s Optane Technology which sits between NAND (Flash) SSDs and DRAM. The great factor of cost in 2018 and forward is the revolution towards QLC (or adding more bits into the cell) over 3D (multi-layer) TLC NAND which is the dominant media shipping today. This factor drives down cost more but never to the Hard Disk Drive level and prices for SSDs are often stabilized by strong demand. Most of the (tech-savvy) world knows t want and need one. Why need? Because if you are wasting CPU time you are well, creating waste. Apple MacBook adopted PCIe/NVMe SSDs in about the 2014 timeframe. A long time back in computer history terms. If you are buying anything else you are missing out. NVMe clearly sells at “commodity” prices, I have seen one vendor’s NVMe sell for about the same price as SATA from someone else. Grab the NVMe drive as long as it has great (firmware) engineering behind it, from a long standing player in the business. The number failure factor in the mature SSD market today is the operating system of the SSD, what’s known as the firmware. For your online and real time needs, don’t buy waste and immediate obsolescence, it makes no sense, especially for a few dollars that you amortize over many years of compute usage ?

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SSD failure has a much longer lifespan. When you buy your hard disk drive, it is generally the only physical part. This is a large part of the failure factor. So don’t buy any that is known to degrade over a few years. Also don’t buy your SSD until you have researched the reliability long term for your project and are completely sure of what you are doing. When your SSD will become the data server of the modern day then buy it with that mindset that if the data center goes down then it will go down with it. A bad part of any electronics design is to think that they work only for one purpose or use case, often no other. Also, don’t buy an SSD if it has many parts you don’t know what you are doing with it on. If you need a few.