SSD prices are plummeting; buh-bye, hard drives!

“Solid-state drives are superior to hard drives in every way but one: they’re faster, lighter, and less fragile, but they’re also more expensive,” Chris Mills reports for Gizmodo. “The last one has been the only thing keeping HDDs alive, and that thread appears to be getting thinner by the day.”

“According to a report by TrendForce, SSD prices per gigabyte have been making a cliff-like graph over the last few years: from 99 cents a gigabyte in 2012, we’re down to 39 cents,” Mills reports. “We are approaching a glorious storage singularity, where hard drives and SSDs cost the same, and spinning magnetic platters cease to be a thing anyone carries around.”

Mills reports, “According to TrendForce, this will happen for smaller drives sometime in 2017, which is when you can expect 256GB SSDs and HDDs to cost the same.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Spinning platters. How quaint!

On the rare occasion that we use a non-SSD Mac, the experience is jarring, as we’ve become used to the speed of the SSDs in our MacBook Airs and iMacs. It’s a huge difference. Once you go SSD, you won’t go back. — MacDailyNews Take, April 9, 2012

New 27-inch iMac benchmarks: Fusion Drive vs SSD vs HDD – January 15, 2013
Apple’s new iMac’s Fusion Drive a turning point for hybrid drives – December 13, 2012
Please stop the madness: Apple Mac’s Fusion Drive is not about caching – November 29, 2012
Apple’s new Fusion Drive technology also works on older Macs – October 31, 2012
Apple’s new patented Fusion Drive is more advanced than you might think – October 24, 2012
Don’t buy a new Mac without an SSD or you’ll regret it – April 9, 2012


      1. Yes, either can fail. But chance of recovery from bad SSD is far far less than traditional drives due to it’s TRIM function (which keeps things organized for quick access, but also deletes or “overwrites” immediately. So it’s harder to re-assemble a fragmented or deleted file.

        You can buy a huge traditional drives for much less than a SSD, so IMO, it’s better for backup purposes. Besides, there still isn’t good apps for recovering from SSD, yet.

        Regular drives only erases the first letter of the file when deleted, so it’s much easier to recover.

        1. I still don’t get it, surely if you’ve backed up it doesn’t matter if your bad SSD is more difficult to recover from, because you’ve got a back up. If both your SSD and your backup fail at exactly the same time, then indeed you’re in a pretty difficult situation granted. Which is why you should always have two different back ups and one of those at a different location.

        2. “Regular drives only erases the first letter of the file when deleted, so it’s much easier to recover.”

          As far as I know, that is a function of the file system; not the media itself. In other words, if you’re using HFS+ on a Mac, when you delete file, it will delete the first character of the file name (as well as its entry in the Catalogue File), regardless of the media. This is why it is rather trivial to restore a deleted file from a HFS+ formatted medium, regardless of whether it is a spinning-platter hard disk, or a USB flash drive, or an internal SSD drive, as long as no additional files were written over that medium. This is also why Apple’s old Disk Utility had several versions of Erase feature. The simple one doesn’t delete any actual data; it only changes the Catalogue File, allowing new files to be written over old ones. The next one writes zero over deleted files twice, while the more secure does it three times, and the ultra-secure way does it seven times.

          Recovering data from the failed drive is a process that depends on the type of failure and the type of drive. It has been argued that forensic recovery from a failed hard disk is more predictable than doing it from failed SSD chips. As for their life cycle, at this point, we have decades of history with hard drives to derive their MTBF (mean time before failure). My personal experience has seen five hard drive failures in the past twenty years. Regrettably, only the last one happened after Time Machine enabled effortless, transparent and truly automated backup; previous ones caused some loss of data (backups were manual and not daily). One of the failures was due to physical force (an external drive was yanked by the cable and went flying to the floor while accessing files); others were simply wear-and-tear failures after 3 – 4 years of operation. We have yet to see what will be the MTBF for SSD disks.

      2. Right on. I agree, backup, backup, backup, but …

        In many cases, mechanical hard drives can be recovered by putting the disk enclosure on a working PC board if the board failed.

        Alternatively, the disk can be read, byte by byte by a “Drive Savers” type company in a clean room, if the cost warrants.

    1. Perhaps you also think that we should use tape drives to back up the hard drives and then use paper tape to back up the tape drives and then use clay tablets to back up the paper tape?

    1. Don’t waste your money on an SSD for a PS4. There is very little speed increase. There are various reviews online showing this. Better off getting a regular 5400 rpm HDD and saving your money for something else.

    1. I was just reading an article a few months back that said the same thing. If you are not using your SSD for about ten years, there was a slight likelihood that the data might be corrupted.

      1. Well ten years. After that who cares. /s

        But that’s what I am trying to understand. If you are “archiving” for that long, you better not use SSD. Actually, periodically you should copy your stuff to new medium every so often. Unfortunately CD/DVD-ROM isn’t forever either.

        What is a safe long term solution? I recall color photos fading over time. Magnetic media is not forever either. We have a data storage conundrum that needs a solution. At least a lifetime if not multi-generational.

        10 years for SSD is a lot better than what I understood.

          1. M-Disc is actually a medium where the data is written in stone.

            “the M-DISC™’s data layer is composed of rock-like materials known to last for centuries. The M-DISC READY™ Drive etches the M-DISC™’s “

        1. Exactly. “Current no-power data retention warranted policy for Micron SSD’s is 1 year”. Keep those puppies powered up. The garbage collection is constantly running and takes into account read disturb, write disturb, program/erase cycles, retention, etc.

    2. SSD do not “recharge” just by using them, only when a cell is re-written does it “recharge”, actually that is bad terminology because it is just erased (the whole block actually) and new data is written. Magnetic storage HDDs need to be periodically spun-up to geek the bearings from seizing and tapes need to be run off and back on because of print-through.

        1. Flash memory fails on write and to a much lesser degree on read, not on storage. Storage retention is around 100 years. Write failures immediately discovered, the block marked defective and replaced with a new block from a pool. Flash is most likely the best storage media we have, the limiting factor is probably the connection becoming obsolete.

          1. Click to access 04.Wang.pdf

            “Retention error has been identified as the dominant flash memory error”

            So you need to define what you mean by fail. If you did not mean the data was lost but rather what caused the block to no longer be usable then your numbers could be argued. Your raw flash retention numbers are off by 10,000. One could conceivably build an always powered-up SSD that experienced very little write that might retain the data written for 100 years with appropriate ECC and garbage collection. But the flash cells themselves would not retain the data for this about of time even with strong ECC, you would need to be actively refreshing the data through the garbage collection process.

      1. SSDs are currently based on NAND technology. Regardless of 2d or 3d and the number of layers they are all fundamentally floating gates. Due to the topology of the arrays, reading a cell disturbs the charge in neighboring cells (read up a bit on how reads/writes occur and what word lines and bit lines are). Same happens on writes. In addition the floating gates lose charge over time. That effect is worsened due to temperature. (don’t leave you’re SSD powered off in your car trunk). There is no charging/recharging – its is a quantum tunneling effect.

  1. It certainly *is* great that SSD prices are continuing to fall …

    … but they’re still 10x more expensive (cost per GB) than a hard drive, which are now down to 3 cents per GB.

    True, another part of the question is just how much data storage does one person really need, and the good news is that many people don’t really need more than 0.25TB which now is only $100 for an SSD. But for the overall market, there’s still going to be a decent amount of consumers who need more than 256GB, and the bigger that number is, the more that the price disparity makes an entire transition over to SSD a cost barrier.

    Case in point: 10TB worth of SSDs currently costs roughly $4,000 … or one can spend just $550 for two 6TB HGST’s.

  2. One can spend $250 for a single 10 terabyte drive. One just did actually. I have 2 client archives, cause they tend to come back a year later and say ‘You know those files I said I didn’t need?”

    I usually have them password encrypted somewhere on “The Phantom Zone” or “The Containment Unit.”

  3. There’s the “falling off a cliff” price for SSDs.

    And then there’s the “Apple” price for SSDs.

    Just think Apple should be really aggressive in driving down their SSD upgrade pricing, especially now that a standard HD is no longer an option with many Mac and/or the SSD is non-upgradable.

    (And I’m not a troll, been using Macs since 1986 when a 20MB hard drive cost around $1000.)

    1. Thank you.
      This ‘SSD prices are falling off a cliff’ nonsense is annoying.
      WD has 1TB SSDs in the $200 range, but that’s makes it over 5x the price of HDDs.
      Price parity is NOT going to happen by 2017.

  4. Just upgraded my late 2011 MBP to 16Gb and an SSD and the performance boost is literally unbelievable. All that performance all this time being held back by those components.

    If you have a chance to do this, you won’t regret it.

  5. SSD’s are just untrustworthy. When you work with lots of people who have them, you see how often they fail. Backups become even more vital.

    Same old story every time. People just can’t book anymore, can’t bring the thing up in target disk mode, etc.

    When you work with 3rd party disks, there’s always some gotcha laying in wait down the road. Don’t upgrade to the next version of OS X, etc.

    Still too risky, still to expensive.

    I hardly ever see “conventional” hard drives fail anymore. when they do, it’s a glitch, and the data can easily be recovered.

    1. These numbers move even further apart when the interface supports higher IOPS (e.g. NVMe, etc). At least for reads, writes are very much constrained by power you want to put into a SSD.

  6. Not giving Gizmodo any traffic. I’ll never forgive those motherfuckers for trying to destroy the career of the guy they stole the iPhone 4 prototype from.


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