SAN FRANCISCO—Shipments of solid state drives (SSDs) are expected to reach 28 million in the second half of 2012, more than double the total of 12.9 million shipped in the first half of the year, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
IHS's revised forecast for SSD shipments in the second half of the year is down from a previous projection of 33 million units. But the firm noted that the SSD growth projection is down only slightly, despite the fact that IHS recently slashed its forecast for sales of Ultrabook PCs, one of the high-profile products expected to drive SSD growth this year. According to IHS, SSDs are so diversified in their uses and compelling in their value proposition that the outlook for SSDs has dimmed only slightly despite the fact that Ultrabook sales are now expected to be less than half of previously thought this year.
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Ryan Chien, analyst for
memory and storage at IHS, said through a statement that pricing for
SSDs has fallen well below the $1-per-gigabyte threshold, making their
value proposition more attractive than ever. "Because of this, SSDs are
finding uses in other products, helping to compensate for the shortfall
in Ultrabooks," Chien said.
IHS said it is maintaining an aggressive long-term outlook for SSDs due to NAND die shrinks, increasing utilization of TLC flash and controllers with more advanced flash management techniques that are accelerating the cost curve.
As the prices of SSDs keep coming down and their performance improves, I am reading about more and more people who have removed perfectly functioning (but relatively slow) hard drives from their computers and replaced/upgraded them with (usually lower capacity) SSDs as a way of speeding up their boot times and generally making their computer more responsive (and quiet). As a bonus they keep the hard drive and put it in a relatively cheap box and use it for extra storage or backup. It makes me wonder how many SSDs are being sold for this purpose?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.