Ironically, one of the biggest reasons Ultrabooks—the Intel-back ultrathin, low-power PC category—have failed to live up to expectations to date is the price of the systems, which continue to hover around $1,000. One of the biggest reasons the price of Ultrabooks remains high is the cost of SSDs, which are needed to give Ultrabooks the desired speed and performance.
According to another IHS analyst, Craig Stice, higher volumes will drive prices of SSDs down, but the higher prices of SSDs compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) are keeping volumes in check. "It's always kind of a chicken and egg type thing," Stice said.
IHS said 7.1 million SSDs shipped in the second quarter, generating revenue of $1.5 billion. The firm estimates that 10.5 million SSDs shipped in the third quarter, with another 17.5 million projected to ship in the fourth quarter. IHS projects the SSD industry will finish 2012 with $7.5 billion in revenue and 41 million in shipments.
And although cache SSDs have undershot expectations, traditional SSDs—including those for the enterprise market—with their higher prices helped make up the revenue slack, IHS said. By the second half of this decade, IHS expects SSDs to be a de facto standard in non-budget notebook and desktop PCs, thanks to a mixture of lower prices, consumer education and an optimized software ecosystem.
IHS's shipment numbers cover pure standalone SSDs—units with no hard disk drives (HDDs) associated with them—as well as when the drives are used with HDDs as separate cache SSD entities. These estimates cover all applications for SSDs, including the enterprise segment, Ultrabooks and other so-called ultrathin computers, IHS said.
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?