The changes to what users see on their mobile devices have been significant over the past few years. It is important to remember that transitions just as monumental are occurring within the machines.
One such major change is in drives. For years, the situation was clear: Almost all devices used spinning hard disk drives (HDDs). Solid-state drives (SSDs), which provide great advantages over HDDs, were far more expensive and considered a luxury item.
That is changing, and rapidly. Various media reports suggest that a confluence of events and forces is eroding the price differential between the two disk technologies. In essence, it seems that the two are meeting in the middle. NewsFactor reports that the price of HDDs continues to rise because of the floods that hit Thailand, where most HDD manufacturing takes place. At the same time, SSDs are becoming cheaper due to competition between vendors and lower prices for the flash memory chips and controllers, the story said.
The extent of the drop in SSD prices is graphically presented in this TechReport analysis. Geoff Gasior uses data from Camelegg, a site that follows pricing of products from Newegg, an online retailer. The measures are presented in a cost-per-gigabyte format and show a very consistent downward trajectory.
SSDs are practical for a number of uses. At brianmadden.com, Ruben Spruijt looks at the ways in which the technology can be utilized. It’s complex. The bottom line is that SSDs — or SSDs working in a hybrid fashion with other technologies — can fulfill several roles. Thus, the reduction in price can have multiple benefits.
Since recent events cement the case that SSDs now are viable for a far wider spectrum of users than in the past, the next step for IT departments and individual users is to look at features and pricing. Hardware Revolution offers a good start on that research. That page links to an FAQ that outlines the advantages of SSDs. They are impressive: faster operations and responsiveness and less noise, heat and power consumption. SSDs also offer longer battery life and are more resistant to shock and vibration.