Solid State Drives Pose No Immediate Threat to Hard Disk Drives, IHS iSuppli Says

Paul Lilly

For those of you paying attention, it's hard not to notice the downward trend in solid state drive pricing, which in some cases has fallen below a buck per gigabyte on high end SSDs. Be that as it may, market research firm IHS iSuppli believes mechanical hard disk drives (HDDs) will remain the dominant storage platform now and in the near term future, even as Microsoft's Surface tablet and other competing SSD-only devices enter the market place.

It's simply a matter of numbers, and IHS iSuppli's figures show that notebooks PCs sporting at least a 500GB hard drive and priced between $450 and $550 claimed the lion's share of the market at 32 percent in the first quarter. The second biggest chunk (26 percent) belonged to notebooks integrating hard drives larger than 320GB and priced between $350 and $450. In fact, 128GB SSD systems priced above $900 accounted for just 3 percent of the market.

"The market-share rankings show that SSD-based notebook PCs like Apple Inc.’s MacBook Air presently pose no threat to the much larger universe of HDD-based mobile PCs," said Fang Zhang , analyst for storage systems at IHS. "SSD-equipped notebooks are faster, more lightweight and sport a thinner profile—some of the characteristics that make them popular and desirable to consumers—but they are also more expensive and feature less overall storage space. The price of a MacBook Air with just a 64GB solid state drive can reach $999, while an HDD-based notebook PC at that price can boast significantly larger storage space."

Looking at it another way, it's all about the Benjamins, and as long as SSD-based systems require more of them than HDD-based PCs while offering less overall storage space, it will be difficult to close the gap in any meaningful way.

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