6_6_6

SSDs: WTH happenned in these 2 years? Still same capacity and prices

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Scan from 1999 magazine ad for perspective :-) ...not the absolute lowest prices but good listing of various types of storage media/mechanisms

So how much was the 'average' computer user back then willing/required to pay for leading edge, faster, larger capacity SCSI drives compared to lower cost IDE? How much of a performance gain do you get for similar expenditures on a SSD vs HDD now? I think HDD's are now like DVD drives, commodity pricing, with little profit involved such that what was once a drive tech that cost hundreds of dollars, *gradually dropping in price, to now most of them being mass produced in China, selling for <$100.

Maybe it takes 5 more years, but we will hit that point of mass production where only huge capacity SSD's will cost you an arm and a leg. That's my prediction, look at the cost of LCD panels, tumbling for smaller sizes.

Can you say that the iPod/iPhone/iPad phenomena has/will play a great part in mass production of NAND,which will eventually lead to commodity, lower prices for ever increasing capacity of SSD?

post-12923-12740167897843_thumb.jpg

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LOL.. hilarious how they got the names of almost all IBM IDE drives wrong.

I don't think the smartphones, tablets etc. matter much for the flash market. Sure, every one of them has one package inside, but just consider the amount of thumbdrives and flash cards (CF, SD etc.) compared to the number of smartphones sold. And in your typical SSD there are 4 to 10 chip packages, a much larger amount of flash per unit sold.

And this "SSD are going to be much cheaper once they really start optimizing" is rubbish: they've bone on one hell of an optimization rampage since many years, just take a look at the price and capacity development for thumbdrives. It's almost the same stuff, really. Just more reliable and faster.

MrS

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Ahhh, those classic ads are so great...we may need a special thread just to warehouse those awesome deals ;)

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I think this pretty much solves the space problems. Yesssss, I can now store 4 movies in my uber-super, $4000 computer!

Intels 3rd generation X25-M would be shipping in Q4 at 160GB, 320GB and 600GB.

Edited by 6_6_6

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Well, okay. So many years passed. I said, let me get a 400-500 GB SSD. At least I can have sufficient space and remove my 750GB Seagate from the system that I was keeping since 5 years.

So what the hell happenned with these Samsung's Toshiba's so and so's 400 GB drives that were to be released 2 years ago?

Samsung is famous for vaporware SSD announcements, they were supposedly coming out with the 40nm process 'Charged Trap' type of NAND years ago, but AFIK, that never happened. As to capacity, in the OP, that is now moot as there are now near 512GB SSD's just now available with better performance than any Intel(Micron) SSD's currently on the market.

That may change when the next gen of Micron/Intel SSD tech hits the market later this year. "G3" as continuum alluded to.

World's First 25nm NAND Technology Provides Cost-Effective Path for More Data, Photos, Songs in Today's Popular Consumer Electronic and Computing Devices

http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/releases/2010/20100201comp.htm

^should result in 1TB 2.5in notebook SSD's by the end of the year...for ~$1500, or 1/2TB for price of current 256GB...and so on?

In case you don't read the SR news forum regularly:

OWC releases 480GB SSD

SF-1200 controller 285/275 RW

^same price as the high-end SCSI drives of 1999, but performance wise, substantial difference btw current best SAS 15k Cheetah & best SSD's,

see this link review comparison graphs: http://www.barefeats.com/hard130.html

...compared to best SCSI & IDE of 1999...so then a 480GB SSD's is far more 'valuable' @$1500k than similar SCSI of 1999 (well to get the 'SCSI like' Enterprise rated 5yr warranty, 28% over-provisioning, you need the 400GB model)?

And their supposedly decreasing prices? Did this Intel monopolize all the market?

According to the EU, there was/is a price fixing cartel in place :D

EU to fine Samsung & 8 memory chip makers

^In case u don't regularly read the news forum here

My sense it that since 1999, people's expectations for the price of *all* memory is tied in with the super low prices of HHD tech. What will happen when the next type of storage comes along that will initially be more expensive than the by then commodity pricing SSD's? People will likely complain about the disparity.

Strange though, without AMD winning their EU complaint against Intel, Intel CPU's would be more expensive than they already are. Why aren't each generation of Intel CPU's dropping in price, those Xtreme CPU's are always $1k or more :(.

Edited by udaman

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Yessssssssssssssssssss.... So apparently there was a price fixing with the entry of Intel to the market in 2008. And this is today's news.

And yet you kept on preaching me how difficult it is to produce SSDs... 2 nanometers, 22 nanometers... and all the gobbledygook. It really is not necessary to read the whole book to guess the ending.

While we were sweating our butts trying to crop bits from our files to fit them into their ridiculous drives, those jackasses were busy milking the people for all they got.

It says Micron (effectively Intel) given immunity for ratting out. Bastards.

Udaman, thank you for the info and your enlightening posts. I read your messages rather carefully.

The European Union is about to fine nine companies a total of $370 million for allegedly fixing pricing on flash memory, leaks revealed on Monday. Samsung, Hynix, Toshiba and six other major companies are being pressed to admit to colluding on high prices...

Micron, which had been implicated as part of the group, may have been given immunity in return for testifying against its partners.

According to the EU, there was/is a price fixing cartel in place :D

EU to fine Samsung & 8 memory chip makers

Edited by 6_6_6

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Scan from 1999 magazine ad for perspective :-) ...not the absolute lowest prices but good listing of various types of storage media/mechanisms

So how much was the 'average' computer user back then willing/required to pay for leading edge, faster, larger capacity SCSI drives compared to lower cost IDE? How much of a performance gain do you get for similar expenditures on a SSD vs HDD now? I think HDD's are now like DVD drives, commodity pricing, with little profit involved such that what was once a drive tech that cost hundreds of dollars, *gradually dropping in price, to now most of them being mass produced in China, selling for <$100.

Maybe it takes 5 more years, but we will hit that point of mass production where only huge capacity SSD's will cost you an arm and a leg. That's my prediction, look at the cost of LCD panels, tumbling for smaller sizes.

Can you say that the iPod/iPhone/iPad phenomena has/will play a great part in mass production of NAND,which will eventually lead to commodity, lower prices for ever increasing capacity of SSD?

post-12923-12740167897843_thumb.jpg

that is an excelent scan. i remember back in the day.... i think it was 98 i want to say. maybe even 97... i bought a 7200RPM Seagate 9GB IDE drive. if i remember correctly it was around $240. it was one of only 2 available at the time if i remember.... i remember grabbing a hold of my cock and thinking, "god, i have a huge dick. its so big and fast! i could never fill it!"

that is the difference between then and now. no one looks at a 64GB SSD and thinks, "wow! how could i ever fill that..." people think, "64GB for $150? thats a joke, right?"

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It is exactly what I thought it is.

Now you will believe the certified-verified-stamped crooks or me?

Take your side and read about it in 10 years then :)

What is your opinion about the video MrS?

MrSpadge' date='20 May 2010 - 12:59 PM' timestamp='1274378372' post='261845']

666, check out udamans update here. It was a DRAM cartel operating from 1998 to 2002. Not saying this was a good idea, it's just not what you thought it is.

MrS

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@video: I answered in the other thread.

It is exactly what I thought it is.

Well then I apologize! I got the impression that you thought it was a proof for a Flash memory price fixing cartel currently being in place, whereas it actually is a proof that a DRAM price fixing cartel was in place during 1998 to 2002.

Which makes it more likely that dirty things are going on behind the scenes (assuming anything else would be naive). Yet I take the stance of "unguilty until guilt is proven". Of course there's also the famous "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on.. ew, you can't be fooled again?"

Call me hopelessly optimistic, but I sincerely believe that if any of the non-Intel guys could get more profit by significantly undercutting Intels prices and selling more units, they'd gladly do so.

MrS

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Let me jump into the fray and add my two cents.

On cost:

The three biggest players in the NAND market are Samsung, Toshiba and Intel-Micron.

I think that there are a few reasons why the costs on NAND are still high

Samsung makes up something like 40% of the NAND market . Their 32nm process was a dud i.e. was underperforming compared to their older 42nm process. Just recently they finished tapping out a new 32nm flash design. So they should be coming back up. The problem is that Intel and Toshiba are poised to move to the 25nm process, where latest I have heard was that Samsung was still looking at the 28nm process.

Toshiba cut their supply by 30% back in early 2009 due to “weak demand.” But now in the first quarter of 2010, there is strong demand. I don’t know about anyone else but that sounds a bit like price fixing to me.

The savings grace was that the Intel-Micron venture lucked out with their 34nm design which is what we seen in a lot of the drives today.

The wild card could be GlobalFoundries because they are capable of making the 28nm flash.

On the, you don’t need 2TB.

This can be summed up with the old adage of network storage vs local storage, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think there was ever a best solution save for the thin client solution, which would be indicative of cloud computing.

On Hybrid drives:

The problem with Hybrid drives is that all of them are optimize after the fact and you would probably need more then 4GB to make a worthwhile unless all you plan of using is a very limited set of applications/OS, case in point I am on and off playing the Sim3 + addons that alone is over 9GB of space yet due to how modern games load, it would see a huge benefit from a SDD drive.

The best solution seems to be DIY (Do it Yourself) if you are going to require fast access then move that manually to the fastest drive.

If I wasn’t so lazy I would write a script to copy the contents to an SDD and then create a hard link to the location on the SDD so form the games/shortcut prospective its sill on the old slow drive but runs it on the SDD. And I can determine when it is no longer importate to run it on the SDD.

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The wild card could be GlobalFoundries because they are capable of making the 28nm flash.

I guess they'd rather build CPUs and GPUs with their limited fab capacity, as the win margins can be a lot higher here than for flash.

The problem with Hybrid drives is that all of them are optimize after the fact

Sorry, but what does that mean?

and you would probably need more then 4GB to make a worthwhile

Of course. But the decisive question is not "How much more expensive do I make the traditional HDD?" but rather "How much bigger and/or cheaper can I offer something that mostly performs like a high end SSD?". Think of it this way: currently we can have an 80 GB SSD for 200€ or 160 GB for 400€ and an HDD for 30 - 100€ and production cost for the larger HDDs is almost similar to the small ones. So offer the customer the 80 GB SSD attached to a 2 TB 3.5" platter drive for 300€. You're making a larger profit (since building the HDD doesn't cost 100€, no matter the size) and the customer is getting 1.84 GB more usable space for 100€ less. Isn't that a deal? Personally I'd aim for 16 or 32 GB caches at first, but manufacturers could be quite flexible here.

The best solution seems to be DIY (Do it Yourself) if you are going to require fast access then move that manually to the fastest drive.

Do you really think this is the best we can come up with? Have people fiddle around with their files and partitions and moving stuff around as they need it, possibly getting confused at some point and forget things? Wouldn't it be much better if we could come up with something that works quietly in the background, without any need for user intervention?

If I wasn’t so lazy I would write a script to copy the contents to an SDD and then create a hard link to the location on the SDD so form the games/shortcut prospective its sill on the old slow drive but runs it on the SDD. And I can determine when it is no longer importate to run it on the SDD.

I wanted to program something like this since some time. But not a script (too clumsy to change things), rather a user friendly GUI. My problem is I don't have experience with windows programming and am usually using Matlab, which is not exactly made for such tasks.

MrS

Edited by [ETA]MrSpadge

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The problem with Hybrid drives is that all of them are optimize after the fact

Sorry, but what does that mean?

I think he means that the software optimizes after the data has been called. So you don't get immediate benefit of the flash.

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MrSpadge']I guess they'd rather build CPUs and GPUs with their limited fab capacity, as the win margins can be a lot higher here than for flash.
Considering that Global Foundries has right now Five 200mm fabs and two 300mm fabs in production, one 300mm fab under construction and the only larger FAB company is intel, I would not discount it. http://www.globalfoundries.com/about/fast_facts.aspx
MrSpadge']Sorry, but what does that mean?
See Brians post above, he answered it.
MrSpadge']Of course. But the decisive question is not "How much more expensive do I make the traditional HDD?" but rather "How much bigger and/or cheaper can I offer something that mostly performs like a high end SSD?". Think of it this way: currently we can have an 80 GB SSD for 200€ or 160 GB for 400€ and an HDD for 30 - 100€ and production cost for the larger HDDs is almost similar to the small ones. So offer the customer the 80 GB SSD attached to a 2 TB 3.5" platter drive for 300€. You're making a larger profit (since building the HDD doesn't cost 100€, no matter the size) and the customer is getting 1.84 GB more usable space for 100€ less. Isn't that a deal? Personally I'd aim for 16 or 32 GB caches at first, but manufacturers could be quite flexible here.
Its probably not worth the effort, because by the time that such a drive is out there SDD will have fallen in price even more making it less justifiable for such a drive. A better short term solution would be to increase the the buffer size to a few GB, and then extend buffering the logic to maintain what it has just read in a FIFO and of course buffer the writes further.
MrSpadge']Do you really think this is the best we can come up with? Have people fiddle around with their files and partitions and moving stuff around as they need it, possibly getting confused at some point and forget things? Wouldn't it be much better if we could come up with something that works quietly in the background, without any need for user intervention?
The real solution is to let the OS and apps handle this because they should know before hand what is required or more importantly what should be required. A buffer knows nothing about how the files are related to each other. This the why prefeatching is not really used in the HHD, the best it can do is read the immediate sectors which may or may not contain valid data.
MrSpadge']I wanted to program something like this since some time. But not a script (too clumsy to change things), rather a user friendly GUI. My problem is I don't have experience with windows programming and am usually using Matlab, which is not exactly made for such tasks.

MrS

Brian We have your new pet project on how to make the most out of your SSD.

Edited by Mkruer

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@Fabs: I only thought of the former AMD fabs, my bad. Where did the others come from, by the way? Chartered? Anyway, the 200 mm fabs are currently doing 350 nm, 180 nm, 180 nm and 110 nm technology at best. If you don't want to sell your flash at a loss you have to start smaller than 30 nm nowadays, so I think they'd need to build a new fab(s) for this anyway. Not saying it's not going to happen, I just think it's unlikely. It's like the pig cycle in DRAM: if the win margin gets high enough due to demand meeting or exceeding supply then new players enter the game.

@The problem with Hybrid drives: that's true, upon first access you don't get the speed up. And this leads me directly to the next point: I don't think FIFO is going to cut it. It's too dumb, the benefit too small. By the way, is this how the first (unsuccessful) hybrid drives worked?

IMO the problem with strict FIFO are the following:

- access a file only once and it's buffered, possibly wasting write cycles if you never need it again

- access a large file once (say ripped blue ray video) and you flush your entire cache upon trying to buffer this one

- however, you may not need the flash speedup for such files at all (just playback in real time)

- a virus scan would flush the cache again, reducing the performance benefit and wasting write cycles

Did you read my previous post on how I think hybrid drives should work? It boils down to letting the OS handle it in a smart way, to create a cache of frequently accessed files rather than recently accessed files. Under Windows we've almost got all the neccessary ingredients (superfetch already knows what to cache). Judging by your next paragraph we seem to agree here. The difference is probably that you don't believe we could get such a solution in any timely manner, thus your suggested short term FIFO solution. Which I suppose would not really satisfy / convince people.

Its probably not worth the effort, because by the time that such a drive is out there SDD will have fallen in price even more making it less justifiable for such a drive.

That's why I'd really like hybrid drives to have a flash socket / slot. There'd had to be some standard, but once decided on this would open up some great opportunities:

- unite the HDD and SSD controller, these chips are not large anyway and thus you could save on packaging cost & space

- provide every hybrid drive with this controller (or 2 separate ones at first) and a socket for flash

- this way you'd separate the flash from the drive itself, essentially decoupling their production costs

- you can sell drives without flash and of course "pre configured" models

- for regular office machines flash sizes of 4 or 8 GB would probably be sufficient to hold any data and programs they need, whereas enthusiasts might want to go for 16 - 64 GB (whatever does not hurt the budget too much)

- this way users can be sure that they can easily upgrade the flash if:

  • they feel they need more
  • the price for more or faster flash has dropped considerably
  • the old flash is worn out

- furthermore you can easily recycle parts if one of them fails (HDD or SSD)

Obviously this requires some stability on the controller side.. but I'd expect e.g. the Intel G3 to be sufficient for such an application. For the customer this approach initially adds complexity. How much flash do I want / need? And at which speed? As there'd have to be a performance standard for the flash, which would evolve over time. But once that's decided it's pretty much "fire & forget". And if you underestimated your need for flash then it's not nearly as painful as waking up with an overfilled, very pricy pure SSD.

MrS

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MrSpadge' date='24 May 2010 - 01:00 PM' timestamp='1274698843' post='261926']

That's why I'd really like hybrid drives to have a flash socket / slot. There'd had to be some standard, but once decided on this would open up some great opportunities:

Interesting concept, but I think it is unlikely to happen. We'll just go SSD + 5x00rpm bulk storage route for now.

For it to make sense from HDD manufacturer's viewpoint, I think suitable flash cards should be on market already. Common flash cards are not up to the task performance/reliability wise, and the gap between them and SSDs seems to be just widening.

Also because it would have to be managed on OS level for the reasons you mentioned to properly make use of the cache, why add the flash slot on HDD when it could be plugged anywhere and its use would not be directly controlled by HDD anyway.

I've read Vista Readyboost only made a difference with minimal amount of RAM to do caching with. Perhaps Windows 7 Readyboost is better, but is it enough to make it really matter? I haven't tried it with either of them.

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There is a small problem when it comes to NAND memory. Per NAND chip you are only getting ~30MB/sec-35MB/sec write. This is far less then the worst HDD. From that standpoint HDD is better. now once you add a second NAND chip it scales almost linearly so you can double the write, to 60-70MB/Sec, better but still not as good as some HDD. Throw on the third chip and you go up again. Point being in the end by the time that you match parity you have in essence half HAVE an SSD drive.

Edited by Mkruer

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@MKruer: exactly, that's the point :)

A half SSD is one hell of a lot cheaper than a "full" SSD. Hybrid drives are about "getting away with less flash". And of course one mustn't use only one chip for the flash package in hybrid drives, as the data transfers have to be distributed among several channels (10 for Intel G2). That's why I'm only talking about one slot / socket per drive: it's got to contain several chip packages, one for each channel. Within each package (what you see if you look at a flash "chip") there are actually several chips, combined via e.g. Samsungs die stacking. So putting a smaller amount of memory into a package shouldn't be an issue, so that caches of 4 - 32 GB can still get the full amount of channels.

We'll just go SSD + 5x00rpm bulk storage route for now.

For now, yes. But if the SSD turns out to be too small we're either f*cked or have to buy something larger, right?

Good point about not having to put the cache into the HDD. It seems natural, but is not mandatory. Putting it onto the motherboard would be similar to Intels Robson technology, wouldn't it? Which has never really taken off.. maybe because the flash was not fast enough (single channel), making the possible speed up too small?

And ReadyBoost should in principle already be what I'm asking for, just with a separate drive / stick. The general consensus is that it doesn't help much. Maybe because people are trying it with USB 2 limited (single channel) thumb drives instead of say an Intel G2?

MrS

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Fixed my last post. There is a key word difference. The current low end drive has 5 chips, the average driver uses 10. So if we go to averages you have a 40GB SSD and a 500 HDD total cost of said drive will be ~$200 and this assumes low ends parts.

The biggest hold up on the SDD front is the SATA II connection. Replacing this with a SATA III will blow past the 300MB/s level and can max out the SATA III spec in short order. SATA III may be a short lived spec.

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http://www.anandtech.com/show/3734/seagates-momentus-xt-review-finally-a-good-hybrid-hdd

Finally a decent hybrid drive. Interestingly it uses 4GB of SLC flash, although this appears to be both to simply/reduce development time of the drive (and especially firmware), it only uses the flash for reads, and 4GB can be done on a single chip. It's also not terribly fast flash as far as ultimate sequential speeds go as it's a single channel, but for small blocks it should scream (which is why it finally helps!).

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It would really be no problem to put less flash into each package (by using less or smaller chips), so reaching the full 10 channels at 40 GB capacity is certainly possible. High end controller, high end flash - no compromise on performance as far as the SSD part goes. And a 500 GB HDD is just 1 platter nowadays. Using 2, 3 or even 4 does not really increase HDD cost, so you could have 40 GB of flash and 500 GB HDD for say 190€ or 40 GB + 2 TB for 210€ (if they'd sell it at that price is a totally different question).

You're right in that initially the overall cost with "enough" (high performance) flash will hardly get below 200€. But is that necessary to beat current SSDs? For the same price you could get an 80 GB SSD or a 2 TB Hybrid. I tend to think the OP would rather have the larger drive (if it performs as it should) and not worry about storage any more ;)

@Continuum: there's also a review by SR. Though I must admit I also saw and read Anandtech first :P

MrS

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Interesting to compare the (so far) two possibilities for hybrid systems.

1. each drive has flash read (and maybe someday write) cache (Momentus XT)

2. controller has single pool of flash for read and write cache (ZFS, Adaptec MaxIQ)

The first case is, by far, the one most attractive for most consumers. Most people couldn't/wouldn't run ZFS on their PC, and the Adaptec cards are > $1k each. The second case has the advantage that you can pick and, if necessary, adjust the size and type of the flash cache. Also, they support write caches.

An interesting downside of the 2nd option is that your flash cache is limited in speed by SATA. An Adaptec MaxIQ card with a large disk array under it and a single X-25E for read cache might get *worse* streaming performance from the X-25 than it would from the disk array. It only takes 5 or 6 mediocre disks to yield read rates > 250MB/sec. In my use case, I am interested in the performance for large (~1MB) random reads. Again, here I get better performance from 7-10 SATA disks than I could from a single SSD.

With the first option, your total aggregate flash cache in an array operates in parallel, so you can have very, very high rates. An array of 10 XTs (which would have 40GB of SLC cache. . .not bad) could likely saturate the controller or PCIe bus for in-cache reads of medium block sizes.

For a $$$ system, using a PCIe flash drive (fusion-io, OCZ z-drive) as cache could have the best of both worlds. The Adaptec won't support that; I'm not sure about ZFS (I think it will?).

Meanwhile, there's the issue of defragmentation. For the XT and Adaptec systems, this would render their caches and tables fairly useless; it remains to be seen how quickly they recover. I would hope that ZFS knows what it's doing and can keep things straight while it defrags.

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Continuum: there's also a review by SR. Though I must admit I also saw and read Anandtech first :P
What, Storagereview reviews harddisks??? No wai!!! ;)

Anandtech or some other review also ran their tests 3 times to show the effects of the 4GB SLC cache and how it changed things...

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personally, i think hybrids are the thing of the future. my buddy and i have a running bet... he says SSDs will replace all mechanical drives. i say hybrids will be as close as they will ever get to main stream adoption. the need for mass storage in the multi terabytes for the home user is increasing exponentially every year. SSD's will always be "second class." it is a stop-gap until something better...

mechanical drives will always be the choice for mass storage until something is invented beyond current technology. until quantum singularity's store my data at an event horizon, or organic media, or crystal storage.

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