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With HDDs On The Ropes, Samsung Predicts SSD Price Collisions As NVMe Takes Over

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InvalidError

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Even if both AMD and Intel launched something new, it does not change the fact that most people with a Sandy Bridge or newer won't be swayed by incremental performance increases. My i5-3470 is now four years old and I foresee no reason to even think of upgrading it in the foreseeable future. With my past PCs, four years was the absolute limit before I ran into a hard CPU, memory or IO bottleneck that forced me to upgrade to maintain my sanity.

Sounds like a natural consequence of the general PC market slow-down: most people don't look into upgrades until they need them and mainstream use gives most people few to no reasons to upgrade anymore.
 

thundervore

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I have a 3770K and a Z77 motherboard and 16GB of RAM. I don't see myself upgrading until at least 2020 my motherboard, CPU or RAM.

My SSD however I may upgrade from a 120GB to maybe a 512 NVMe with PCIe express adapter.

Honestly, I have no intention to upgrade until PCIe 4.0, USB 4.0, a new SATA speed standard or new NVMe speed.

I do find it funny how SATA Express came and vanished like a fart in the wind. it was there one second now its like SATA express what?
 

PaulAlcorn

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Funny you mention that, there are some VR-specific SSDs coming to market soon. Probably more marketing than anything, I doubt there are any real VR_specific tweaks, but so it goes.

We need a meme... Brace yourself...VR SSDs are coming.
 

PaulAlcorn

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Yeah, definitely DOA. Power consumption is a big issue with faster SATA, so they abandoned 12Gb/s.

 

3ogdy

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:) Yeah, you're right, but it's also the fact that usually a new CPU involves getting new motherboard and probably new RAM too, which is far from the drop-in upgrade the SSD is. One could easily upgrade any computer with a SATA port from a 5.4K/7.2K RPM HDD to an SSD. Capacity doesn't really matter that much if the end-user can keep other HDDs in the system and still enjoy fast boot times and great app response. No wonder people are more interested in SSDs than in upgrading CPU for marginal improvements because thanks Intel and AMD. It's better that way. Older systems enjoy a higher value this way and people spend their money on something else. VR might change things a bit, but it remains to be seen.
 

3ogdy

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You're right about interface generations seldom making it worth upgrading rather than marginal IPC improvements no casual PC gamer would really take advantage of.

The SATA Express part, though, LOL...that's so true - they were all over it like "OH WOW WOW WOW, now you can get better performance with this approach and this and that..." Where's the SATA Express adoption? Under the ground. Nobody cared. M.2 FTW, as it seems.
That was, in part, because SATA Express required newer SB / chip implementations - one needed a motherboard that specifically supported SATA Express. In that case, I'd rather go down the M.2 path.

SATA's death is not necessarily imminent, as SSD prices are still stupidly high. They're still absurd, especially compared to HDDs, but nevertheless even without the comparison, these things aren't cheap for the capacity. Not in a world where everyone upgrades codecs and increases resolutions and games become bigger, video files become huge and so on. That's what HDDs are betting on: further file size increases that can give them an edge over SSDs, in $/GB ratio. Let's not forget data stored on flash is apparently not that easily recoverable as data from magnetic media seems to be (if "easily" is even the right adverb for this)
 

3ogdy

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Exactly. Everyone and their momma wants a piece of the hot cake that SSDs seem to be now.
VR SSDs, Triple Screen SSDs, Pokémon SSDs, Anti-NSA SSDs, Pope-Optimized SSDs with the Pope's golden signature on them for the ones who listen to religious music and pray all day long. They come white but the more pornography one watches and the more piracy one is involved in, they get darker and darker until they burn, just like one's soul would burn in hell for such incredible sins.
I'd be surprised if Trump and Clinton don't end up having their own SSD models on the market, for duck's sake.

 


The actual reason has been brewing much longer than that. There hasn't been a major jump in CPU performance since sandy bridge, nor has there been much consumer need for more performance.

Also, Kaby Lake is due out Q4, machines are already available for pre-order.

*edit* just now noticed InvalidError essentially posted my answer. repped :)
 

RomeoReject

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Is there a mechanical reason why they couldn't simply scale up SATA connections? If 6GBps is too little, couldn't they find some method of simply hooking up two of them to one drive, or some such thing? Seems weird to suddenly give up on SATA when it works well still.

(Please note, I'm not an expert on these things, and there's likely a really obvious reason, I just don't know)
 

chicofehr

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My problem with the newer connector types like nvme is you have to attach it directly to the circuit board. This is a big no to me. I got plenty of room in my case and being limited to where i put my ssd is not acceptable. Most riser cables are so short and useless. I'm probably the only one who noticed this. Oh well.
 

InvalidError

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Have you looked at the back of a 2.5" SSD? All the space is already used up by SATA power and the regular SATA data connection. There is no room for a second SATA data connector. Increasing the lane count would also increase the pin count on the chipset and eat into the PCIe/USB/SATA/etc. port budget. Sticking with SATA also means sticking with an extra layer of protocol encapsulation, which increases overhead in the OS and SSD. Sticking to the legacy ATA-derived interface for SSDs makes little sense. NVMe is a bit like the Vulkan/DX12 of storage interfaces: cuts out a large chunk of the unnecessary or redundant middleware to provide a lower overhead interface between software and hardware.
 

Tanyac

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As a single unit boot drive, sure. As a replacement for large volumes of data storage. Not yet. I have 40TB of spinners running. The price of replacing that is absolutely staggering. But even if the costs were sensible, it still wouldn't be possible.

What motherboard supports, or could even support, around a dozen M.2 connections? PCie constraints make this currently impossible.

So HDDs aren't going anywhere in the short term
 

synphul

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I've seen it referenced that hdd's have a floor of about $40 regardless of their size. If that's true then many must be selling hdd's at a loss. A quick glance at pcpartpicker shows 17 hdd models from various brands ranging from 250gb to 1tb all at 7200rpm under $40 retail. If we remove the 7200rpm requirement that number climbs to 30 drives 250gb or more capacity, it just doesn't seem logical that the base price for 'even a 1gb' hdd as many are saying costs at least $40.

I've also heard it mentioned from various sources that the reason ssd's are taking over is they don't have to spend 'all that money' on mechanical parts. Something is costing more because the price/capacity ratio even for 'budget' ssd's in the 240gb range is still 3x more than a mechanical drive. So either ssds aren't cost effective as mechanical in spite of 'mechanical parts costs' or we're getting ripped off.

While it may be true that many users in the real world don't 'need' 1tb of storage and a smaller 128gb-240gb ssd would suffice, it's also true that in the real world ssd's don't offer that much performance over hdd's when used for brief burst operations. Only under sustained long data transfers are the speeds really pronounced.

They are smaller and do offer a bit more in terms of battery life and shock resistance so there are other factors. Boot up times for mobile devices is also a perk but doesn't apply to all systems. Not every device is a mobile one. Even then bootup times are considered to be 30-40s for a mechanical drive and I'm not sure which 5400rpm drive people are using. I've had both laptops and desktops using 7200rpm drives where they booted in under 30s. Taking the slowest possible hdd and using it to represent the competition is a bit of a skewed conclusion.

The only time it's taken me longer than 30s to get to the desktop, usable, is when installing some sort of update package which isn't entirely on the drive it's software interaction. Any background process or virus can significantly slow down hardware, it's not a testament to hardware performance.

The market is definitely pushing all the 'benefits' of ssd and marketing them like mad but that's to be expected. Someone talking up the very latest widget they're selling isn't entirely a new concept, it's how business works.
 

InvalidError

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Regardless of a HDD's capacity, you still need a motor for the spindle and actuator arm, those motors require permanent magnets and a stiff enclosure to maintain alignment, bearings, driving circuits, control electronics, etc. Many HDDs below 1TB today are 1TB HDDs firmware-limited to a lower capacity.

With the number of HDD manufacturers that have either gone bankrupt or merged with other companies in the last few years to avoid bankruptcy, it shouldn't be that surprising that they are struggling with current entry-level drive prices. The DRAM market has had many similar bankruptcies and mergers thanks to the periodic collapse of DRAM prices.
 

PaulAlcorn

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I just checked it out, I could only find two that are SATA 6Gb/s below $40, and both are $39. The rest are all SATA 3Gb/s, which says a lot.

Perhaps I should have noted the floor is "around" $40 for a "modern" HDD. Of course, there will always be sales and whatnot, particularly when they are trying to unload units that won't move or refurbs, but in most cases they are ~$40. I think +/- $2.00 is splitting hairs. They still are rare, in either case.

 

bit_user

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Mount SSD Spews Forth Capacious SSDs, 3D TLC NAND To Blame
Had to puzzle over this, for a few seconds, until I realized you were using a volcano analogy. Mount is a traditional term for mapping a filesystem for access (like mapping a drive letter, on Windows).

You'll have to excuse the split charts; Samsung chose to show off its 100 foot-long (well, that's an estimate) LCD (OLED?) screen, so it wasn't possible to get the chart and legend in one frame.
Finally, a use case for recording something in 360 degrees!

And how were there any NVMe SSDs, in 2014? I guess they were PCIe add-in cards?

The venerable SATA interface has hit a performance brick wall, and there is no plan for a new, faster revision.
It's a matter of semantics, whether you consider SATAe an extension of SATA or something new. True, it drops SATA signalling for PCIe, but it keeps backward compatibility (at the host side).

Anyway, with Samsung achieving such dominance, the stakes of an unstable DPRK are just a little bit higher, for the world.
 

PaulAlcorn

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They started in AIC form factors, mainly on the enterprise side. The first, Samsung's XS1715, came in 2013.

The SATA committee decided not to move forward with a faster version that uses the SATA bus, instead the only way to get the full speed of SATAe is over PCIe. It is backwards compatible, and it even supports NVMe, but I consider SATAe as DOA (as does the industry at large). There isn't a single storage device (that I'm aware of) that you can buy, though there are ports on mobo's for quite a while now (a few years).

WD did a bit of a song and dance with a combined HDD and SSD protoype at Computex/Storage Visions a few years back, but it didn't go anywhere. Even the demo was unimpressive.
 

bit_user

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SATA_Express

You get a host-side connector that can do either 2x SATA3 or SATAe.

To the nay-sayers, in this thread, I think it's too early to say this won't catch on, especially as the market transitions away from SATA. Looking at it from the other side, people running SSD RAIDs don't need PCIe x4 slots for each drive - it burns PCIe lanes and the host controller won't be able to keep up with it, anyway.
 

synphul

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I know things are moving toward ssd, forward moving is sometimes the result of tech and other factors rather than other things. We're seeing ssd's move to cheaper and cheaper nand, ditching the higher quality mlc for tlc and qlc. Now they're going dram-less. Prices are still yet to fall somewhere near hdd prices. It's understandable that xyz parts cost money, all parts cost money.

The argument for ssd's is that hdd's use expensive mechanical parts and with ssd's you're paying less on hardware, more on actual memory space. I buy that. On the flip side, ssd's still have poor capacity to price ratio at the end of the day and still cost the same as hdd's so those 'features' that should give us a cost savings aren't.

You can't very well say well the housing and motors and actuators and platters are why hdd's cost so much when making the point for ssd's when hdd's are still cheaper. The real story is that even while using all those mechanical parts, hdd's are still cheaper than ssd's. Just because the cost of an ssd isn't in mechanical components doesn't mean it's not on other things like nand which are much more expensive.

The want the hdd market to finally die and go away then they need to give us an equal viable alternative. Reliable storage with similar hdd capacities and similar prices. Not just force them out by no longer offering an hdd option on prebuilt devices and forcing the market in the direction they want like they did with crt and lcd. Naturally something becomes the superior product when choices are controlled and artificially limited. For those people with media collections, movie storage, gamers etc need room and ssd's fall very short in that regard especially given their price. They're going to have to do much better than 240gb for $70-80.

The last time we paid those kind of prices for that amount of storage was in 2005, 2006. Granted ssd's use less power, are smaller form factor and faster but when you need the space you need the space. Skyrim doesn't care if your drive runs 3tb/s data access. If it can't hold more than 10-20gb of data, you're sol. That's not a small snag in the overall picture, room for data is as important if not more so than speed. Speed matters little if it doesn't fit which is why we're not all replacing our minivans with 200mph motorcycles. In terms of cost/storage we've made performance improvements but in terms of cost/gb all this new tech has set us back a decade. Right back to paying $70-80 for 240gb of space.
 

bit_user

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Try actually following the links to be sure these products are in stock and not refurbs or include mail-in rebates. Some might really be on clearance and sold as a loss. This doesn't change Paul's point about how cheaply they can be sold in volume.

On Newegg, it's as Paul says. New models start at about $40.
 

synphul

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Modern or not I don't see where sata version matters much. Whether 3gb/s or 6gb/s since even a 'modern' hdd won't saturate sata 3gb/s. Being capable of running on a newer sata revision doesn't make a modern 7200rpm drive any faster than an 'old' one. At least not in a single drive setup. A hard drive being spec'd as a sata3 is no faster than a sata2 drive, at best they run around 200mb/s sustained transer and sata2 already supports up to 300mb/s. I'm unaware of any 'modern' mechanical drives at 7200rpm that can sustain more than 300mb/s necessitating sata3 specs.
 

synphul

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More places than newegg sell hardware. I followed the first link, a seagate 250gb 7200rpm drive and 'modern' sata3. $22.24 shipped.
http://pcpartpicker.com/product/vKtCmG/seagate-internal-hard-drive-st3250312as
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004IZN492/?tag=pcpapi-20

There's a newer version available, $34 shipped. Nothing about a refurb.
https://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Desktop-3-5-Inch-Internal-ST250DM000/dp/B005CT56XU/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

A wd 250gb 7200rpm sata3, $34 shipped. Not a refurb. Of course it's an older model, we're talking 250gb mechanical drives. Most have been replaced by 1tb drives which only emphasises my point that in light of lower capacity, ssd's are moving backwards.
http://pcpartpicker.com/product/vfzv6h/western-digital-internal-hard-drive-wd2500aakx
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00461K1QW/?tag=pcpapi-20

The next drive on the pcpartpicker lists is also a seagate, 250gb, 7200rpm, sata3, not a refurb or 'sale'.

There's no real advantage to sata3 vs sata2 for hdd's, these aren't refurbs or special sales. Newegg does have higher prices but that means little. They don't hold a monopoly on pc hardware sales. I'm betting if I buy tp at Macy's I'll spend more than I would for the same thing at Walmart. Macy's having a high price on an item doesn't dictate that's what the market retail is across the nation, it just means they have high prices.

Most people shop around. Especially if it means the difference between buying the same drive from amazon for $34 vs paying $47.50 at newegg, that's just common sense. I like newegg but not enough to pay 40% more for it.
 
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