SSD shipments spike in 2013
February 7, 2014 | 10:48
Sales of solid-state drives nearly doubled in the last year, with market watcher IHS iSuppli claiming that shipments of the units rose by 82 per cent in 2013 as prices continued to fall.
The benefits of solid-state storage are obvious: SSDs are silent, low-power, far more likely to survive a heavy impact while operating and considerably faster. They do have a few negative points to consider, however: a limited lifespan, high cost-per-gigabyte and smaller capacities than the spinning-rust drives they are working to supplant.
Recently, however, SSDs have been getting cheaper and the market has responded accordingly. IHS iSuppli's latest figures for the storage market claim an increase of 82 per cent in SSD shipments for the year just ended, although that massive boost doesn't appear to have come at a major cost to traditional devices with mechanical hard drives dropping just five per cent over the same period.
The biggest loser in the storage market, however, was optical drives: despite increased interest in high-definition content, which for many will only ever be available on physical storage thanks to draconian data allowances and slow internet connectivity, shipments of optical drives dropped by 12 per cent over the year - a continuing slide, the company notes.
'The SSD sector is easily the most promising, compared to a struggling HDD segment that remains huge but is still trying to find its footing in a shifting environment,' noted IHS analyst Fang Zhang in the company's report, 'or to the more beleaguered [optical drive] space that’s now become irrelevant.'
The growth in SSD shipments is expected to continue, with the company predicting a further 50 per cent increase this year despite a struggling market for desktops and laptops. Mechanical drives will continue to account for the majority of the market, however, with the company predicting sales of 397 million drives in 2017 compared to just 190 million SSDs.