Not logged in
Log in now
Create an account
Subscribe to LWN
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 23, 2013
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
The Tux3 filesystem returns
Posted Jan 1, 2013 23:36 UTC (Tue) by dgm (subscriber, #49227)
Posted Jan 2, 2013 0:19 UTC (Wed) by man_ls (subscriber, #15091)
This may look like a very long time, but please look at the facts. Standard SSDs are 128 GB, while standard HDDs are 500 GB. Apple e.g. overcharges €300 to have a 256 GB SDD, and €800 for 512 GB; street prices for the latter are at least €300~800. I assume the most expensive disks are worth their higher price in reliability, as in HDDs there is no appreciable price difference. People often need those 500 GB and will buy an external HDD if the internal SSD cannot have them, moving the spinning rust outside the main unit but not eliminating it.
Best case, Moore's Law would suggest a 1/2 price drop every 1.5 years, so it would take about 6 years for SSDs to reach current HDD prices. And HDDs are also getting better all the time, so in 6 years we would probably be looking at 1 GB HDDs as the standard. Say in 7.5 years SSDs reach price parity with HDDs; still it would take an upgrade cycle to remove all the legacy HDDs, which we can optimistically set to 4 years. Again, 12 years.
And this is just in the first world...
Posted Jan 2, 2013 4:50 UTC (Wed) by daniel (subscriber, #3181)
-- Sent from my Desire Z, Powered by Linux
Posted Jan 2, 2013 21:31 UTC (Wed) by cmccabe (guest, #60281)
Even in 2012, if a laptop didn't have an SSD, it wasn't high-end. Similarly for a database box.
Remember that most desktop users aren't running Linux with a minimal desktop environment. They're running some iteration of Windows. For a lot of these users, adding more cores won't help them go faster, since the giant precompiled binaries they run can't (yet) use all the cores. Adding an SSD always helps, though. That's why users are buying SSDs in droves.
Hard drive prices also never quite recovered from the flooding in Thailand. This shouldn't really be surprising: why should manufacturers plow more investment into a dying technology?
Hard drives will remain relevant for a while for people who want to store huge amounts of data. But they'll be a specialty item, like liquid-cooled cases or CRT monitors (remember those?) In 5 to 10 years, talking about hard drives will immediately identify you as an old person, just like reminiscing about those blurry CRT monitors we stared at in our youth.
Posted Jan 2, 2013 22:26 UTC (Wed) by man_ls (subscriber, #15091)
I see nothing in your links that contradicts what I am saying. The first article acknowledges that SSD prices are about $1/GB, while HDDs are $0.05~0.10/GB -- about 10~20 times lower. The second link states that HDDs will not recover until next year, hardly the time frames we are talking about.
A low end laptop is about €500, and a cheap 500 GB SDD is bound to cost almost that much. Until a comparable SSD costs about 10% of the laptop price it will not be a replacement -- people will just have an external HDD for bulk data. As to the high end, you can redefine it to be "laptop with SSD", but if you look around you will see plenty of €1000+ models with an HDD -- starting with the lower MacBook Pro. There are also many models with a 128 GB SSD, but at 1/4th the capacity they are hardly a replacement.
We are just not there yet, sadly. A breakthrough may come and shorten the time frame, but I don't think that TLCs are it: they will just lower the reliability and may give the whole SSD category a bad name. Not even high-temperature NAND annealing will help as it is (from your first link) at least 10 years off. Perhaps we can agree on a time frame of about a decade until HDDs become a rarity.
Posted Jan 2, 2013 23:02 UTC (Wed) by martinfick (subscriber, #4455)
Posted Jan 3, 2013 3:32 UTC (Thu) by cmccabe (guest, #60281)
There was a time when graphics accelerators were unheard-of and everyone just used onboard video. But graphics accelerators didn't have to reach price parity with onboard video to win. They just had to become the best choice for most users. (Nowadays, onboard video is making a comeback due to some excellent chipsets from Intel, but that's another story...)
To sum up: in laptops, phones, music players, and tablets, hard drives are either entirely phased out or nearly there. HDDs will be with us for a while on desktops and servers, but mostly as the new tape drive.
I wonder what kind of performance Tux3 will get on SSD. SSDs do benefit from larger contiugous writes as opposed to small, scattered writes. So to the extent Tux3 can provide that with its deferred I/O mechanism, SSDs will benefit. Of course, SSD firmwares also try to accomplish the same general goal of write coalescing. So there is a risk of burning CPU on something that firmware is already doing.
Posted Jan 3, 2013 7:27 UTC (Thu) by daniel (subscriber, #3181)
Posted Jan 3, 2013 22:50 UTC (Thu) by bronson (subscriber, #4806)
A perfect description of the emerging FTL insanity. Great quote.
Copyright © 2013, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds