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Has price now become an argument for getting an SSD?

QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,262
In the early days of SSDs, they were so expensive that most people ruled them out just because of the price tag.  Performance wasn't great at first, but then came the Intel X25-M, followed by a bunch of SSDs based on the Indilinx Barefoot controller.  By the end of 2009, there were a number of good SSDs on the market.  SandForce would launch a good, new controller the next year, and later Samsung, Phison, and others would figure out how to make a good SSD controller.

I bought my first SSD in 2009.  It cost $300.  It was 120 GB, which means that the Windows installation alone needed a considerable chunk of it.  And that was a good deal at the time.  The same price tag for an Intel SSD would have gotten 80 GB.  There were larger SSDs, but for most people, even if you bought an SSD, you'd also need a hard drive to get the capacity you need.  The SSD was an extra expense, not a replacement for a hard drive.

Fast forward a decade and things have changed.  Let's look at New Egg pricing, and restrict to new drives sold directly by New Egg.  For hard drives, that pointedly excludes some refurbished "White Label" drives, as well as some very old models sold by EOL Tech.  After all, if you're buying a drive that is going to be your primary drive for a computer, those are really not what you want.

The cheapest hard drive available on New Egg is now $38.  That's not the cheapest of some particular capacity.  That's the cheapest of any capacity, and without regard to speed or form factor.  The second cheapest is $43, and it goes up from there.  That's a 500 GB drive, so it's pretty small as hard drives go.

The cheapest SSD on New Egg is $22.  That's a lot cheaper than the cheapest hard drive.  If you just need some cheap drive that will work, an SSD is actually cheaper than a hard drive.  The reason is that you can't make a working hard drive with fewer than one platter.  Having all of the mechanical things in place to make a working hard drive with one platter costs a fair bit of money, and that's as cheap as they can make it.  But you can readily make an SSD with fewer or lower capacity NAND chips.  A PCB, an SSD controller, and some other bits cost money, too, but it's a lot less than the basic cost intrinsic to building a hard drive.

Now, that cheap SSD is only 120 GB, which for most people, is just not enough.  But you can get a 240 GB SSD for $27.  That's still a lot cheaper than a hard drive, and for a lot of people, that is plenty of space.  That won't be enough for a lot of gamers, but still, for a cheap desktop, it's actually cheaper to use an SSD instead of a hard drive.

If we insist on 512 GB to roughly match the size of that cheap hard drive, then the cheapest SSD is now $40.  That's only a $2 price premium over a hard drive.  And half a terabyte will be enough for a lot of people, including a lot of gamers.  That's what I've got in my desktop, for example.

That means that we've now reached the point where there's really no case at all for buying a hard drive unless you need more than half a terabyte of capacity.  As capacities go up, hard drives can be more attractive, of course.  The costs intrinsic to a hard drive with a single platter don't change much if you make that single platter much higher capacity.  Thus, you can get a 1 TB hard drive for $45, or 2 TB for $55.  Both of those price tags are available from either Seagate or Western Digital.

But reasonable storage capacity needs for consumers haven't scaled up nearly as fast as hardware capacity.  If it had scaled like hardware, doubling every two years, that 30 GB large game installation a decade ago would be closer to 1 TB for a game today.  It wouldn't surprise me if there are games that need over 100 GB, but I'm not aware of any.  A lot of games, especially low budget indie games, are only a few GB, or in the low tens of GB.  So that 500 GB of capacity today is about as likely to be enough for you as 240 GB was a decade ago.

But even needing a lot of capacity doesn't necessarily mean that you need a hard drive.  You can now get a 1 TB SSD for $80, which is nearly the same price as getting 1 TB in total from a hard drive and SSD combination.  If you need 2 TB, you could get two of them for $160, at which point you're finally paying a meaningful premium for SSD speed.  But 2 TB is a lot of space, and that's still not that expensive.

So you see why Western Digital and Seagate are concerned about the hard drive market mostly going away.  Western Digital has gotten into the SSD market via buying SanDisk, but they're not nearly as big of a player in the SSD market as they have been for decades in hard drives.  Seagate has some SSDs, but they're just one of many partners buying and integrating a controller and NAND from other vendors.

For years, most people needed a hard drive rather than going SSD-only just because of the price.  That argument has been diminishing in potency for a number of years now.  Today, for most people, it should be gone.
mmolouGdemami

Comments

  • OzmodanOzmodan Member EpicPosts: 9,545
    Well for my new build I put in a 2TB hard drive along with a 1TB SSD.  Steam library with just active games on it is almost 2TB right now.  Everytime I get a game I end up deleting an old one.  I thought about 4TB hard drives, but I do not want to fool with a non windows driver to use one.  So yes, large hard drives are relevant still and will be for some time. 
    Sensai
  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,871
    I don't compare hdd and ssd storage directly anymore because I use them for different purposes. SSD storage is for daily use and hdd storage is for backups and files I don't need much.

    My main 2 Samsung SSD are pooled together in a 1.8TB logical volume. There is a third LITEON 256GB SSD with it's own mount point and a 1TB WD hdd I use for backups and storage. I also have a 3TB WD MyCloud (hdd drives) I use for spare network storage, redundent backup, or archiving old backup sets when I need to create a new one.

    Everything runs on the SSDs - OS, Steam, games, software, files, etc. because the relative cost is irrelevant to me. The absolute fixed cost of running SSDs is reasonable enough to me that the benefits outweigh the expense.
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  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 6,855
    edited November 8
    The way I use SSDs is largely unchanged. As SSD prices have come down, the baseline storage that I'm putting into builds has crept up just a bit. I'm still using the standard SSD + HDD for nearly everything.

    It's true that SSDs up to about 2T have become reasonably priced. You can still get 2T of spinner for cheaper than 2T of SSD, but it's hard to get an adequately sized SSD + HDD for less than just a single 2T SSD anymore. That means builds that need more than 2T of storage are still better off with SSD + HDD, but for builds that only need up to 2T -- yeah, no reason to even look a spinners down that low any longer.

    That being said, for most of my builds, I'm still looking at 512-1TB SSDs for main drive, and 3-4TB (or more if needed, but typically it's not) for a HDD for bulk storage.

    On my personal gaming rig, I'm still running a 512G SSD that I've had in there for a few years now (Samsung 850 EVO circa 2015) - still going strong, but I have upgraded the bulk drive several times. I started with a 3T, moved to a 4T about 2 years later, then added the 3 back with the 4 a year later, and just recently migrated the spinners over to a single 10T.

    I do still manually shuffle games to the SSD when I'm actively playing them - I have room for 3-4 at any given time, and at the rate that I play them that's not very often that I shuffle things around. 

    Post edited by Ridelynn on
  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,086
    I think the argument is now on longevity of some of the nVME drives. Something like the Intel 660 is cheap for its performance, but there is this aura that it won't last long.
    Realistically, with the ability to backup your entire drive over a cloud service. I think the risk of data failure is reduced. 
  • VrikaVrika Member EpicPosts: 5,928
    edited November 8
    Cleffy said:
    I think the argument is now on longevity of some of the nVME drives. Something like the Intel 660 is cheap for its performance, but there is this aura that it won't last long.
    Realistically, with the ability to backup your entire drive over a cloud service. I think the risk of data failure is reduced. 
    Something like Intel 660p has 5 years warranty

    Verkkokauppa.com shows they've had to repair between 0,56% to 0,9% of the Intel 660p's they've sold, depending on model.

    Source for repair rates (only in Finnish):
      https://www.verkkokauppa.com/fi/product/71149/mkcfx/Intel-660p-M-2-SSD-512-Gt-SSD-kovalevy/lisatiedot?list=OZCYkR5tQT55xclK5xuoy5xc98ZWY9Oq
     https://www.verkkokauppa.com/fi/product/76785/mkcgd/Intel-660p-M-2-SSD-1-Tt-SSD-kovalevy/lisatiedot?list=OZCYkR5xclK5xuoy5xc98x
     
  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,303
    I bought a very well reviewed 1TB SSD yesterday for $89.

    I was getting to the point where I had to uninstall a game to install a new one, so I checked prices and was shocked how much they've come down just in two years.
    RidelynnOzmodanAsm0deus
  • Asm0deusAsm0deus Member EpicPosts: 3,027
    edited November 13
    Torval said:
    I don't compare hdd and ssd storage directly anymore because I use them for different purposes. SSD storage is for daily use and hdd storage is for backups and files I don't need much.

    My main 2 Samsung SSD are pooled together in a 1.8TB logical volume. There is a third LITEON 256GB SSD with it's own mount point and a 1TB WD hdd I use for backups and storage. I also have a 3TB WD MyCloud (hdd drives) I use for spare network storage, redundent backup, or archiving old backup sets when I need to create a new one.

    Everything runs on the SSDs - OS, Steam, games, software, files, etc. because the relative cost is irrelevant to me. The absolute fixed cost of running SSDs is reasonable enough to me that the benefits outweigh the expense.
    This you can't really compare HDD and SSD anymore as they are not IMO meant to be used for same things.

    SSD's to run your OS, games and programs and HDD for storage.  To go further I put movies music pics etc into the storage department, some people take it further and use a NAS this IMO is all HDD territory.

    For ssd welp some like one bigger drive where I like to split it up a little and have a smaller drive just for my OS and maybe a some other basic programs and then maybe another ssd for gaming etc.

    Brenics ~ Just to point out I do believe Chris Roberts is going down as the man who cheated backers and took down crowdfunding for gaming.

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  • RobokappRobokapp Member RarePosts: 6,122
    i use worldcommunitygrid. It eventually kills the drive due to constant writing and rewriting. HDDs can take it much better. Hell, some people use WCG out of their flash drive...

    image

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 34,514
    edited November 13
    Apologies, but every time this thread comes back to the top my minds eye sees "an STD" instead of an SSD.

     :) 
    QuizzicalRidelynn

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