Solid state drives (SSDs) have been “next year’s great technology” for about six years now. Each year it seems that all it would take would be some economies of scale, and we could cast off the shackles of mechanical “spinning disk” technology for good. Unfortunately, another year has come and gone, and still SSDs are too little for too much…
I have been following the development of solid state drives (SSD) for what seems like decades. The advantages of no moving parts and virtually zero random access latency are compelling, but the prices and capacities have not been where I needed them to be for practical use. That is nearly no longer true and SSDs are entering the mass market level for some particular purposes (notably laptops). Naturally, since it is on the leading edge, I’m all over it: I just bought a 128 GB SSD on my own dime for my work laptop.
Everyone is talking about SSDs replacing hard drives, if not today than Real Soon Now. On the surface, solid state drives have a lot going for them: no moving parts, potentially very dense storage, and the possibility for low power consumption. The main things stopping me, at least, from seriously considering an SSD in my machines until recently were price and capacity. The cheapest SSDs cost something like $600 for 64 gigabytes: a normal hard drive might costs $200 for 500 gigabytes of storage, making SSDs easily ten times the price of mechanical hard drives on a per gigabyte basis.
But solid state drives obviously have an advantage in terms of reliability and power consumption, right? So all I have to do is wait for the inevitable drop in price/increase in capacity that Moore’s law suggests and I’ll be set. Maybe… or maybe not.