Intel says SSDs will reach total cost of ownership crossover with hard disk drives in 2022. It’s also launching new SSDs, and sees PLC – that’s five bits per cell – NAND being used in its future SSDs. This was discussed briefly by intel at their last storage conference. This leaves the hype of Optane for a longer term consideration as to whether it will ever find its way into gaming rigs.

Power consumption in large data centers is brutal. Many are provisioned with 8 megawatts of power so any move to reduce the power bill gets a lot of attention fast. SSD power consumption is lower than hard disks on a per TB basis.

Intel sells a lot of SSD servers to corporate users. Consumer rigs get the leftovers, but the new PCL class SSD should be able to lower the cost of SSD storage to near hard disk levels in a few more years. Earlier a report on price declines showed 4TB hard disks down to $99 shipped in Canada.

Hard disk prices are lower than ever and small capacity SSD are making it more affordable for entry level desktop users. The AMD A320 has one M.2 slot as does the B350. The larger X470 has dual M.2 slots which makes it capable of more SSD storage than the entry level motherboards.

The larger server SSD use the same PCIe x4 interface but the are wider and longer. With more NAND chips they can reach higher capacity than the M.2 2280 seen in the typical PC.

  • Intel
  • Samsung
  • Micron
  • SK Hynix

All of the big players are mass producing NAND chips. The small SSD players usually get SSD chips on tapes and use a pick and place machine. The quality and reliability of even the lot cost SSD are excellent.

Given Intel suggesting SSD will decline to hard disks in based on the observation that capacity increases have slowed substantially. The improvements in SSD manufacture seem to be surfacing almost monthly.

The consumer is justified at expecting to have an eventual 8TB M.2 SSD in their rigs come late 2022 as QLC and PLC NAND enter into mass production. Samsung has been producing TLC NAND which has better endurance but the capacity of existing Samsung 980 Pro M.2 NVMe is still limited to 1TB maximum. The Intel 660p 2TB has room for more NAND suggesting a 4TB model is possible.

Most likely by 2025 the storage picture will be different from what exists in 2020. The crystal ball is only do good. One thing for sure as patents expire prices tend to fall rapidly.

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