Unlike this, Hard Drives have plenty left to offer!
39 million fewer Hard Disk Drives (HDD), Solid State Drives (SSD) and Optical Disk Drives (ODD) were shipped in 2013 according to figure released by global information company IHS.
This constituted an overall decline of 5%, but the sales of SSDs alone bucked this trend with 57 million units sold – an impressive increase of 82%. In comparison 7% fewer HDDS and 12% fewer ODDs were shipped over the same period. SSDs still make up only a minority of the market, though, as shipments of all drives totalled 755 million globally meaning that SSDs accounted for just 7.5% of the overall data storage market.
IHS’s analysts have predicted that the SSD sector will – thanks to falling prices and the ever-growing popularity of ultra-thin netbooks, tablets etc. – grow by a further 50% in 2014 and that, within the next three years, 190 million units of these devices will be being shipped annually. In comparison, they estimate that the number of HDDs sold will shrink to 397 million within the same period.
Whilst I have scanned the internet for expert comment on the decline of ODDs, I have been able to find very little, if anything, of substance discussing their decline. That said, it’s fairly clear why these drives are becoming increasingly rare: the growth of high-speed internet connections is rendering CDs, DVDs etc. obsolete. This, of course, is rendering the drives that read them obsolete also. HDDs, on the other hand, are in our and others’ opinions, less likely to decline so rapidly.
Whilst their overall sales fell last year, the number of HDDs that were shipped in the final quarter of 2013 actually grew by 1.8% compared with the previous quarter. What’s more traditional 3.5 drives shipped 4.9% more in this quarter too!
The growth in popularity of cloud storage provides an outlet for the HDD, also. Storage companies are certain to look at the overall value that any storage device offers meaning that SSDs are likely to remain too expensive for the near future at least. True, these centres will not be sufficient to maintain the humble HDD alone, but there are plenty of reasons why they will still have a place in our computing devices.
For example, whilst SSDs are considered to be more well suited to thin laptops and tablets due to their svelte design, both Seagate and Western Digital have both developed super-slender HDDs which are not only suitable for thinner devices, but are significantly cheaper than SSDs offering the same storage capacity.
As we discussed in yesterday’s post, helium filled HDDs can offer capacities of up to 7.5TB in a single device, providing another reason why HDDs still have a lot to offer. Similarly, a blend of HDD and SSD may well become the dominant form of home data storage. Several prominent manufacturers currently produce, or are in the process of developing, drives that house both HDDs and SSDs in order to offer the value for money offered by the former and the speedy performance of the latter.
What do you think? Are HDDs dead on their feet or is their life left in them yet? Let us know by leaving a comment.