Laptop speed boost: Blazing-fast SSDs are expected to overtake hard drives by 2018

Prepare for ludicrous speed

ssds
Credit: Mike Homnick

Everybody figures that SSD drives are the future for internal PC storage, but that future might be coming faster than you realize.

The TrendForce-owned market research firm DRAMeXchange says SSD adoption by laptop makers is set to surpass 33 percent—a full third of the market—by the end of the year. The firm also predicts that SSDs in new notebook models could reach 50 percent or higher in 2018.

dramexchange

That’s a big jump considering SSDs only accounted for 25 percent of the global notebook market in 2015. DRAMeXchange credits better sales in the second quarter of 2016 for the increase in SSD notebook market adoption. 

Why this mattters: Predicting the future is always a difficult business. DRAMeXchange acknowledges that with its forecast, which only says SSDs “may” reach 50 percent of the notebook market in 2018. Nevertheless, the trend is clear. Spinning hard drives are an aging technology with several downsides in the modern era of PCs. 

Apples and oranges

For one thing, hard drives are noticeably slower than SSD drives. SSDs are also lighter and thinner than hard drives—especially in M.2 form factors.

Hard drives still have their place, however. Spinning drives can offer more storage at a dramatically cheaper price. That’s a great advantage for anyone who needs a lot of storage space, from major data centers to home users with a NAS drive.

There’s also an argument that hard drives are more resilient than SSDs, but informal tests in recent years suggest there is more myth than reality to that claim. Plus, as any longtime PC user will tell you, all drives fail—including hard drives.

That’s not to say SSDs don’t have their problems. We’ve talked about a variety of them, including TLC’s write performance, quirky environmental issues, and the reality of SSD and data retention.

Even with its various problems, SSDs are still the best way to breathe new life into an aging PC, and should be at the top of the must-have list for anyone buying a new laptop.

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