We’ve been hearing for a long time how solid drives or SSDs will eventually replace the hard drives or hard drives of a lifetime, the simple answer will be when it comes to an insurmountable bottleneck for applications, but today , we continue to use them. But until when will they coexist with hard drives?
The hard drive has been with us since the first IBM PC and has become the most experienced device in our PCs alongside the x86 keyboard and registry and instruction set, but for some time we have heard of a replacement in the form of memory. NAND Flash against which the hard drive holds up like a champ, but it doesn’t seem to have any bellows for the following years.
Storage, HDD, SSD and Diminishing Performance
Those who are a little veteran of the place will recall how MP3 players were sold in two different types depending on their storage capacity, some used mechanical hard drives with a storage capacity of tens of Gigabytes and others used instead of NAND memory. Flash and a few gigabytes.
The early models allowed for large amounts of music to be inside, but since they had more capacity they were less used as the chances of playing another song were tiny, so people started to choose MP3 with memory. NAND flash, with less capacity but portable enough to take anywhere.
When it comes to storage in general, the same thing happens, there comes a time when offering more storage doesn’t translate into a benefit for the end user because they won’t benefit from it, meaning that as soon as the drives SSD will have good enough density they will gradually replace its use in computers.
The hard disk is insufficient for the interfaces of the future
One of the problems with the hard drive is that it has now become a bottleneck, even for interfaces of several tens of Gigabits per second like third generation USB and SATA-III 6 Gb / s. The reason? The nature of hard disks does not allow access to data at the maximum speed allowed by these communication interfaces.
If we add to this the existence of the PCI Express 4.0 and USB4 interfaces, which will be standardized after a short time, then we see that the conventional hard drive becomes a burden to reach these transfer speeds.
Lighter, cooler computers
One of the problems with conventional hard drive, especially in laptops, is that they raise the height much higher compared to using an SSD, this results in a lighter case and in some cases even with greater cooling.
Many computers fit an M.2 NVMe drive into a very small space compared to inserting a full hard drive, which helps create lighter, more attractive industrial designs as well as longer lifespan. long by not depending on the mechanical parts of a hard drive. .
The SSD serves as an extension to VRAM, the HDD does not
One of the things DirectX 12 Ultimate allows is to connect your graphics to the SSD, be it an RX 6000 from AMD or the RTX 2000 and RTX 3000 from NVIDIA. Not to be used directly as VRAM, but to serve as a reserve, so that data is exchanged on the fly.
This allows the graphics card to have a lot more VRAM than it has, and it can remove data that is no longer needed and load more very quickly. This is only possible with an NVMe drive and a PCI Express 4.0 interface. In other words, it is impossible on a classic hard drive.
What will influence this capacity is the next generation video game consoles that will use their serial SSDs in their games, which will be ported to and from the PC in 99% of the cases, which will force the adoption of SSD for them. most demanding players.
Add to that the existence of the DirectStorage API in DirectX 12 Ultimate and you have everything you need for games to start demanding SSDs in the short to medium term.
This will also happen on external drives
In the case of SSDs, we can already see how several external drives on the market are of the SSD type instead of being hard drives, in which, for the moment, external SSDs do not make a very big difference compared to hard drives. as they could. in speed the internal SSD based on PCIe.
But the USB 4.0 interface is already with bottlenecks when using a conventional hard drive, not reaching the maximum performance of this interface, it will become a dilemma for those who want it.
PLC, Intel proposal
A few days ago, Intel was talking about PLC cells, capable of storing up to 5 bits per cell, which are currently in the laboratory but await their launch in 2022.
The new type of cell will increase the storage capacity of the SSD in exchange for sacrificing life and duration, it is not known how Intel’s proposal will end up in the end and whether it will have the perfect balance between duration and storage capacity. . What we do know is that it will be an ideal cell type for external SSDs used for massive data backups.
So, PLC cells can become another nail in the hard drive coffin.
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