back to article Cache me if you can: HDD PC sales collapse in Europe as shoppers say yes siree to SSD

Dearly beloved, let us take a moment to remember the spinning rust featured in PCs for the last four decades. This year "no new laptops" will have an HDD inside, and desktops' innards will go the same way in 2020. Or so claims Context, the analyst that collates sale of technology via distributors. In this case, it has tracked …

  1. andy gibson

    "spinning rust"

    If it means an end to your over-used "spinning rust" phrase you seem to insert in every hard drive article, hurrah.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: "spinning rust"

      You mean that phrase, used by many a techie since... well I can't remember when as I have been using it for so long.

      It's not The Registers phrase, it's our phrase and yes it is going to stay and get used for as long as they (HDDs) are around.

      Reg, carry on, nothing to see here.

      Note: HDDs were made with iron oxide initially (Rust).

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: "spinning rust"

        HDDs were made with iron oxide initially (Rust)

        There are (at least) 16 different Iron Oxides, Fe2O3 [iron(III) oxide] is "rust".

        Not particularly relevant, just thought I'd mention it.

        1. Ragarath

          Re: "spinning rust"


          Yes, that's the one, just did not put it's full name to the post. But thank you for pointing it out!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "spinning rust"

      It's all very well complaining about spinning rust, but it's not that far off the truth, and why not whinge about SSD naming? What does the "D" stand for again.....?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "spinning rust"


        1. Ragarath

          Re: "spinning rust"

          I thought is was "Drive" not device.

          HDD = Hard Disk Drive

          SSD = Solid State Drive

          1. The Nazz Silver badge

            Re: "spinning rust"

            a fair proportion of PBD's these days.

            PBD = Paviour Block Drive

            1. Ragarath

              Re: "spinning rust"

              They must be slow at transferring data ;)

          2. Androgynous Cow Herd

            Re: "spinning rust"

            Somewhere in North San Jose there is a road named "Hard Drive"

            Hopefully they are planning on an expressway named "Solid State Drive"

            1. YARR

              "Hard" means solid, so "Spinning" is a better description for a drive that rotates.

              SSDs would be better described as "Fixed", but we already used that to mean one that moves.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                >> "Hard" means solid

                Or "not floppy" - remember those?

          3. Rol Silver badge

            Re: "spinning rust"

            I suppose ADHD is applicable to most BMW journeys then.

            Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Drive

          4. Aussie Doc

            Re: "spinning rust"

            DGD = Devil Gate Drive

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: "spinning rust"

              Ahhh - Suzi Quatro in those leathers!

              1. Agent Tick

                Re: "spinning rust"

                "Can the can" anyone?

  2. Neal L

    Anyone remember the days of having to manually put in the Cylinders, Heads and what not in the BIOS to get it to the see the HDD.

    I'm so glad those days are over and glad to see the back of HDDs in general. It was fun but you won't be missed.

    1. JakeMS


      Even if you got all that information correct, the drive would still fail to be detected if it was so new, you might also need to update the BIOS!

      Don't forget to set the jumpers correctly if it's a slave drive!

      Talking of drives, anyone remember SATAII's early days?

      Sometimes, if you got a spanking new SATAII Drive, Your SATA1 board may be entirely unable to use it. Yes, Gigabyte, I'm looking at you with my epic AMD Athlon(tm) 64 4000.

      I miss those days.

      1. billdehaan

        Re: And..

        As the old line in the Unix fortunes file said, SCSI is not magic. There are fundamental technical reasons why it is necessary to use a black dagger and an onyx throne when you sacrifice a young goat at midnight to get the chain working.

        I remember when the big lie "with SCSI, there's none of that interrupt or memory addressing nonsense; all you have to do is set the LUNs". Of course, the reality was the terminating the SCSI chain was just as magic as other buses at the time. If anything, it could be worse because it was so simple. You had the terminator at both end, and as long as no LUN in the chain was duplicated, you were supposed to be okay.

        But when it didn't work, what was there to debug? We all saw things like a 0-1-4 chain that simply wouldn't work, but a 0-1-5 would, despite there being no difference logically. Then a new device was added, and 0-1-5-2 failed, but set the original device back to the 4, and 0-1-4-2 worked just fine.

        Now, when it worked, SCSI was a charmer. I ran OS/2 systems with SCSI that, once configured and left alone, ran rings around friends' systems with IDE. If they tried to burn a CD, their machine went to 98% CPU, and if an email popup appeared during the burn, the CD writer could time out and they lost the disk. So burning a CD meant turning off the modem, shutting down all programs other than the writer software, etc. before trying it. Meanwhile, I could burn a disk with my SCSI writer while copying a huge file between two SCSI disks and formatting a (non-SCSI) floppy all at the same time, my CPU never went about 35%, and I never lost a disk.

        Of course, once EIDE showed up, SCSI disks became too expensive, at least for consumers. It was one thing when a 4GB SCSI disk was the same as an 8GB EIDE, but then the EIDE prices dropped so that same 4GB SCSI cost what a 10GB EIDE disk did. Then a 12GB, then a 20GB, then a 40GB, etc. Eventually, SCSI disk prices were ten times or more what EIDE cost. Yes, the EIDE were slower, and used more CPU. For corporate data, SCSI was still the way to go. But for consumers who could buy two 20GB EIDE disks (one as a backup) for less than a 4GB SCSI, it became difficult to justify.

        And then SATA showed up and kicked over the apple cart yet again.

        1. vtcodger Silver badge

          Re: And..

          "But when it didn't work ..."

          Which was, in my experience, maybe half of the time. On paper, plugging a proper resistor bank into the final device in the chain canceled signal reflections and made everything fly along. In practice, not always. Sometimes some combination of terminators on the "other" devices in the chain would make things work. Sometimes not. In which case, plan C was to rearrange the chain -- not always easy because of cable length and connector spacing. And sometimes THAT didn't work. Leaving Plan D -- swap out devices with different, functionally equivalent devices. Labor intensive? You bet.

          I, for one, wasn't sorry to see SCSI in the rear-view mirror of technical progress.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: And..

            "Sometimes not. In which case, plan C was to rearrange the chain "

            The problem there wasn't scsi, it was makers who built devices with terminators onboard which might (or might not) be able to be disabled. Or makers who simply ignored scsi specs altogether.

            Scanners and CDroms were particularly bad offenders, but there were a lot of controller cards which assumed they'd be the physical end of a chain and not in the middle somewhere - and couldn't have the termination disabled.

        2. whitepines Silver badge

          Re: And..

          And then SATA showed up and kicked over the apple cart yet again.

          Rather SCSI won in the end. SAS is short for "Serial Attached SCSI", and SATA is a sort of stripped down variant of SAS to which SAS controllers can still speak.

          Of course SATA also inherits bad parts of (E)IDE long gone from SAS. If your SAS expander doesn't work, you can probably blame a bit of (E)IDE legacy somewhere inside the SAS protocol. SAS in comparison just works, regardless of how deeply you nest it and how arcane your (redundant) cabling is.

        3. jacquesfrancis

          Re: And..

          Aye. I remember it all. Appy daze.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      I have actually placed the cylinders into an Edison phone and can definitely say things have moved on a bit since then ( we were clearing out an office in an old factory inthe '70s a friend had rented, the Edison phone was in a cupboard).

    3. IGotOut

      Remember putting as system together then scratching your head when it wouldn't power up.

      The reason?

      Floppy cable upside down.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget the manually entering the bad sectors using debug!

  3. K

    Been a long time coming

    Given the crash in SSDs prices. I suspect the reason it has taken this long, was purely due them holding excess stock of rust drives! But I expect this crash will be reversed, as suddenly "Corona virus" becomes the next tech bogey man.

    As for HDDs, I've been following the price of these for the past couple of years (I have a couple of NAS boxes, and always looking for the next upgrade) - 4-8TB HDDs are still around the same price they were 5 years ago, we're not seeing the usual price reduction that occurs when new generations and higher capacities become available - call me a pessimist, but I'm begging to suspect price-rigging by HDD vendors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I'm begging to suspect price-rigging by HDD vendors"

      Or is it just that they no longer have the same economy of sales advantages?

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: "I'm begging to suspect price-rigging by HDD vendors"

        Perhaps a useful flood might come to their rescue, as it did a few years ago?

        "We'll just put this over-production over there on the floor and whoops they all got wet, and waddayaknow, the market for HDD's is now as buoyant as the boat we're inspecting the production line from"

    2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Been a long time coming

      > Given the crash in SSDs prices

      I'm still waiting, till that "crash" meets my requirements.

      I may even hold out for the tech that will replace SSD (NAND) as I tend to think its a bit backwards (*) and a stop gap measure. Give me memristors...

      * Backwards in that its unable to update a small bit of data without rewriting several megabytes of data needlessly. HDD's (modern ones) only use 4KB sectors. NAND will probably not reach that so I'll wait, mostly.

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: Been a long time coming


        Backwards in that its unable to update a small bit of data without rewriting...


        Let me introduce you to my little friend "Shingled Drive". Long before HDDs become obsolete for nearline storage, the rush to "SSD in the box, Shingled HDD for long-term backup" will probably make "OK" (for price per bit and data rate) HDDs hard to find. You have to read the advertisements with a lawyer's eye to be able to tell if the wonderfully priced drive will be useful for anything beyond "Write Once, read by somebody else when I'm gone" backups.

        SSDs are really nice in general, but I fear the "race to the bottom" has already started. Which may be OK because "why should my disk last any longer than support for my computer, which means in practice 3-5 years?"

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Been a long time coming

        "Backwards in that its unable to update a small bit of data without rewriting several megabytes of data needlessly. HDD's (modern ones) only use 4KB sectors."

        Until you meet shingled drives - which have exactly the same disadvantage as SSDs in this respect and that's essentially everything over 8TB

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Been a long time coming

      "4-8TB HDDs are still around the same price they were 5 years ago"

      In the meantime, SSDs have come down to the "affordable" horizon - 4-5 times the price of such drives (Samsung 860QVO etc) and with the advantages such SSDs offer (greater reliability, lower power consumption, MUCH faster read speeds) they're starting to make inroads into the larger spinner market just like they did in the sub-1TB arena.

      Who cares if they've only got a 1000 write cycle endurance? Most large drives like this are used for semi-archival purposes (porn stash) and are unlikely to be rewritten more than a dozen times in their entire lifespan.

      (The 4TB QVOs actually have space on the boards to double the NAND, so Samsung is clearly planning for 8TB units if there's demand)

      1. AndrewD375

        Re: Been a long time coming

        "Who cares if they've only got a 1000 write cycle endurance?"

        Well, I do. I thought I'd be cool and build a domain controller with no moving parts - ie just an SSD. It's not a big domain, so capacity was OK. Very cool. Happily it wasn't the sole DC, because after about a month, the SSD borked. You know what fun it is cleaning up after a DC just disappears without being demoted and shut down, yeah? So I went through that pain and replaced the SSD, and guess what happened after another month? Gah.

        So now my DC has a proper laptop spinning rust-type storage device, and you know what, it's been running just doozy for about three years. And I haven't had to manually clean up my DNS any more.

        Cheapo consumer-grade SSD's? Just say no.

  4. Ordinary Donkey

    Define primary

    A quick search through vendor websites reveals a ton of laptops with ssd primary drives barely big enough for Win10 today, and big spinning rust drives. If the ssd is considered to be the primary storage then I predict most users won't bother replacing the ssd once it gives up / is too small, and will continue to run only on rust.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Define primary

      Correct. Primary as "the disk the OS is booted and application run from"? Or "the disk with main data files"? I use SSDs to run the OS and applications, but most data files are on spinning disk because 6+TB SSDs are still a bit too pricey, especially when you want to run then in some kind of redundant configuration. Yet it's true that most consumer systems have no redundancy.

      1. billdehaan

        Re: Define primary

        Prices at a local chain (Canada Computers) sell the low end 120GB SSD for $40, a 240GB for $60, the 500GB SSDs going for $90-$120, depending on brand, there's a 1TB for $340, and $900-$1300 will buy you a 4TB, depending on the performance you want.

        SATA drives don't have anything in the $40 range, but $60 gets you 1TB, $70 gets you 2TB, $110 buys you 4TB, and I see 16TB for $700.

        So, SATA storage gives four to eight times (on average) the capacity for the same prices as SSD, and of course, the maximum SSD capacity is much lower than hard disks.

        I definitely want my bootable OS drive to be a fast SSD, and my 128GB SSD does the job nicely. But I've got 8TB of data (and another 12TB of backup media) for things that don't require than performance. That Minute Waltz MP3 doesn't need to be on an SSD, for example, it's gonna take a minute no matter what.

        I don't see disks disappearing any time soon. Also, as anyone who's debugged one knows, data from a dying drive can often be recovered, even if only partially and at great cost. When an SSD dies, it's gone, pining for the fjords, and that's all she wrote. One bad experience with an SSD failure has already spooked at least three people I know of and made them shy of the things.

        1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          Re: Define primary

          You mean HDD storage, not SATA. All my SSD's are SATA.

          I did go an use an M.2 for a bit. Bloody thing was a bit of chinese **** that stole 2x SATA ports that I actually wanted to use and locked up the PCIe bus when sequentially copying. I could have moved to a decent PCIe M.2 card but considering that I would still be denied my 2x SATA ports I though bugger it and replaced the M.2 with a faster and less **** SATA SSD.

          Lesson leaned for when I upgrade my MB in 5 years, DONT get one that steals ports just to support the M.2.

          1. kmedcalf

            Re: Define primary

            M.2 is a plug-and-socket standard and has nothing whatsoever to do with the protocol used to the device. For SSDs, the M.2 plug-and-socket form factor can support NVMe protocol or ATA protocol, or both.

            If you have a computer with M.2 sockets that do "SATA" protocol only, then only SATA devices with M.2 plugs will work in that socket, and it will be a SATA port. If you plug in an NVMe device it will not work.

            Similarly, if the computer has M.2 sockets that do NVMe protocol only, then only NVMe devices with M.2 plugs will work in that socket, and it will be an NVMe port. If you plug in a SATA only device it will not work.

            Sometimes the computer has M.2 sockets which do BOTH SATA and NVMe, and you can plug in M.2 devices which do either (or both), the choice being up to the BIOS (or OS when it is booted).

            Just because they socket is RJ-45 does not mean it is ethernet. It might very well be serial or a standard analogue telephone, or something else entirely. Specifying only the plug and socket format does not specifically identify what that plug or socket is for and what it will work with.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Define primary

              Just because they socket is RJ-45 does not mean it is ethernet.

              Similarly: just because the socket is USB-C doesn't mean it supports Thunderbolt, Displayport, HDMI, or the level of power delivery you want.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Define primary

          >120GB SSD for $40 ... $60 gets you 1TB [HDD]

          Add on to this the move towards quiet and fanless laptops and concern about price points and you can see why OEM's will go for the $40 SSD...

          >I don't see disks disappearing any time soon.

          I do expect to see certain form factors - especially the 2.5-inch form factor used in laptops to start going up in price and disappearing as vendors stop buying them in the quantities necessary to maintain economies of scale.

          I suspect that given the wide use of the 3.5-inch form factor in data centres and desktops and their price/capacity advantage over SSDs, I don't expect these to disappear anytime soon.

        3. UncleDavid

          Re: Define primary

          If you're playing the Minute Waltz in a minute, you must be using technological assistance to begin with. Quarter note (ok, crotchet) = 420? Not with these fingers.

        4. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Define primary

          "and of course, the maximum SSD capacity is much lower than hard disks."

          Really? Lookup MZILT30THMLA-00007 on your favourite search engine.

          I already _HAVE_ 16TB SATA ssds in a couple of servers for specialised purposes.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Define primary

            1TB micro sd cards are now a thing (from SanDisk’s own website, so not a fake). It does cost silly money at the moment, but I'm sure it will come down in price. Imagine how many of those you could fit in a 2.5” enclosure.

            1. herman Silver badge

              Re: Define primary

              I have a Raspberry Pi server with 1 TB solid state storage.

        5. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Define primary

          I bought three 2TB Crucial MX500s for £200 each last summer, so now all OS drives are SSD.

          The data pool on my NAS is spinning rust, and that runs faster than my 1 Gbit network connection.

          Backup is also spinning rust, not particularly fast, but does the job.

      2. Halfmad Silver badge

        Re: Define primary

        I only have SSDs and M.2 drives in my PCs but have a NAS with plenty of rust in rotation on it as my pet hate with the newer drives is you generally don't get any warning before they are dead.. at least with mechanical ones you'd typically start having performance issues or bad block warnings.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The days of spinning rust in lappies looks numbered and deskops will be next, says analyst (again)

    I've been hearing this since at least the last 5 years, if not more. And if I hear it from an "analyst" AGAIN, I just shrug.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: The days of spinning rust in lappies looks numbered...

      And if I hear it from an "analyst" AGAIN, I just shrug.

      There's a reason they're called "analysts"; because they're usually talking out of their ass...

      (BTW, ElReg: just HOW is it if I reply to a message that has a long title, you suddenly think it's too long? It was posted before with the same title)

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: The days of spinning rust in lappies looks numbered...

        Perhaps because the title gets prefixed by "Re: "?

  6. Starace Silver badge

    'Primary storage'

    So basically the same as we've had for a while now, SSD for the boot/system device and HDD for cheap bulk storage?

    Sooner or later SSD will be cheap enough to use for everything but for the D: bulk cold store for all the junk had still has a role.

    I do wonder though how many people know the difference between a cheap commodity SSD with low life & IOPS and a decent high grade NVMe one? A lot of the cheap stuff is slow garbage.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: 'Primary storage'

      The cheap SSDs will still run rings around the typical 5.4k (or even 7.2k) disc in many laptops.

      1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: 'Primary storage'


        My cheap BIWIN chinese 256GB M.2 SSD locks up the system when I sequentially copy data off it. Oh, it copies fast, but dont expect to be able to use the PC till its finished. My Ryzen 5 1600 B350 12GB DDR4 2400 system shouldn't freeze and become non responsive t user input while it copies.

        None of the internal or external HDD's have ever done that.

        1. Glen 1 Silver badge

          Re: 'Primary storage'

          Ok, not *that* cheap. Sounds like a problem with your setup.

          Sidenote: Non NVMe M2 is only a change in form factor. Unless the thin profile is a requirement, you're better off sticking with SATAIII for the cheaper drives.

          I went from old spinning disk to NVMe. ~100MB/s sequential to ~1500MB/s. Never looked back.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: 'Primary storage'

            "I went from old spinning disk to NVMe. ~100MB/s sequential to ~1500MB/s. Never looked back."

            On the other hand SK Hynix fobbed off an _enormous number of NVMe drives on HP buyers that maxxed out at 140MB/s write 350MB/s read (yes really, I benchmarked them across a number of systems because I couldn't believe how bad they were - HP's response was to first claim they had 1200MB/s speed, then to claim they never said that and the things were within spec when challenged with benchmarks from us and posted on multiple sites as evidence of the abysmal performance)

            Beware particularly of BC501 - they're essentially garbage sold at a premium price

  7. barthelemy

    Primary storage is pretty clear and it does not mean that the HDD will disappear as second bulk cold storage. Though with the cheap price of online storage and the constant evolution of wireless connectivity (5G for example), I do not see why we will need in the future any important capacity in local but lets see. Obviously there will still be the niche user who works on huge video files and who will need important local capacity. Also, this is not about your old laptop at home, this is about new laptops bought today or tomorrow. You just need to go on laptopdirect for example to understand what is happening. Most of the entry level notebook are sold with a 256GB SSD, this is on the first page of the website. 256GB SSD is largely enough for the OS + Applications + a bit of storage (the need of the majority of the users). And this is a bit of a lie to say that a cheap SSD would not be better than a HDD, if really it is the case, so then you should think about reinstalling your system as you may have a lot of bloatware installed :D

    1. IGotOut

      Though with the cheap price of online storage..... I do not see why we will need in the future any important capacity in local but lets see.

      Until the provider decides to close it down. Thensee how much fun it is to migrate a huge amount of data.

      1. barthelemy

        Taht was a bit random comment, why the provider would close suddenly ? and if he does, you will still be able to retrieve your data. I mean what the chances of this scenario ? It has as much chance to happen than your HDD to die in my opinion

        1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          "why the provider would close suddenly"

          cough - Kim Dot Com - cough - Megaupload

    2. Daleos

      I completely agree with you first sentence but not agreeing with many of your points under that.

      Online storage is not cheap. Well it might be for small amounts of data but it gets expensive really quickly if you want larger amounts. And that not to mention online storage speeds. Even with a good FTTP connection, many consumer and small business level storage services are still really slow.

      If you want more than a TB of fast online storage, you're going to have to dig deep and if you can find it, then I hope your internet bandwidth doesn't become a bottleneck..

      The games drive on my desktop is heading towards 1TB (SSD) and my photos/home video drive (HDD) is far off that either. Backing 2TB to 'the cloud' cost far more than buying a NAS with a few TB of HDD storage. Plus if my PC dies, I've got the option of a bare metal restore. I don't know any online provider that can do a 2TB restore in any timeframe that I can work with.

      5G isn't going to fix the internet, at least for a decade. If the rollout of 5G is anything like 4G, it'll take that long for it to be cheap enough for the general public to use it in the manner it's intended and even then the service providers will limit it in some way.

      256GB is fine for documents, emails, the typical music library and a few photos. Want to store some home videos and play a load of games, you'll be struggling. Read Dead Redemption 2 for PC requires 150GB on it's own and I have no idea what a 4k home movie takes up but I bet it isn't tiny.

      Here's to 2TB SSD drives at sub £100 prices. Until then, most of my archive stuff and backups are going to held on (multiple) HDDs

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "I don't know any online provider that can do a 2TB restore in any timeframe that I can work with."

        There's probably a significant portion of the market that will be happy with a next gen smart phone that unfolds (or unrolls) out to A4 size and all the storage is in the cloud. Any problems and either factory reset or a new device, enter their account details and it's like nothing happened. No need to download a backup, or at least not much a data backup. Android and iOS already work in pretty much that way for a lot of users.

        Personally, I prefer to be be in charge of my own data on my own local storage, but that's not how Joe Average thinks or works. At least not until one of the major cloud providers has a major, multi-day "issue"

        1. whitepines Silver badge

          At least not until one of the major cloud providers has a major, multi-day "issue"

          Are we going to treat such things as we would a flu epidemic then, as some unavoidable thing? Or are we going to tell them what silly buggers they were, fine and charge and fire them as they cannot do their job, pay the rent, etc. due to their own stupidity*?

          Sadly I suspect it will be the former by the time it does happen.

          * University prof I knew once would cheerfully tell his students "If you put it in the cloud and your ISP falls over or your provider locks the file 5 minutes before the due date, no extensions -- you get an automatic fail with no appeal possible." Thought was they need to understand the risk before accepting the "free / easy / convenient" thing -- if it was a real paid job, and that was company data they had to access for e.g. a client or auditor, they'd be marched out the door PDQ or possibly even arrested on the spot, depending on position and data access level.

          Of course a bunch of them would still use the cloud anyway. Never did find out if the inevitable failed assignments changed anyone's minds in the end.

      2. barthelemy

        I'm talking about the MAJORITY of the USERS and people who have 300GB or more of Games (or more) on their PC are not the majority of the users, they are gamers and they will have at least a 1TB or even 2TB SSDs to have the best performance for their gaming (I know I have been one of those). And the fact that they will want the best performance for their gaming, they won't look too much at the budget (or the budget will be less of an issue).

        They won't look at laptops from 300 to 600 euros (price new) if they need to buy a new laptop, which is what the majority of the users will look at.

        We are talking about the casual user of a laptop who will have windows, some few apps (not specialist app) and some space to save photos and videos. All the other ones (like you and you admit yourself going for a 1TB SSD) will even more go towards a SSD based latpop

        Again, the subject is about the reality of the market where most of the new laptops come now with a SSD as primary storage (boot disc where OS and apps are installed if you prefer), suffice to go on any laptop merchant website to understand this. So that is nice to read your view but it has nothing to do with the reality of what is beeing sold today.

        Another point that has been fully missread in my post is about online storage. Yes it is cheap , do you know that you today 1TB of online storage when you buy an Microsoft office license ? do you know that today, whatever software you buy (or even when you buy a laptop) you have online storage coming for "free" (not really as you pay for it in a ways or another but this is very cheap) ?

        And finally, another point you are also missing is that very few people are downloading 4k movies on a local drive. The adoption of online streaming services (netflix, amazon etc) is also a push for SSD as people do not need to store big video files in local as they are streaming. A small niche of person are downloading big video files on a local drive nowaday. The fact that you are talking about 4K is saying a lot as well on your PC consumption, you are not the average user.

        People who are saying that even cheap SSD is no better than a HDD are people who have never really used a SSD (or as I said, their PC need a good reinstall). Just the start of the PC is a huge difference and all the rest from copying file to relaoding a game between chapter is much faster

        1. batfink Silver badge

          As Daleos said originally, online storage is not "cheap" once you get into serious volumes.

          I too have 100's of GB of photos, music, games and video. I don't give a shit if I lose the games - I can just reinstall them. I don't give a shit if I lose the videos either - it's usually just recorded tv I haven't got around to watching yet which shows how important it isn't.

          However my 120GB of photos are irreplaceable, and some of the ~100Gb of music would be a right PITA to replace (dunno what I've done with the CDs...).

          The problem with paying for online storage IMO isn't that the provider is likely to go broke, but that they're likely to arbitrarily put their prices up, as Microsoft did a little while ago. So, you're committing to paying forever for something where you have no control over the future pricing.

          And you have the basic problem of the subscription model. I'm always amazed that people will sign up to (say) O365. At what point do they expect to stop their subscription? After how many years? What will they do with their data at that point?

      3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        " If the rollout of 5G is anything like 4G, " then vast swathes of the city, as well as main motorway routes and rural areas, will not get it. FTFY.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      >And this is a bit of a lie to say that a cheap SSD would not be better than a HDD

      Not really, you only need to look at the specifications. Also SSD's are just like USB and SD cards; the cheap versions are much less performant than the more expensive ones. From their specifications I'm sure some cheap USB3 flash drives are just the cheap USB2.0 device with a blue USB3.0 plug.

  8. dajames Silver badge

    HDD only, here

    SSDs are wonderfully fast ... but the speed of local storage really isn't a bottleneck in most things I do.

    I like the idea of SSD for laptops because they're not shock-sensitive, but when I last bought a laptop I saved 20% of the cost by having a 1TB HDD rather than a 1TB SSD and although an SSD would have been faster what I have doesn't feel slow to me. I'm happy to have saved the cash -- Your Mileage May Vary.

    My desktop system might boot faster if I had an SSD for the system drive, but as it takes about 2 minutes timing out and complaining that my crappy Samsung DVD drive doesn't identify itself correctly I don't see that having an SSD would speed things up significantly. Fortunately I don't have to reboot often.

    1. gfx

      Re: HDD only, here

      Once a SSD and you will never want back to spinning rust. They are also a lot quieter.

      Last laptop I just replaced the spinning rust one with a SSD and put the original in an external case as a backup drive.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: HDD only, here

      "I like the idea of SSD for laptops because they're not shock-sensitive"

      That _alone_ is worth the premium for anyone carting their precious around - the problem being that the shock damage tends to be cumulative and final failure generally "without warning" - there are SOME indicators if you interpret SMART returns but very few programs or users actually do.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: HDD only, here

        I politely disagree. I haven't heard an HDD in fifteen years and when I did back then I knew it was because it was about to fail. They often gave you a few reboots to salvage. I have the opposite worry, that an SSD will fail suddenly and silently. I recall reading here that Linus lost a major upgrade due to this.

        I'm on the fence. For cheapness and nostalgia I like HDDs. In 1993 I learned how to repair stuck heads in an improvised clean room - a polythene food bag, plastic gloves, and some lubricant (I forget why the lubricant). I loved being able to fix things rather than just replace them, it underlined I was still an engineer.

        My phone has a micro SD card that has more storage than any HDD I ever had, but nostalgia. In 1996 I sent my mate in Indonesia a 10Mb HDD with all the songs he'd missed. I contracted around Europe with a bigger HDD in my pocket, the first time I was relieved it survived the customs X Ray.

        And just the sheer kudos of the arcaneness - being the only person among more senior engineers who knew how hard disks worked, what a FAT table was, how to use a disk editor was - flattering.

        I worked at SWIFT in the late '90s on their first MS project. I was forced to take part in video conference meetings with the Belgians, yet I've been self-isolating since 1989. The project had four clustered servers, mirrored disks, at the time the most bleeding edge implementation. I didn't even want to speak but I was forced to so I told the meeting we had to have disk defragmenting. The meeting leader, a pompous French developer, berated me claiming NT didn't require defrag. I'd done the tests against the benchmarks and provided them. He smeared me so I shut up. I was correct though.

        A couple of months later I left the job, but I made a point of phoning up the con and berating him and his French team for being frauds, and whatever French university that had credited them as frauds.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: HDD only, here

          Even today disk clean up is important.

          Good on you!

  9. G R Goslin

    Why not...

    For many years now, the RAM has been a semi-permanent, plugged in feature. Surely, by now the OS space could be considered a similar facility. You buy a PC with the appropriate SSD for the 'guts' of the system, and then have the cheaper, more expandable HDD for your user space. In essence, Linux already (or at least in my machine), has a partition reserved for the exclusive use of the operating system, and the rest for user space. In fact, if the SSD was a 'pluggable' device, you could possibly have a machine that you could easily and quickly change operating systems on. On the basis of 'been there, done that', I did have one of my machines fitted with a data switch, which would do just that.

    1. IGotOut

      Re: Why not...

      You mean how home computers used to be?

    2. NetBlackOps

      Re: Why not...

      Or just what I've been designing and building for myself since the '80's on mainframes and my Amigas using BSD? Just one level of design tuning I use.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So will we see cheaper HDDs then ?

  11. DuncanLarge Silver badge


    Gimme all those cheap high capacity HDD's.

    You can pay me to take them, I wont complain.

    Gimme gimme gimme. I'll build a raid array out of all those unloved 500GB 2.5" drives, hey throw in those 3.5" WD reds too when you chuck them.

    I feel a data hoarder in me...

    1. Androgynous Cow Herd

      Re: Excellent

      RAID with high capacity drives is a sucker bet. Unless being stressed out about rebuild times excites your metabolism or something...

      1. RM Myers

        Re: Excellent

        Ugh - been there, done that. Even with 4TB drives it takes forever.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Excellent

        RAID is essential for data availability due to the unreliability of drives.

        Nothing does not use RAID, even the most simple blades in the server room at work have at leas two mirrored drives.

        Rebuild times mean nothing, background job that can simply be ignored. Slap the new drive in, watch the others (when one goes, others may follow) a bit more carefully and the rebuild is just extra flashy lights for a bit. Wont even know its happening most of the time.

        If you run without RAID, good luck. I'll be the one laughing (while trying to hide it) when your data just evaporates when that seagate drive you shouldnt have bought decided that it had enough of the cruel world.

        While you sit there trying to find a replacement so you can try and download the cloud backup you made I'll slap a spare drive in and take further precautions. I'll watch your face twist and turn in horror when you discover that the cloud backup you initiated 20 days ago never finished due to bandwidth limitations. Then watch it twist again when you realise that the cost of downloading everything that did get backed up would max out the credit card, you knew this but you assumed you would not be downloading everything, just that odd project folder that was lost.

        Then I will feel smug as you look over at my redundant drives that are simply there to help me avoid such a situation, for a bit longer at least. I'll feel even more smug when you decide that having even just two drives synced with each other may be a good thing, and thats not even raid!

  12. NoneSuch Silver badge


    I went from HGST spinny drives direct to NVMe. Wouldn't have SSD's in the 'ouse.

    Pub O'clock.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem I have with M.2 SSD's

    Is getting them to work with Windows 7 rather than Windows 10.

    Motherboards later than the X99 appear only support Windows 10.

    So only the solution to avoid WIndows 10 is to use an X99 motherboard.

    1. IGotOut

      Re: The problem I have with M.2 SSD's

      Yeah, it's almost as if a really old operating system is unable to run new hardware.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem I have with M.2 SSD's

        Given the choice, I'd prefer the lesser of two Evils.

    2. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

      Re: The problem I have with M.2 SSD's

      Solution ---------->

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: The problem I have with M.2 SSD's

      Er, I've been using SSDs on Win 7 machines for a few years now.


  14. js6898

    One advantage of spinning rust drives is that if you use a program such as eraser to erase a file then it is definitely erased. You cannot say the same if the drive is a SSD...

  15. gfx

    the ssd option is still pricy in some servers

    While SSD's can be had for 100 pound a terabyte some big name computer vendors still charge an awful lot more for an SSD

  16. Justthefacts

    Most consumers just don’t want the hIgh HDD capacity any more.

    Picking a random shop (John Lewis ;) , they have 154 laptops.

    The middle of the market is 256-512 GB, and tops out at 1TB. I’m preparing for a bunch of downvotes from people saying “yeah, but How Can I Do My Video Editing / Proper Work”. To which the correct answer is “YMMV, there are a few of you, but most of everyone else just doesn’t do that so much”.

    Point is, if most people decide that 512 GB is enough for them, the cost differential between SSD and HDD just isn’t enough to worry about. Ditto for desktop at x2 capacity

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Most consumers just don’t want the hIgh HDD capacity any more.

      I use a small capacity laptop to edit videos and have had no problems.

      Of course I put the finished work on an external drive. :)

  17. Elledan

    Yeah, no

    My laptops over the years have all featured an SSD of some type, most currently a Samsung 970 Pro in a tricked out gaming laptop. Yet I don't really notice a difference compared to my HDD-only PC rigs.

    Gaming? It's all about the CPU, PCIe speed, RAM (speed) and GPU specs.

    YouTube/Netflix binging? Network speed.

    Browsing and doing hardware & software development in a variety of applications? Mostly CPU and please get me some nice, big screens or working on a PCB layout will drive me insane.

    Oh, I guess opening a spreadsheet or KiCad file may be a tad faster with an SSD. But I also like to have those little microbreaks in between tasks. I'm not a machine.

    Considering that most recently QLC (quad-level charge) NAND Flash has become a big thing for 'affordable' SSD storage, and that this type of Flash has access times that are (ironically) not that far removed from what a zippy bucket of spinning rust can accomplish, I feel that the death of HDDs has been grossly exaggerated.

    Since I'm maybe I/O bound due to the HDDs in my main PC rig about 0.1% of the time, I somehow don't see the appeal of splurging a few thousand Euros for the privilege of replacing the 11 TB of storage in this rig, not to mention the 24 TB NAS that's doing its thing on the network somewhere. While not noticing any appreciable change in performance.

    Looking at the benchmarks out there, what I'm seeing is NAND Flash hitting a brick wall with QLC (and its upcoming 5-level successor) as 128 GB SSDs are still being pawned off as 'reasonable storage sizes', and 1 TB SSDs being extravagantly expensive, still. Not to mention QLCs horrid write endurance and other issues:

    I guess if your target market is 'people who browse Facebook/Twitter & fiddle about with Google Docs', then yes, that Chromebook with eMMC Flash will be just fine. But you want to actually download more than two new AAA games from your Steam library onto your laptop. At the same time? Better start saving for that 2 TB NVME SSD or you're in for a lot of pain.

    Maybe it's just that I have been reading articles proclaiming the 'imminent death of HDDs' for about a decade now, but somehow I'm not convinced that this time is going to be 'the one'.

    1. gigabitethernet

      Re: Yeah, no

      You don't really need ssds for gaming. In fact I can run plenty of games fine via HDDs connected via USB 2.0 ports.

      And most games I run off internal HDD rather than my smaller ssd.

      However as a boot drive I find ssd is great as it makes my drive boot fast.

      Once my PC is booted up the benefits are reduced as the os software is stored in ram. Although waiting 5 minutes for a crackling HDD during bootup to get there is not nice.

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, no

        I do think games are deliberately slow at reading from disk. I was playing Civ6 t'other day and the load time for a saved games was about a minute and a half. Now if you think about the data being loaded, I'd guess at: a few bits describing each hex, a few bits describing each unit, several bytes per city, plus associated lookup tables, all read from a pair of Sammy SDD's in RAID0 and rendered through the 1070 GPU - a minute and a half? Seriously? So, I suspect there's just an arbitrary delay to make sure that you don't just keep reloading when you fuck it up.

        Or perhaps their coding is just crap TBF.

  18. Giles C


    Just reading these comments and got to the bottom of the page and there is an advert for a 16tb toshiba hard drive

    3.5” 7200 rpm, sounds ideal for a backup drive when my existing one gets full...

  19. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

    What to do with old 2.5" HDDs?

    Older kit slows down.

    Performance monitor shows that it is disc bound.

    Replace HDD with SSD.

    Life of old system extended as CPU power (of a decent CPU) is generally fine for 10+ years old.

    Core 2 Duo and Quad still rocking it here.

    [I have inherited a recent All In One which is slower than my old Core 2 Duo by a significant amount.]

    However I have slowly accumulated a stock of 2.5" HDDs of varying sizes.

    There seems no obvious easy way to deploy these as bulk storage where individual drives can be "retired" if SMART data suggests an impending fail.

    So a kind of JBOD where individual drives can be added to the pool, or marked for withdrawal and all the data migrated off.

    Adding drives looks fine; not so much the withdrawal.

    1. Crypto Monad

      Re: What to do with old 2.5" HDDs?

      > So a kind of JBOD where individual drives can be added to the pool, or marked for withdrawal and all the data migrated off.

      LVM will do exactly that for you. Each drive is a PV, and you can tell it to migrate data off a PV before you remove it from the VG.

  20. Missing Semicolon

    Dropping the things

    Laptops particularly benefit from SSDs because of the droppage factor. I have rebuilt several teenager's lappies after it fell off the bed.

    I wonder if there are fewer warranty returns as well?

    1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: Dropping the things

      Yes. Sales reps destroy everything from a laptop HDD to the screen as they hold the laptop by the open screen as they walk.

  21. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

    Possible solution

    Sony need to license out their BR drive technology for home archival.

    Half the problem with Blu-ray is the sheer cost. A drive able to burn 125GB quad layers is just too expen$ive but for some niche applications like surveillance they do get used.

    But when 128GB Flash chips with low write endurance and unlimited read are cheap as chips its feasible to make a new standard that is

    completely backwards compatible with existing machines and hardware but does not have the same limitations as optical media.

    Perhaps something that burns to chip AND BDR is feasible, integrating the two in the same physical casing.

    An RF transmitter that fits into the connector block would work for reading back the integrated memory or simply have a USB pendrive like device that clips over the hub while its in its box for those times you need the data super quick.

    I call this the "SBDr Hub Drive" :-)

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The problem with SSD is that if a piece of it breaks it isn't designed to be bypassed and read directly to the over the data. Hard drives are a little better, but still not great either. You can crack it open replace parts and read, through a specialist, very expensive. What was needed was a physical description of recording characteristics and recording layout, so universal recovery equipment could directly read and backup the data. A little device the sizes of a small 3D printer you could place a drive into, it clean room dismantels it through online configuration file database, preps the surface then examines it (reads it) to recover maximum data, sequentially recording a backup at the same time. You come back to the computer shop in a few hours and collect it. Or a business can own their own for extra security for $1000-$500.

    With a SSD drive, you need a description, and a bypass port. But such devices are multiple storage chips, so a bypass port is needed on each chip isolated from damage which may happen to the normal port. But this is expensive, so a single or dual pin interface is needed, which puts extra complexity to be caught up in an electrical failure. Optical, radio or electromagnetic interface maybe used (simple and security designed to work in close proximity, once the internal drive mechanism is accessed).

    At the moment you have cost and security issues with SSD. When they make a universally readable SSD after malfunction, it can change. Micron and Intel's technology maybe it, but flash doesn't seem to be a good choice.

    Wayne Morellini.

  24. Mandoscottie
    Thumb Up

    Farewell the shiny platters

    tbh ive been solid state all the way for a couple of years,

    No brainer in a laptop longer battery life, better response, hell an Evo 860 stuck at stat2 on my trusty old X201, only ironic thing is the chatter of the spinning platter on the X201? Nope turns out its the hdd led :oD so SSD in and retro sounding :P

    Desktop 4k Gaming box? Dual Raid volumes across 6 SSds in total. (2x123 win) (4x256 Games vol)

    The old Nas has the only spinny platters here :)

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