Solid-state drives are the new black and they are slowly starting to trickle down into mainstream PCs, thanks to cheaper Ultrabooks and increasing demand for non-enterprise drives. According to research firm IHS, SSD shipments for ultrathin notebooks and Ultrabooks totalled 5.9 million units this year, up from just 1.9 million a year ago.
SSDs are also making their first forays into the tablet sector, with shipments of 1.6 million units, up from 542,000 units last year. If demand for Windows 8 tablets and hybrids ever picks up, SSD deployment will follow suit.
Overall SSD shipments in the first quarter of 2013 amounted to 11.5 million units, up from 6 million in Q1 2012. However, it should be pointed out that IHS did not include shipments of NAND flash components for cache SSD drives and hybrid drives. In contrast, shipments of mechanical drives fell seven percent in Q1 to 135.7 million units, down from 145.5 million a year ago.
“The SSD market enjoyed big results in the first quarter as both the consumer and enterprise markets ramped up their use of machines that made use of the drives,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. “Most notably, SSD attach rates climbed in ultrathin/Ultrabook PCs where SSDs are the de facto storage medium, and also in PC tablets where productivity options differentiate them from media tablets.”
Things could have been even better had Ultrabook sales taken off, but demand remains relatively soft. Hybrids, or 2-in-1s are the new flavour of the day, but analysts aren’t sure they will be a big success, either.
The big winners in Q1 were Samsung, Intel, SanDisk, HGST and newcomers Seagate and LSI.