Solid state drives are considerably faster than hard drives, but they're also considerably more costly per gigabyte than their mechanical counterparts, allowing for bigger and better SSDs than ever before, lowering the price cap currently set by Micron and SK Hynix.
SK Hynix revealed at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara that it has developed the world's first 238-layer TLC 4D NAND. While this is 35% more layers than its previous flagship device, the company claims it's up to 50% faster when transferring files and 21% more energy efficient when reading data (which is quite handy considering the current price of running a gaming PC).
Micron unveiled its latest model in July, which falls slightly short of SK Hynix at 232 layers, but nonetheless, it's a significant leap from its earlier 176-layer model that was released at the end of 2020, and its smaller size allows it to store more silicon than ever before in the same physical space.
Do new SSDs spell the end of HDDs?
Mechanical HDDs are pretty much everywhere, and servers will undoubtedly cling onto the cost-effective storage option for some time to come, yet gamers still keep new hard drives in their rigs for a low-cost, high-capacity solution. This is particularly prevalent in somewhat poorer countries where availability is limited and gamers tend to upgrade less frequently.
When it comes to purchasing a gaming PC or upgrading, it's a no-brainer which one you'd choose. This would reduce the hard drive to a business-only option, and gaming PCs would no longer be subjected to the technologically outdated standard.
According to Blocks and Files, consumers will not be able to predict how this will affect them until SK Hynix launches mass production in the first half of 2023. I may just be longing for the days when everyone has the best SSD for gaming and we never have to wait in a lobby for one another to load into the game.