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Brett Nordquist (Customer Experience Engineer)

The Continual Rise of the SSD

Written on April 2, 2014 by Brett Nordquist

Just over a year ago I wrote how Solid State Drives (SSD) were soaring in popularity. At that time we offered a number of SSD models from Intel. But due to production constraints, we were on the verge of adding a few Samsung SSDs to the mix. Around this same time we began fielding a number of requests for Samsung SSDs. 

Once considered a luxury item, SSDs have moved into the mainstream within the past two years. Our customers tend to be tech savvy and performance demanding to the core. So I wasn't surprised to find widescale adoption of SSDs as I dove into the sales data. 

Truth be told, I was also on the hook for a blog post this week. I might as well share with you what I found! 

Let's first take a look at how sales of SSDs have stacked up against traditional drives going back five years.












From the beginning of 2009 through 2012 we see a sharp increase in SSD sales at Puget Systems. SSDs were still pricey and storage capacity was limited. Those high prices resulted in many customers purchasing a smallish 80 GB or 120 GB SSD configured as their primary boot drive. But that didn't leave a lot of room or programs and media. So up through 2012, we sold a lot of computers with one SSD and at least one larger capacity traditional drive. 

I went back to 2009 to determine our best selling SSDs by each year. 

2009: Intel X-25 80 GB
2010: Intel X-25 80 GB
2011: Intel 510 120 GB (by a wide margin)
2012: Intel 520 120 GB (barely beating out the 240 GB version)
2013: Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB (by a wide margin)
2014: Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB 

And then I did the same for traditional drives. 

2009: Western Digital Caviar Black 640 GB
2010: Western Digital Black 1 TB
2011: Western Digital Black 1 TB
2012: Western Digital Black 1 TB
2013: Western Digital Black 1 TB
2014: Western Digital Black 1 TB

So every couple of years we've seen a substantial increase in SSD capacity while our best selling traditional drive has remained at 1 TB going on five years. Comparing actual sales numbers for the above models we can see when our most popular SSD surpassed our most popular traditional drive in sales. 2012 was the year SSDs made their move, much like the third season of Breaking Bad. Or season four of Seinfeld if you're my age. 











It's clear too that Samsung has knocked Intel off the top of the mountain. In fact, this year our four best selling SSDs are built by Samsung. The chart below shows Samsung's dominance since we began offering their SSDs in January of 2013. 












When I worked in sales during 2012, I often had to explain to customers the benefits (fast, reliable, silent) of selecting an SSD over a traditional drive. But today the majority of customers expect their latest PC to come standard with an SSD. Two years ago it was uncommon for us to build a new PC with only an SSD. With increased capacities and lower prices, we now build SSD-only PCs each day. 

SSD sales at Puget Systems have settled in at just over 50% of all drives we sell. Given the number of workstations and servers we build for customers with demanding storage needs, we might not see greater SSD penetration unless capacities improve. SSDs top out today at 1 TB which still hold a lot of data. Unless you're rendering 4K video, shoot in RAW or just play a lot of modern PC games. Yes, SSDs are very popular, but we still sell a lot of 1, 2, and 4 TB Western Digital drives. 

Tell us about your storage needs. Have you found your storage needs decreasing? Have you already moved to an SSD? 

Tags: SSD, Drive, Samsung, Intel, Western Digital
Sean Long

Well, a year ago, I got a "one of each" system, from you folks. An Intel 520 SSD (240GB) for my system drive, and a 3TB Western Digital HDD for storage. So far it's working out just fine - I didn't need near HALF as much storage space, but ... eh, HDD storage is _cheap_, so why not? ^_^ My SSD, meanwhile, is generally around half full, give or take.

Posted on 2014-04-03 09:21:17

Hey Sean! That Intel 520 is a fantastic SSD. If I could go back and do it again, I would have bought one larger WD Green drive because they are so much quieter than these two WD Black drives. Although I do use Crashplan to backup my most critical files, it will be a while before I trust the cloud with everything.

Posted on 2014-04-03 17:35:20
Sean Long

That's exactly what I have - a 3TB WD Green HDD. And it is very quiet, indeed.

Posted on 2014-04-04 22:52:12

In August 2010 I picked up a 160GB SSD to replace a failed disk drive for my operating system. It was expensive, but easily the best computer purchase since I upgraded an old Commodore 128 for an Intel 486 CPU. The speed is amazing. Within a couple days of using it, I knew I would never go back to spinning disks for my operating system.

Now I have 3 drives. The 160GB SSD for my OS, 500GB HDD for my data, and 1TB HDD for backups. All 3 are around 75% full with things I have accumulated over the years, but I don't feel constrained. I could probably live "forever" with my current drives if I took the effort to clean up unnecessary junk. But why clean, when it is so cheap to get bigger drives?

Posted on 2014-04-03 13:36:01

I have a similar setup with one SSD and two traditional drives that I use to backup media, some video and two other PCs with smaller drives. I'm looking for the next sale on SSDs and plan to install an SSD in my two older PCs and see if that add any life to them.

Posted on 2014-04-03 17:33:27

I purchased an Intel 520, 240GB SSD from Puget two years ago. It's still doing well, and is a bit over 50% of capacity. I do a lot of work with large Photo Shop files, so I really appreciate the speed and lack of any noise. I also have two 500GB WD Blue internal, and a 1TB WD external SATA drive for back up in my Obsidian. I have the same SSD in my Traverse laptop purchased last year. With the prices of SSD's coming down, along with improved controllers and larger capacities, SSD's for archiving will see much greater use, I believe.

Posted on 2014-04-03 18:33:33

I would def recommend this ssd - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0... to anyone looking to replace their mechanical hard drive. I love it and it is so much faster than my old Hard Drive.

Posted on 2014-07-12 09:21:59

Yea, the Samsung 840 EVO and 840 Pro are the drives we use right now and they are absolutely great. The EVOs especially are insanely reliable (we haven't had a single one fail in the last year) and have great performance for the price.

Posted on 2014-07-15 19:18:38