Mechanical drives simply don’t cut it
research outfit IHS believes Intel’s ultrabook push will boost demand for cache SSDs, which are basically flash drives that run alongside mechanical drives, boosting performance.
Cache SSD shipments in 2012 are projected to hit 25.7 million units, nearly a 30-fold increase over 881,000 units shipped in 2011. Plain SSD shipments are also projected to grow to 68.2 million, eventually reaching 121 million units in 2013.
However, unlike traditional SSDs, most cache SSDs will be used in ultrabooks, as vendors try to boost performance, while at the same reaping the benefits of mechanical drives, namely low price and high capacity. Cache SSDs are a lot cheaper to build than proper SSD drives, and the resulting hybrid drives are also cheaper than purely solid state solutions.
Although most current ultrabooks rely solely on SSDs, manufacturers are gearing up to introduce cheaper models, that will sport hybrid storage.