While capacity has been the latest metric of comparison, the fact that 3D NAND is finally reaching widespread availability is among the new comparison metrics going into 2017. Closer inspection shows that the lower-power-consuming 3D TLC has become competitively priced just as planar TLC SSD fades away.
As the first retail PCIe SSD to use TLC flash comes in at prices within striking distance of high-end MLC SATA drives, it’s not lost on end users that this makes for a cheaper and more competitive PCIe SSD. This is having an effect on choices between TLC drives and MLC drives in the mid-price range. This general price drop in SSDs is making it easier for VARs to provide clients with better performance with smaller price increases.
While warranties are generally non-competitive points among similarly priced/performing SSDs, the market’s top-end SATA SSD is one of only a small number of models with a 10-year warranty. The highest-performing planar TLC drive currently available is backed by a five-year warranty.
Competing performers are at a three-year warranty with partial power-loss protection and much lower power consumption than their competitors. When it comes to SSD comparison of the fastest consumer PCIe SSD, we’re on the cusp of seeing competition in competing drives that use the Polaris controller and 48-layer V-NAND.
Looking at SSD comparison at the end of 2016 shows an overall market where VARs can provide solutions that transform the user’s experience in client computers as well as enterprise SSDs. While the comparison of performance can still show clear delineations between the fastest and the cheapest, SSD life looks to be a waning area of concern, because SSDs will continue to be readable even when reaching the end of their long write life.
While warranties and high write limits have their place in SSD comparison, not all benefits are obvious. Ultimately, the criteria for comparison of SSDs can be based upon a wide variety of criteria from performance and capacity to price and a whole host of differences. For example, different SSDs demand more or less power in active use or when idle, and there are different power ratings again for when a laptop is in sleep or hibernation mode.
SSD comparison articles are abundant, but they are primarily geared to single SSD buyers in the consumer market. VARs will need to have far more user-oriented approaches to support the needs of clients, as they vary from client to enterprise and from end user to end user. As SSD technology continues to evolve and mature into the new year, the use scenarios and need for SSDs for them will also evolve. Consequently, VARs will need to research and understand how the different SSDs perform in those scenarios to help clients make the right decisions.