The solid state drive market is experiencing explosive growth. Another proof of this is the fact that there are already 200 SSD manufacturers in the world (according to the Storage Newsletter) For comparison: good old magnetic hard drives are produced by only three companies: Seagate, WD and Toshiba.
It should be said that making a solid state drive today is much easier than a magnetic hard disk. Basically, you need to purchase NAND memory chips and assemble them into a single device with a controller of your own design or even purchased from a third-party company. This is a small investment, and therefore many small Asian firms are engaged in this type of activity.
The key differences in SSDs today are memory chips that are constantly being developed by several manufacturers, getting more and more layers. Perhaps the more important component is the controller, each of which uses different algorithms to control the complex way of reading and, above all, writing cells.
Manufacturing hard drives requires a much larger investment of hundreds of millions of dollars (clean rooms, robotics, many employees, and so on). At its peak, there were about a hundred companies simultaneously producing HDDs. And over the entire history of them, there were about 200. But market saturation, acquisitions and competition have led to the fact that today there are only three of them. It seems that no one wants to enter this market anymore: the price is too high, the future of the market is unstable, and all patents are in the hands of current manufacturers. Perhaps the same process of gradual reduction in the number of manufacturers will affect SSDs, but not in the near future.
The five leaders in terms of the number of manufacturers include the United States (40%), Taiwan (22%), China (13%), Japan (6%) and Korea (4%). Thanks to GS Nanotech, Russia is also included in a relatively small number of countries where SSDs are produced with a share of 0.5%. A complete list of manufacturers by country is available on the dedicated Storage Newsletter page.
In the end, here are some interesting facts about SSDs:
- SanDisk’s 1991 product is considered the first commercial flash-based solid state drive, a 20MB PCMCIA solution sold to OEMs for about $ 1000 and used by IBM in a ThinkPad laptop.
- Fastest SSD today: Liqid Element LQD4500, 24GB / s, NVMe Gen 4.0×16, TLC 3D NAND
- Solid state drive of maximum capacity and cost: Nimbus Data ExaDrive DC, 3.5 “, 100 TB, $ 40,000 at time of announcement.
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