In a report issued yesterday, iSuppli is predicting that 45 million SSD, cache SSD and Hyrid HDD solutions will ship for Ultrabooks and ultrathins in 2013 indicating a huge 4X jump over 2012. Isuppli is predicting that despite a contraction of the PC market but that a flattening off of interest for ‘superthins’ will ‘take-off’ in the second half of 2013.
The report by iSuppli is highlighting a growth curve for hybrid HDDs (integrated and embedded SSD as cache in a hard-drive casing) but reveals interesting statistics split into three categories.
- SSD-cache shipments 2013: 23.8 Million (53%) (2012: 5.2 million)
- Pure SSD shipments 2013: 18.7 Million (42%)
- Hybrid HDD shipments 2013: 2.6 Million (5%)
Given a similar percentage breakdown for 2012, the numbers would indicate sales of around 10 million for the Ultrabook and ultrathin sector which is in-line with other late-2012 predictions. The total forecast for 2013 based on these figures is around 44 million, a 440% increase over estimated 2012 sales and a healthy figure.
ISuppli expects cache shipments to lead the three alternatives until 2017 when over 100 Million SSD and SSD-Cache solutions are expected to ship with hybrid HDD adding another 20.5 million units for a total market of over 120 million units, or around half of the laptop sector sales if we assume zero growth in the laptop sector overall.
Clearly cache cache solutions are expected to be used because of cost factors. Customers want fast response but many also want or need space for videos, music, backups and documents. There are a couple of points to note in this area though. Firstly, lower-cost mainboard-embedded eMMC is getting faster and moving towards fast response with good enough speed. It’s already used in Clovertrail tablets and hybrids and the reason for that is Connected Standby capability which requires tight mainboard design and the OS on a non-spinning drive. If this style of Ultrabook takes off (it will be a premium style Ultrabook that offers this initially) then SSD deployment in either SATA or eMMC form could increase faster than expected, pushing prices down. There are other possibilities too. Wireless storage via WiGig and cloud storage via services like the well-integrated SkyDrive could reduce the need for media storage.