When will big flash drives replace HDDs in DAPs?
Feb 25, 2007 at 6:23 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 28

DrBenway

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The recent success of the flash-based Nano speaks for itself. But HDDs still present compelling cost advantages, so that all of the high capacity players still rely on a spinning disc. But, as I'm sure community members have noticed, high capacity flash drives are starting to appear as HDD replacements in notebooks and handhelds. Sony, for example, offers a 30Gb flash drive option for their UX series handheld PCs. See it at Dynavision:

http://www.dynamism.com/ux/main.shtml

Flash drives are still mondo expensive (the 30Gb UX machine with flash storage costs a whopping $2,799.) But it's significant that really dense solid state drives are showing up in consumer products; previously they had been reserved for milspec and other applications where data integrity was more important than cost.

But technology moves fast, as Head-Fiers well know. So here's my question:
how long do you think it will be before high-capacity flash drives become standard in DAPs? What price will be the tipping point, ie how much will price have to come down before this feature goes mass market? And can anyone think of any downsides to this technology vs HDD?
 
Feb 25, 2007 at 6:29 PM Post #2 of 28

rockin_amigo14

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when the price comes down. right now, no one wants to pay that much for solid state memory. it's not cost effective for anyone. once these prices start coming down, maybe 2 years, i think that's when we'll see flash memory start to replace HDD, at least in the higher capacities. Honestly, the midrange HDD players are a dying breed. There are the HDD PMP players, and the small flash players. The latest release was the Zune, and as soon as it came out, there was a demand for a flash Zune. There are also rumors of Apple leaving the HDD market, which would be interesting as well.
 
Feb 25, 2007 at 6:48 PM Post #3 of 28

krmathis

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We will see both flash based DAP's and computers when the price of NAND flash memory drops further down. Cause I bet nobody today are willing to pay for a DAP with 80GB of NAND flash memory.

In a couple of years things might have changed. Perhaps even earlier...
 
Feb 25, 2007 at 7:14 PM Post #4 of 28

DrBenway

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rockin_amigo14 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
...right now, no one wants to pay that much for solid state memory.


I agree. So how much of a premium would be acceptable? 10%? 20%? Obviously, if HDD and flash cost the same, it would be silly to buy HDD, given the advantages flash offers in durability and power consumption. So how close does flash have to get to HDD to make people consider flash a good buy when those advantages are taken into account?
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 3:49 AM Post #5 of 28

uraflit

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a 2nd gen nano 8gb is like ~$250? and so is the 5.5 gen 30gb ipods...

when i see that difference in storage space i can't help but think that flash won't be replacing hdd's for awhile, but who knows, maybe technology is picking up speed!
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 4:49 AM Post #6 of 28

DrBenway

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Quote:

Originally Posted by uraflit /img/forum/go_quote.gif
a 2nd gen nano 8gb is like ~$250? and so is the 5.5 gen 30gb ipods...when i see that difference in storage space i can't help but think that flash won't be replacing hdd's for awhile, but who knows, maybe technology is picking up speed!



About 18 months ago, I bought a 1GB SD card, for which I paid $79.99. Tiger Direct currently offers a 4GB card for exactly the same price...

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...390&CatId=2412

We definately are not there yet. But with flash prices plummeting, and with flash drives as big as 32GB showing up in consumer-grade PCs, I'm betting flash drives will be competitive with conventional HDDs within approximately two years.

I'm just guessing, obviously, but it seems to me that things get cheaper, faster nowadays...
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 5:22 AM Post #7 of 28

Thelonious Monk

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consumer-grade DAPs will be completely solid state in 2 years time, in my opinion... for sure. i'm sure some company will continue to produce an ultra-high capacity HDD PMP... because HDD space is always increasing, too!

i'd love a 300+GB PMP, just for bragging rights...
wink.gif
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 5:30 AM Post #8 of 28

werdwerdus

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until the price is the same IMO, because Joe Sixpack isn't going to care or even know the difference, all he knows is he wants more gigabytes.
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 5:35 AM Post #9 of 28

mrrookie

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The price of the flash memory is falling very very quickly.

I bet we can expect affordable 16 gb versions and not-so-cheap 32 gb versions by the end of the year.

As you can see here, the price of such storage devices is falling very very quickly, we're talking about a 32gb unit here, but i believe that by the end of the year we will have affordable 16 gb units.

Cheers.
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 6:25 AM Post #10 of 28

DrBenway

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Thelonious Monk /img/forum/go_quote.gif
consumer-grade DAPs will be completely solid state in 2 years time, in my opinion...


I completely agree with you on the time frame.

Something else occurs to me, though. What about, say, 10 years from now, when gigabit wireless is ubiquitous -- available everywhere. Why wouldn't someone like Google or {fill in name of Google successor} host everyone's data online? Then all you would need to carry around would be a tiny device with just enough storage to enable local caching, and everything else would be streamed. Apart from the nasty Big Brother implications, that sounds pretty cool to me.
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 6:26 AM Post #11 of 28

stereophile

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Flash has replaced HD for me, Right Now.

ie COWON D2 - which right now will give you 8gb, soon to be 12gb and probably not that long to a total of 36gb (4 + 32 SDHD).

Its worth the few extra $ right now for me to have the flash based player - because I tend to be hard on my players, and hard drives always crash -- I've never had a flash player fail.

I say we are there, right about now, and throughout this year...
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 9:05 AM Post #12 of 28

jonnywolfet

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i sold my 60gb ipod in favor of a 8gb nano... but more for pocketablility, the fact it is flash is the clincher.

my predictions, 16gb by the end of the year, 32gb by the end of 08/ early 09, then a massive increase in flash capacity by 2010.

i would love to have a flash disk in my laptop, im so paranoid about hdd's failing, it happens all to often.
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 9:56 AM Post #13 of 28

bluey_02

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I agree with all points being made, but as flash capacities increase and their prices become sensible won't 1.8" HDD's do the same (think a terabyte iPod in the next few years)? It seems if consumers will want higher capacity more than better battery life and a slimmer profile hard drive DAP's will be around for quite some time.

But for higher capacity DAP's to be required you would either need to implement HD video or popularise higher bitrate codecs to make the decision to use a hard drive with a far greater capacity (90% more as the present iPods show) than flash drives a viable one, an unlikely prospect.

So to conclude, if current capacity requirements among the majority of consumers stay somewhat the same into the next three years it'll take something of that time to see HDD players firmly in the history books.
 
Feb 26, 2007 at 10:49 AM Post #14 of 28

Ross1

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I think there are people who still find the capacities of hard drives a bit limiting, never mind flash at the moment. Although I totally agree that for portable use flash makes so much more sense.
 
Feb 27, 2007 at 1:18 AM Post #15 of 28

1117

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Quote:

Originally Posted by bluey_02 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I agree with all points being made, but as flash capacities increase and their prices become sensible won't 1.8" HDD's do the same (think a terabyte iPod in the next few years)? It seems if consumers will want higher capacity more than better battery life and a slimmer profile hard drive DAP's will be around for quite some time.


I was thinking the same thing!
 

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