Solid state hard drives (SSDs) have long been the superior - but costly - alternative to hard disk drives (HDDs), widely acknowledge as the next step for computer storage, but never quite becoming the default for users. Now, in a publicity blitz accompanying the release a new SSD, the 840 EVO, Samsung are promising to make the technology the norm.
The new 840 EVO is aimed at consumers and offers 1 terabyte of storage for a price of around 50p/GB. It's the first SATA-standard SSD with this capacity to be marketed towards normal consumers, and performance tests of the new drive have shown it doubling the speed of current market leaders.
Although SSD storage has found its way into many ultrabook devices who need to use the technology to keep a thin profile, HDDs are still the storage-format of choice for computer manufacturers, simply because they are so much cheaper.
Whilst SSD memory continues to get cheaper and cheaper innovation in how HDDs process data has stagnated, with the latest development being to simply yoke the pair together. Apple's Fusion Drives do exactly this, combining 128GB of flash storage with 1TB (and upwards) of HDD. The flash drive keeps hold of the system's operating system, making for faster boot times, whilst the disk drives handle your archives of music, photos and the like.
However, the need for big archival storage spaces is rapidly declining as more and more service move into the cloud. A user who might once have had gigabytes of carefully catalogued .mp3s can replace this with a series of well curated spotify playlists. And if you don't need the extra space, then why should you put up with a loud, hot HDD, when a smaller SSD will do the whole job a lot quicker.
The diminution of the desktop PC adds to this trend, with the flash storage of mobile device's making quick access speeds the norm for most consumers. iPads aren't sold because they have room for all your pictures, they're sold because they can fit into a manila envelope. What consumers rate as indicative of computing excellence is shifting away from bigger and bigger storage.
Despite this the costs of SSD storage means that the big transition is still a couple of years away: a terabyte of storage from Samsung's new 840 EVO range costs just over £420 - more than four times the price for a 1TB HDD. Solid state drive storage will certainly be 'for everyone' one day, just not yet.