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Even though currently solid state drives (SSDs) are very expansive and are unlikely to become really popular for another year or so, a research firm believes that by the year 2010 a quarter of new mobile computers produced will feature an SSD, whereas more than a half will use so-called hybrid hard drives (HHD).

By the fourth quarter of 2009, 58% of mainstream notebooks will use HHDs, hard disk drives with large flash cache for improved performance and reliability, up from 1% in the first quarter of 2007, according to research firm iSuppli. The market researcher also estimates that 25% of new notebooks will use SSDs, up from zero now.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, 24 million notebook PCs will be sold with some form of flash data storage, compared to a mere 143,600 in the first quarter of 2007, iSuppli predicts. This means that nearly 60% of the 40.1 million notebook shipments will have flash data storage in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from 0.7% in the first quarter of 2007.

The price of 1GB of NAND flash memory was nearly 100 times as expensive as an equivalent quantity of HDD storage in 2003 but the price gap will dwindle to a factor of slightly less than 14 by 2009, according to estimates of Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for iSuppli.

Flash-based data storage provides significant performance improvements compared to traditional rotating magnetic storage now used in notebook PCs due to the fast read times of flash memory compared to HDDs. Flash also offers improved reliability, better shock resistance and lower power consumption compared to HDDs. The research firm is confident that despite of high price flash will be adopted for storage in the PC market due to its advantages.

The research company does not explain how much will a typical SSD cost in late 2009 and what capacities will be required for storing data by typical end-users. According to earlier predictions by Gartner, contemporary hard disk drives will remain the main storage technology for PCs till 2015.

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