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Cache Solid-State Drive Shipments to Soar

Because of their use in ultrabook computers, cache solid-state drive shipments will soar to 163 million units by 2016.
Cache solid-state drive (SSD) shipments will increase 2,660 percent in 2012 to 23.9 million units as more of the devices are used in ultrabook computers, according to researcher IHS.

Cache SSD shipments will increase to 67.7 million units in 2013 and continue to rise through 2016 when 163 million units will ship, IHS reported.

In comparison, shipments of hybrid HDDs will reach 2 million units this year, up from 1 million in 2011, and will reach 25 million units by 2016.

The third form of flash storage are dedicated SSDs with no cache component. Often used in consumer applications, shipments of dedicated SSDs will grow from 18 million in 2012 to 69 million in 2016.

The growth in demand for cache SSDs will dwarf hybrid drives because cache SSDs have several advantages. Hybrid drives consist of a hard-disk drive and an integrated flash player in a self-contained form factor. Hybrids are being considered an option for super-thin ultrabooks, according to IHS.

Cache SSDs are used as a discrete separate memory component alongside a hard-disk drive, not together in one housing unit.

Ryan Chien, an analyst for memory and storage at IHS, noted that a combined physical hard-disk drive with a smaller cache component results in faster responsiveness and larger capacities while keeping costs down. He added that discrete cache SSDs and hard-disk drives are much more scalable and efficient for mainstream storage. Few changes are needed for cache SSDs or thin HDDs to keep PC makers' manufacturing processes cost effective.