The development of mechanical hard drives by manufacturers has lasted almost 50 years; After the launch of the first commercial hard disk by IBM in 1956, it is difficult to establish a later technical route different from yours, and proof of this is that many companies entered this market later. During its heyday, there were more than 200 suppliers, but today there are only three left.
The rise of SSDs and the decline of hard drive manufacturers
The fact that the hard drive industry is in extinction has been talked about for a long time. With the withdrawal of companies like the pioneer IBM or the giant Samsung, now there are only three major hard drive manufacturers left: Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba.
In contrast, solid-state devices are much younger; The world’s first SSD is considered to have been released by SanDisk in 1991, with a capacity of just 20MB and priced at $ 1,000 at the time. With such a price, only certain IBM ThinkPad laptops included it, but even so, you have already seen the evolution that it has had in its 30 years of history, because today it is almost impossible to find a computer that does not already carry a SSD of factory, since its price has been reduced considerably.
Although hard drives lag behind SSDs in terms of ‘technical concept’, the actual manufacturing process is very complicated and the threshold is extremely high. From platters, magnetic heads to server systems, evolving these technologies entails a huge investment, and although manufacturers like Seagate continue to insist on improving and improving the density of their hard drives offering ever better capacities, they are close to reaching the limit, while the capacity of the SSD seems to be able to grow without any limitation.
On the contrary, the production of SSDs is quite simple, they basically have a PCB with a controller and Flash memory chips, in addition to a simple case. Flash memory is manufactured by six major memory manufacturers in the world, and the same happens with the controller, so compared to hard drives access to their manufacturing is much simpler.
In other words, a mechanical hard drive is now vastly more expensive to manufacture and technically develop than an SSD, which is why more and more companies have abandoned this industry niche to the point that there are only three left, while In the SSD industry, as they are much simpler and cheaper to manufacture, more and more manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon.
The latest data show that there are more than 200 SSD manufacturers, and their distribution is also quite interesting since 40% comes from the United States, a country that includes the largest number of manufacturers, although we might think that China would dominate this market. Manufacturers from China and Taiwan account for 13% and 22% respectively, while Japan and South Korea account for only 6% and 4%.
For now there are no indications that any of the three remaining hard drive manufacturers intend to leave the industry as well, and in fact, as we have pointed out before, especially Seagate is pushing very hard the development of the technology. But there is no doubt that since the development of SSDs is much easier and cheaper, its boom will end up completely dominating the industry … we have been predicting it for a long time, but in the end it is what will happen.