IDC Finds Both Predictable and Unexpected Results in First-Ever PC Storage Benchmark Study Evaluating HDD, SSD, and Hybrid Performance Differences

FRAMINGHAM, MA – July 15, 2008 – Debates over solid state drives (SSDs) versus hard disk drives (HDDs) are numerous and, for the most part, tend to confuse the potential impact SSDs will have on real world PC performance. To elucidate this impact and to determine where today's drive technologies excel and where they don't, IDC partnered with a third party, independent laboratory to compare and contrast six different storage devices (two traditional mobile PC hard disk drives, two solid state drives, and two hybrid hard disk drives) in a single setting, under a common set of tests, and with identical computing platforms. Some of the results from this benchmark study were predictable, while others were unexpected.

"Although overall test results indicate that traditional disk drive technology is going to be around for years to come, both hybrid and SSD technologies will experience increased adoption rates as price points decline, technology improves, and use-cases evolve," said David Reinsel, group vice president for storage and semiconductor research at IDC. "The results have led us to several significant conclusions that we believe will be eye-opening for those that have anything to do with storage device technologies in PCs."

To explore some of the performance differences between these storage technology, IDC sought answers to the following questions:

* Storage device technologies exhibit significant differences in performance when measuring just at the device level and in controlled laboratory environments, but how are these performance differences exhibited at the system level?

* The computing industry could very well be entering into a period of interdependency with respect to storage technology. What are the implications for system OEMs and storage device vendors?

* Controller technology and the ability to manage the NAND memory efficiently will be one of the key differentiators among vendors of flash-based SSDs. But does the type of NAND technology matter?

* Test results showed great potential for hybrid HDD technology, but should we expect hybrid drives to outperform SSDs or traditional HDDs? Test results provides vital insight on this issue.

IDC's special study, Benchmarking Storage Options for PCs: The Results are in! Exposing the Strengths and Weaknesses of HDDs, SSD, and Hybrids (Doc #213285), reveals the performance differences between traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), solid state drives (SSDs), and hybrid disk drives (H-HDDs). The results are vendor agnostic and are meant to highlight the differences between technologies. In addition, IDC's analysis of the results and insight to the future help industry participants understand the future direction of these storage technologies in order to assist OEMs in choosing the most appropriate storage device for their products.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 44 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

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