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By 2013 power savings thanks to SSDs will amount to 167,000 Mwh

The SSD for consumers still makes little sense when looking at the performance-to-price ratio. SSDs look completely different to enterprise users though with massive power savings and significant performance improvements that make the investment worth the money for many enterprise users.

EWeek reports that as more datacenters adopt SSDs to replace high-end and fast spinning enterprise level HDDs, the massive power savings that were predicted are starting to become a reality. While some of the power saving promises are coming true now, the real benefits are still a few years down the road when the SSD is in broader use in the data center setting around the country.

Research firm iSuppli issued a report on the potential of SSDs this month and according to the report, the deployment of SSDs may allow the world's data centers to slash energy consumption by 166,643-megawatt hours from 2008 to 2013.

It's hard to understand exactly how much power 166,643-megawatt hours is, however. EWeek reports that amount of power is slightly more than the total yearly energy production of the African nation of Gambia. The power savings in datacenters moving to SSDs is expected to rise by 58,000 Mwh by 2013. In 2008, the savings in Mwh from moving to SSDs was only about 7,000 Mwh.

iSuppli analyst Krishna Chander wrote in the report, "SSDs potentially could replace 10 percent of the high-end and high-RPM hard disk drives used in data centers that are 'short stroked' [used for rapid reads and writes of transaction data coming into these drives at fast speeds], rather for storage capacity."

Chandler continued saying, "Each of these 15,000 RPM serial-attached SCSI (SAS) drives draws about 14 watts during [a normal] day. SSDs, on the other hand, draw about half the power of these HDDs, at an estimated 7 watts. A 50 percent savings in power consumption is a noticeable improvement, so even a small penetration of SSDs in enterprise data centers could result in massive power savings."

Many analysts think that a conservative estimate for the number of data centers that will move to SSDs over the next four years is 10%. Some analysts think that the number of data centers that will move to SSDs will be significantly higher than 10% with increased pressure to save money on power costs and to go green. These analysts believe that by 2013, the migration from HDDs to SSDs in data centers could be as high as 20 to 40% of all data centers, greatly increasing the amount of power saved. The adoption rate of SSDs will also be helped as SSD prices drop. Intel reduced the price of some of its SSDs late last month.

Data centers in America draw huge amounts of power. According to the EnergyStar program run by the EPA, data centers in America use 2% of all power produced in the country. By comparison, the amount of power for all TVs plugged into the electrical network combined amounts to 1.5% of the power generated in the country each year.

Another big reason for the push to SSDs for data centers is that the amount of power produced in America today only barely meets the needs. More and more devices are being plugged in and power shortages will become much more common around the country. Power demand is expected to grow by 26% during the next 20 years.

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Indirect Benefits.
By Xerstead on 5/7/2009 1:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
As these devices are consuming far less power and with no moving parts, I'd expect them to produce far less heat than standard HDDs. With less heat being produced less cooling/air-con/refrigeration will be required to keep them cool. Resulting in lower energy bills for the user.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By Creig on 5/7/2009 1:19:03 PM , Rating: 4
Unfortunately, the price difference between comparable sized SSDs and traditional hard drives more than offsets any possible savings realized through reduced energy consumption.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By VaultDweller on 5/7/2009 1:32:21 PM , Rating: 3
Not necessarily true for data centers.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By Doormat on 5/7/2009 1:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
If you're short stroking 15,000RPM drives to boost transfer speeds you're cutting down the storage capacity of that drive, so the costs are closer than you might figure on first inspection.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By therealnickdanger on 5/7/2009 3:04:06 PM , Rating: 3
SSDs don't really output that much less heat than HDDs, it's really an overhyped benefit. The power savings are also not all that dramatic. You can check out reviews on Anandtech for details. But, saving a little bit over and over among millions of users will definitely make an impact.

I see the real "energy saving" coming from people being able to do more per Watt. SSDs offer insane speed boosts for everyday usage scenarios. People will simply be able to do more, faster. Even if power consumption was constant, that's still a benefit.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By mckirkus on 5/7/2009 9:06:34 PM , Rating: 3
One Intel SLC SSD has the same amount of IOPS as a half dozen short stroked 15k RPM drives in a RAID array. So a 1 to 1 comparison isn't really valid when you're looking at servers.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By nodak on 5/8/2009 11:04:49 AM , Rating: 3
Quick thermodynamics lesson: power in = power out.
Since drives do not produce any net increase in potential energy, nor do they emit large quantities of light or sound energy, all of the energy they consume is emitted as heat.
Thus, if an SSD consumes half as much power as an HDD, it emits half as much heat.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By afkrotch on 5/8/2009 4:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'd compare them to a 2.5" hdd though, as they are the same size. They also don't use 1/2 as much power either. Of course, the performance of an SSD is way above that of a 2.5" hdd.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By Spoelie on 5/10/2009 4:41:07 PM , Rating: 2
Not true, you're assuming power-in only gets converted to heat.

Since an SSD has no moving parts, the energy it consumes is used to move electrons about and mostly transforms into heat, that part is true.

A HDD however has platters moving at 15k rpm, heads constantly moving over those platters. A large part of the electricity gets converted to kinetic energy, not heat.

As such, it is entirely possible for a HDD to consume more energy than a SSD while emitting less heat.

RE: Indirect Benefits.
By nodak on 5/10/2009 5:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yet all of that kinetic energy is converted to heat when the drive slows down.

By mcnabney on 5/7/2009 1:44:58 PM , Rating: 5
They are talking about saving 167k MW/hrs over five years. To appreciate this a little more in dollars (taking a KW/hr at $0.10) that would be a total savings of about $16 million dollars. Or in laymans terms, about half a days power output from a medium-sized nuclear reactor. On a global scale I am not exactly impressed. I am going to guess that the cost to move to SSDs is going to be an order of magnitude greater than the anticipated power savings. $16 million. What is that in Enterprise-class SSDs? About 20TB in storage?

By Runiteshark on 5/7/2009 5:47:47 PM , Rating: 1
Can you term that in average output from say a solar farm or wind farm?

By PlasmaBomb on 5/8/2009 8:47:23 AM , Rating: 3
It is about 3.4 times the yearly output of Spains PS20 solar farm (@ 48,600 MWh per year). That figure is the manufacturers claim and is a bit of a cheat since it includes using 12-15% gas as well. Without the gas it is more like 4 times the total PS20 output.

By the way the previous poster is wrong about it being half the output of a nuclear reactor - it is more like 2-3% of a 1GW (small) nuclear reactors yearly output.

By artemicion on 5/7/2009 6:39:19 PM , Rating: 4
Stupid Americans, don't you know that the Gambian is the standard unit of measurement for power output in the metric system?


By fic2 on 5/7/2009 8:59:17 PM , Rating: 2
ROFL! I want to create a new account just so I can rate you up!

By PlasmaBomb on 5/8/2009 8:49:52 AM , Rating: 1
Um... Watt?

By shin0bi272 on 5/9/2009 4:29:06 PM , Rating: 1
what does that have to do with anything in this article or any reply? Im glad you know that europeans use a different standard than we do in america (not like you cant convert between the two but we wont bother with that bit of common sense) but no one cares about that. You stupid european.

best deal..
By DrRap on 5/7/2009 1:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
this is the best deal on SSD i found

RE: best deal..
RE: best deal..
By DrRap on 5/7/2009 6:49:36 PM , Rating: 2
sorry mine deal expired

RE: best deal..
By tjr508 on 5/8/2009 9:57:27 AM , Rating: 2
This was on Slickdeals a few days ago and is not valid. It is just a misprint and has been caught. A couple people in the forums got their orders in and might have gotten lucky.

prices , availabilty
By mforce on 5/7/2009 12:57:22 PM , Rating: 2
Just these days I wanted to get a new hard drive for an old computer I had around. OK so I only needed about 8 GB for some Linux , 4 GB could do but it was pretty tight. It's IDE so I though I'd go looking for an SSD.
As it turns out I wasn't able to find any cheap 4-8 GB IDE SSD here in Romania. Closest thing to a cheap SSD solution I found was a CF card + CF to IDE adaptor. But that turned out to cost more than a 80 GB IDE desktop HDD so what's the use then ....
SSD still has a long way to go and while I'm not expecting miracles I would like to get an 8 GB SSD at the price of an 80 GB HDD and some reasonable transfer rate , performance.

RE: prices , availabilty
By Pandamonium on 5/7/2009 2:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
SSD is still a high-end niche product. Nobody should take the newest storage tech and put it in an obsolete computer. I wouldn't buy a 80GB HDD today; I'd consider a >=1TB HDD if I want storage or an Intel/OCZ Vertex SSD if I wanted speed. And at current prices (bear in mind SSDs have only been on the market for a year or so), I would personally stick with the SSD option for quite some time.

Don't get me wrong- you'll be able to get an 8GB SDD that is price/performance competitive with an 80GB HDD. You'll just have to wait for that day. Manufacturers need time to recoup their R&D costs and figure out how to minimize production losses.

RE: prices , availabilty
By mforce on 5/7/2009 3:17:39 PM , Rating: 2
Well I hope so. It's just that I see small SSDs as a good solution and a good start.
8 GB is good enough for an OS , well not Vista or anything newer from MS but it will do for Windows XP or Linux. It's just an older P 3 which is all my mother needs for internet access and some document editing using OpenOffice. Sure most people need more than 8 GB and more than 80 GB but consider the case of someone who does only basic stuff on the PC , doesn't store movies , mp3s ...
I'm just saying it would be nice to have some companies come and offer some cheap low capacity SSDs for a start. Then we can move on to larger ones. Besides I think in desktops at least you'll have your OS on an SSD and storage on regular high capacity HDD.
MS could also help by not increasing the size of their damn OS so much.

By hmurchison on 5/7/2009 3:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think today's SSD are really all power efficient. I don't have a crystal ball but in 4 years I actually think SSD will be plugged right into the motherboard on a fast PCI-Express 4 or some other fast bus. It's likely that the controller will be highly integrated and I wouldn't be surprised to see the SSD in 2013 be 8x to 16x larger than what we have today and 5x faster all while consuming %25 percent of what they do now.

Enterprises are all over SSD now and it's really in its infancy and has yet to reach its zenith.

By fic2 on 5/7/2009 4:18:44 PM , Rating: 2
By then I would expect to have something like 4-8 slots on the mb for flash memory like what we have for RAM. You would then just buy 4 20G FRAM sticks and plug them in. Size of your FRAM sticks depend on needs and budget.

By TxJeepers on 5/7/2009 1:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
slightly more than the total yearly energy production of the African nation of Gambia

I'm sorry, but this still does not tell me much. How many here have a clue how large or small this nation is? Also, African nation and the first thing that comes to mind is that the nation probably does not have much of an electrical grid or demand.
I for one could understand better if maybe a state or city in America was used as a reference.

RE: Really?
By Amiga500 on 5/7/2009 2:18:29 PM , Rating: 1
167,000 MWhr is nothing.

A typical power station will produce on the order of 600 MW... so in 12 days it will produce 173,000 MWhr.

That into context?

By tjr508 on 5/8/2009 10:05:24 AM , Rating: 2
The SSD for consumers still makes little sense when looking at the performance-to-price ratio.

Is there a better way to spend an extra $100 on a mid-to-high end PC than a new Indilinx based drive?

(In general, not use specific.)

Why not
By shin0bi272 on 5/9/2009 4:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
use a 7200 rpm 2tb sata drive or 3 in your raid to cut down on the NUMBER of drives needed in the system. If you have 32 2.5" 15krpm sas drives each drawing 14watts per day (is that a 24hr day or 8 hr day?) I would imagine that you could use less power with 3 3.5" large drives and have the same amount of space. I know it wont be as fast as a 15k rpm sas drive with a 512mb cache raid card but remember we are all supposed to sacrifice to save the environment ... just ask algore.

Also I didnt see anyone say that the longer you use a SSD the more space you lose on it. So in that 5 years your drives will have to more than likely be replaced due to needing more space.

By Orac4prez on 5/9/2009 10:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
The only problem is that it costs the earnings of more than one small country, so they labour producing twice as much greenhouse gases to produce them.

By themaster08 on 5/12/2009 6:40:45 AM , Rating: 2
Any power savings made by SSD's will be eradicated by the ever-growing power consumption of other components. Namely, graphics cards.

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