It is true that, in reality, there are also SSDs in M.2 format and SATA 3 interface, but it is also true that the market share of this type of device has never been comparable to that of the other two types mentioned. In any case, until now M.2 SSDs had always stood out for being more expensive but with better performance, while the 2.5 ″ SSDs and SATA 3 interface had their reason for being because they were much cheaper, which allowed them to be purchased with higher capacities for little money. What has changed then?
Fewer SATA 3 SSDs are sold but more PCIe, why?
In order to understand what is happening at the moment, it is necessary to go back a few years, in the golden age of mechanical hard drives on PC. Back then when they appeared the first commercial SSDs on the market, these had a 2.5-inch format and SATA 2 interface, with capacities that barely reached 64 GB in the top-of-the-range models. They were extremely expensive, but already at that time they managed to triple the performance of the best traditional hard drives, so they undoubtedly attracted the interest of both users and manufacturers.
Then came the SATA 3 interface, and with it the performance of all storage devices was significantly improved; The problem is that while the best mechanical hard drives barely offered 90-100 MB / s of transfer speed, the first SATA 3 SSDs already almost took the limit of the interface, exceeding 500 MB / s (in general, it is supported that SATA 3 SSDs are 6x faster than 3.5 ″ hard drives with the same interface).
As these SSDs were adopted in the market, more and more manufacturers were launching their models, their manufacturing process improved and became cheaper, their capacity expanded, and we reached the point where practically all PCs on the market already had an SSD for at least the fundamental operating system and programs as it greatly accelerated the performance of the entire system.
But right after that, SSDs in M.2 format began to appear, initially with a SATA 3 interface, but soon the ones we have now arrived, with a PCIe interface, greatly improving the performance of the SSDs that we had until now. At that time, mechanical hard drives began to be left aside and, and the trend made history repeat itself but one step further: now the SATA 3 SSDs were left as secondary devices, leaving the faster PCIe SSDs, such as storage for the operating system and main programs. In this simile, SATA 3 SSDs are traditional hard drives, and PCIe SSDs are SATA 3.
Now we have reached a point where more PCIe SSDs are sold than SATA 3, and with it obviously more SSDs in M.2 format than 2.5 inches. This is leading us into a trend where less and less 2.5 ″ SSDs are being sold, and therefore less are manufactured since, in the end, manufacturers follow the same market trend as what we once lived with hard drives and the first SSDs.
A fourfold answer: speed, capacity, price and size
The market is at a time when undoubtedly everything tends to performance, and in the end everyone wants to have the best performance on their system. This, coupled with the fact that in recent times the capacity of SSDs in M.2 format has ceased to be an impediment since the price has been getting cheaper to a certain extent, is what has led to this new trend in the market where users are already starting to do without 2.5 ″ SSDs entirely, even as additional storage.
Of course, it is not that everyone is beginning to do without this type of storage, but it is a trend that is gradually gaining strength since, if with a single M.2 SSD you already have all the capacity you need and also the best performance, why install an additional SATA 3 SSD?
However, there is a fourth parameter that influences this trend, and that is the physical size of the devices. It is obvious that the SSDs in M.2 format are much smaller and lighter than the 2.5 ″ ones, but they also consume less, and this is something that the laptop manufacturers They are greatly appreciated because they have to do a lot of ingenuity to fit powerful and low-power hardware into the tight space these devices have.
For this reason, laptop manufacturers have stopped using 2.5 ″ sockets, and all modern laptops now use only SSD storage with devices in M.2 format and PCI-Express interfaceas it is simply much more convenient and profitable for them to do it this way. This has led to lower orders for SSDs from manufacturers, and therefore less and less 2.5 ″ drives are being manufactured, something that, in the end, ends up also having an impact on the market.
These are all the reasons why M.2 SSDs are beginning to prevail over 2.5 ″ SSDs, but we still have to answer the question: are they doomed to disappear? The answer is no, at least not in the short or medium term; The 2.5 ″ SSD and SATA 3 interface market cannot evolve much further in terms of performance, where it has obviously been stagnant for years, but they can still improve the price / GB capacity ratio and that is something that always goes to have a niche in the market.