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ISSUE 19.25.F • 2022-06-20

In this issue

HARDWARE: Terabyte update 2022

Additional articles in the PLUS issue • Get Plus!

PUBLIC DEFENDER: Want more power and control? Turn on developer mode.

MICROSOFT 365: How to access Microsoft 365 from PowerShell

PATCH WATCH: The end of the road for Internet Explorer

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Terabyte update 2022

Will Fastie

By Will Fastie

This year, the trend line for storage prices is harder to discern.

In last year’s installment of this series, I wrote, “There has never been a time when I have been so uncertain about what comes next.”

I’m glad I made that “prediction,” because I would never have guessed no change in prices. That’s pretty much what we got.

Just looking at Figure 1 and comparing the prices from 2021 and 2022, that stasis is apparent. The simplest example is a 1TB SSD, which did not change in price at all.

Storage Prices
Figure 1. Prices as of June 2022 for the memory types shown

These prices are not particularly informative; they are simply what you will pay to buy such a device. For individual types, the trend line is obvious. For comparison between types, a common metric is needed.

Thus the second table (Figure 2) shows the cost per gigabyte for the same items shown in Figure 1.

Cost per gigabyte
Figure 2. Cost per gigabyte for the items shown in Figure 1

My Terabyte Update series (see references below) attempts to illustrate the difference in price between the two most common types of secondary storage: hard-disk drives (HDD, rotating magnetic discs) and solid-state drives (SSD, flash memory). The original goal was to establish that HDDs have a significant price advantage over SSDs on a cost-per-gigabyte basis.

That’s still true. In fact, there’s very little difference between 2021 and 2022 in this regard — HDDs are about 50% less than SSDs for both years, at least in the capacity range I show in these charts. Will that 2x factor hold for the future? It might. Besides their high demand, SSDs perform better than HDDs, something that many (myself included) consider worth the price.

The reason the chart includes SD cards of various types is that such storage is increasingly used for additional storage in small devices, such as phones. The cost per gigabyte for SD cards has dropped, but by only 10%. Note that the SDHC card still costs more than it did two years ago, so it hasn’t reached its previous low.

I include RAM just for jollies. Its premium price is obviously based on its high performance, so it’s in the chart just to show how cheap secondary storage is by comparison. But note that the cost of DDR3 RAM held steady while the faster DDR4 RAM dropped a bit. I attribute that to less demand for DDR3.

If that sounds counterintuitive and not what you learned in ECON 101, it’s because as demand slackens for a given generation of RAM, manufacturers lose the economy of scale that allows prices to fall. Then, when manufacturers stop making that generation, all that’s left is an inventory of new old stock (NOS), for which prices inevitably rise due to scarcity.

My buying recommendations

My advice this year is not substantially different from last year. I’d say the biggest change is not recommending SSDs smaller than 1TB.

If you are thinking about switching from an HDD to an SSD as your boot drive in an existing system, don’t wait. One-terabyte SSD drives are affordable. HDD-to-SSD upgrades, when possible, breathe new life into older PCs, desktop and laptop alike.

Don’t buy new PCs based on HDDs for the boot drive. In the long run, it’s not worth it.

Don’t go small on an SSD. Service lifetime for an SSD is dependent on how many times it is written and how much reserve space has been set aside to replace bits in the drive that have gone bad. A quirk of the way reserve space works is that the larger the drive, the longer the probable lifetime of the drive. I tell friends and clients to replace HDDs after five years, and that has also been my recommendation for SSDs of 500 GB or less. For larger SSDs, seven years might be safe. Yes, SSDs wear out. And they can “crash.”

Buyer’s remorse can be a factor. Let’s say you go small and purchase a 1TB drive, then later upgrade to 2TB. It used to be the case that you wouldn’t feel too badly because in the meantime, the 2TB drive would have dropped in price. For now, don’t expect that. Think ahead and buy bigger — buy one drive now instead of two over the near term.

The “buy bigger” advice also applies to devices in which the SSD is built in and cannot be upgraded. You’re going to see more devices like that, so buy wisely (and big).


There has been tremendous movement in the silicon fabrication space, with most of the major companies building plants all over the world. That means more capacity coming online (although not instantly — fabs take a long time to build and boot) and somewhat less uncertainty based upon geopolitical factors (new fabs in more stable places).

My conclusion for the next 12 months is that prices will not fluctuate significantly. I think we may have reached the bottom for the cost per gigabyte for HDDs. For SSDs, I think prices will be stable while we are waiting for supply to move closer to demand. Even then, though, I think it likely that the cost per gigabyte for SSDs will not get much closer to HDDs, due to the natural performance advantage of solid-state memory.

See you next year.


Talk Bubbles Join the conversation! Your questions, comments, and feedback
about this topic are always welcome in our forums!

Will Fastie is editor in chief of the AskWoody Plus Newsletter.

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Brian Livingston

Want more power and control? Turn on developer mode.

By Brian Livingston

Most digital devices and software applications have a little-known side of themselves called “developer mode.” Once you turn this baby on, you can have previously undreamed-of power literally at your fingertips.

Tech companies normally remain quiet about these features — except with regard to actual app developers — because boneheaded users can fall into hidden bear traps and not know how to get themselves out. But if you read up on the capabilities you want, you can enable features that you’ll wish you’d had from Day One.


Peter Deegan

How to access Microsoft 365 from PowerShell

By Peter Deegan

PowerShell can be daunting at first, no doubt about that. But it can be very useful and sometimes essential for managing Microsoft 365, so I’ll explain how to use PowerShell from the very start.

From the Microsoft 365 Web dashboard, it is difficult (and sometimes impossible) to make certain changes. Only PowerShell can make them, but the online help makes a lot of assumptions and isn’t easy for beginners to understand.


Susan Bradley

The end of the road for Internet Explorer

By Susan Bradley

Well, not quite. Sort of. Maybe. Partially.

Over a year ago, Microsoft published the Internet Explorer 11 desktop app retirement FAQ, announcing that IE11 would be retired on June 15, 2022. (That’s last Wednesday, in case you missed it.) Retirement means the end of support. The FAQ is full of details, confusing and self-contradictory.

So what does this really mean?

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