If you’ve ever had to deal with older PCs—perhaps you’re trying to transfer files out from your old computer—then chances are you’ve noticed how slow it is. A big part of why these computers are slow can typically be attributed to them still using mechanical hard disk drives (HDD). Microsoft though is trying to chance that, by pushing manufacturers to stop using HDDs as the main storage in PCs, and to use SSDs instead.
According to a report by Tom’s Hardware, Microsoft has reportedly told manufacturers that they need to stop using HDDs by next year. Apparently, Microsoft had originally informed them to make the switch to SSDs by this year, but following some push back from the manufacturers, they have agreed to meet in the middle by only making the full switch to SSDs by 2023.
Microsoft themselves though has not made SSDs a formal requirement for Windows 11 yet. The official Windows 11 requirements notes that only a minimum of 64GB of storage is needed to install Windows 11, with no mention on whether or not that 64GB needs to be on an SSD or not. That being said, there are some Windows 11 features that will only work if your PC is using an SSD, such as DirectStorage and Windows Subsystem for Android.
Of course, chances are you might not even have noticed such issues if you’ve already been using an SSD for years. A number of manufacturers though still do actually sell prebuilt PCs with HDDs as their primary form of storage, especially when it comes to entry level desktops and/or business computers.
A quick look online shows brand new offerings such as Lenovo’s ThinkCentre Neo 50t Tower coming with a 1TB 7200RPM HDD as the primary storage option. Priced at RM3,309, this is a PC with a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12400 processor, though with such slow storage it might not feel like it. Other manufacturers that we’ve also found selling new PCs with old school HDDs include HP, and Dell.
That’s not to say there isn’t a reason behind why these manufacturers still use HDDs for their PCs. A 1TB HDD costs around the same as a 256GB SSD, but offers nearly quadruple the storage size. Furthermore, 256GB of storage is also often not enough capacity for most users, but going up to a 512GB SSD could end up making these typically entry level or business PCs priced too high for their target market. For the most part though, a large chunk of PCs these days already do have at least a 256GB SSD, with options to have a HDD for bulk storage too.
Microsoft so far has not commented on the issue, but it does look like SSDs have finally completed taking over HDDs as the primary form of storage for PCs. Hopefully though that won’t cause SSD prices to go up as manufacturers increase demand for them.