Microsoft wants to put an end to mechanical hard drives in PCs

Microsoft is pushing computer manufacturers to drop hard disk drives (HDDs) as the primary built-in storage in pre-built Windows 11 PCs, Tom’s Hardware reports.

The publication has seen a recent Trendfocus executive brief that claims the software giant has given original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) a 2023 deadline to switch over to solid-state drives (SSDs).

Tom’s Hardware said OEMs had pushed back on the deadline because an SSD was not a requirement for Windows 11.

In terms of storage, Microsoft only demands the installation drive has a minimum of 64GB capacity.

The company has previously taken flak for seemingly excessive Windows 11 system requirements since the OS launched last year.

Notably, Windows 11 does not officially support processors older than Intel’s 8th generation or AMD’s 2nd generation Ryzen chips.

It does not matter if some of the high-end processors from those line-ups are much more powerful than the latest entry-level processors that do support Windows 11.

This is linked to Microsoft’s requirement that motherboards support Trusted Platform Module 2.0.

However, Microsoft could have a foot to stand on when it comes to its demand for a switch to SSDs.

Two of Windows 11’s biggest features — DirectStorage and Windows Subsystem for Android — require an SSD to work.

The former significantly boosts in-game loading times while the latter enables support for Android mobile apps to run near-natively on Windows.

Having Windows 11 on an SSD on all pre-built PCs is also likely to offer users a much better experience in general performance.

Various commentators have shown that booting up Windows 11 installed on an SSD was much faster than using a mechanical drive.

Sandeep Singh’s test saw a clean install of the operating system boot up in around 34 seconds using an NVMe SSD, compared to 1 minute and 31 seconds using a 7,200rpm SATA HDD.

Another test performed by Everything Gaming Pro on a different configuration found an SSD would boot up in about 22 seconds compared to 1 minute and 4 seconds on an HDD.

SSDs are not only faster than HDDs but are generally more reliable, as they don’t have moving parts.

That means they could be less susceptible to data loss and will last longer.

However, being the newer of the two technologies, SSDs are currently more expensive than HDDs.

Making it compulsory for OEMs to ship their systems with SSDs could push up prices, particularly at the entry level.

Fortunately, market research firm TrendForce recently predicted that SSD prices are set for a  “noticeable and cyclical downward correction” soon.

The analysts believe there is an oversupply of SSDs on the market and that improvements in the chip shortage in 2022 would further stimulate this reduction.

Now read: Intel Arc A730M rivals mobile RTX 3060 performance

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments


Share this article
Microsoft wants to put an end to mechanical hard drives in PCs