In 2023, Microsoft plans to make it mandatory for PC manufacturers to migrate from hard disc drives (HDDs) to solid-state drives (SSDs) in their Windows 11 Computers. The alleged plan by the software company is expected to raise PC pricing since manufacturers would have to spend more money on SSDs to replace traditional spinning hard drives. The switch, on the other hand, might be able to help users gain better performance. SSDs for booting and HDDs for mass storage is now standard on many Windows laptops.
According to Tom Hardware, Microsoft is pressuring Computer manufacturers to use SSDs instead of HDDs as the storage medium for Windows 11 Computers. The specific date of the change has yet to be announced. However, according to Trendfocus analyst John Chen, Microsoft had planned to make it a requirement this year, but it has been eventually moved to sometime during the second half of next year.
It’s worth noting that the current list of Windows 11 hardware requirements does not clearly state that an SSD is required to install the operating system. It specifies that 64GB of storage is required to install the most recent Windows version. According to Microsoft, users will require an SSD to get DirectStorage and the Windows Subsystem for Android.
All major PC manufacturers, including HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Acer, offer a significant number of Windows laptops with SSD boot drives, as well as HDD storage for storing normal data. However, there are also inexpensive variants with HDDs as the only storage choice. Some models also use eMMC storage to assist manufacturers in selling low-cost alternatives.
Shifting to SSDs over HDDs incurs additional costs, which Computer manufacturers are likely to pass on to users in the form of increased laptop prices.
In today’s market, a 1TB HDD costs around the same as a standard 256GB SSD. This implies that users would lose storage space if a computer manufacturer needs to upgrade their laptop from an HDD to an SSD. Alternatively, the cost of manufacturing that specific laptop model would be increased to match the HDD version’s storage space.
Although SSDs are more expensive than HDDs, their operational costs are lower in the long term since the former uses less power and cooling. Compared to a standard rotational drive, it gives faster reading and writing rates.
Microsoft’s main competitor, Apple’s MacBook and Mac PCs, has been equipped with SSDs for the past several years.
According to Ars Technica, even if computer manufacturers are prohibited from selling devices with spinning drives, the stated restriction is unlikely to prevent customers from installing Windows 11 on desktops and laptops with HDDs.
However, it is uncertain whether Microsoft will make SSDs obligatory for all computers or only a subset of them. It’s also unclear whether the shift will be restricted to a few markets at first or will be implemented globally.