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SSDs and Chia farming

Solid-state drives are extremely power efficient. Designed for use in laptops and mobile devices for long battery life, NAND and SSD controllers are architected for near-zero idle power consumption. The NVM Express (NVMe) specification for solid-state drives contains various features for power savings, with mainstream consumer SSDs ranging from 2-4mW idle power with 5-8mS resume latency.

NAND flash is used across virtually every market segment, from mobile phones, laptops, cars, and data centers. The total market size for SSDs alone reached over 426 million units in 2021 IDC SSD Forecast Update Dec 2021. In 2021 NAND based storage solutions made up >90% of laptop and portable PC shipments [IDC, 2021] and predicted to make up 75% of shipments in Desktops in 2025 (currently 50%).

With the analysis that was done on the Chia workload showing 99.7% idle time on HDDs, this may be 99.9 or 99.99% on SSDs due to the latency reduction. This means that one can effectively farm Chia with near-zero power consumption on consumer or power-optimized farming SSDs!

It is very possible that we will see some portion of the underutilized space come from SSDs in the coming years, or even dedicated farming optimized consumer SSDs. The average capacity SSD in the channel / retail space is now 1TB, while the capacity in laptops is still only 512GB. This means while 3D NAND capacity increases continue, the average user will have a considerable amount of storage in their laptop that is underutilized. Current prices of SSDs are 3-6x the $/TB of capacity-optimized hard disk drives. With the majority of the TCO in farming being the $/TB of the storage device, it is unlikely we will see dedicated Chia farming SSDs being used until the price gets to 2-3x that of HDD. With the amount of power savings that can be achieved with consumer SSDs in Chia, we expect a fair amount of innovation in this space in the coming years.