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SSDs could fall below $1 per GB by the end of the year

by Pete Mason on 20 August 2010, 13:14

Tags: iSuppli

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Solid-state drives may offer incredible speeds, but for the most part, the cost of admission is prohibitively high.  According to market-research firm iSuppli, though, prices are set to drop dramatically towards the end of this year to as little as $1/GB (£0.64).

A big driving force in the decreasing cost of NAND is said to be the abundant availability of triple-level-cell (TLC) chips, which allow for higher storage-densities than SLC and MLC memory.  This could lead to flash memory being cheaper than it has been since the end of 2008, following which NAND saw a dramatic price increase to over $2 per GB at the end of last year.

Hopefully these shifts in the market price will make their way to consumers, making smaller SSDs affordable to the masses and higher-capacity models more than just a pipedream.  If the predictions come to pass, we could see 32GB and 40GB drives costing less than £50 for the first time.

However, senior analyst Michael Yang thinks it may be too little, too late, commenting that "traditional HDDs gained a lot of additional ground during the past few years in terms of rising capacity and falling prices. In fact, HDDs have gained so much ground that SSDs now are in danger of never regaining their competitive footing".

With capacity continuing to increase, it's unlikely that hard drives will be disappearing any time soon, but as prices fall, SSDs will start to look more and more attractive.

How cheap will SSDs have to get before you will be convinced to take the plunge? Let us know in the forums.

HEXUS Forums :: 36 Comments

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For the price of 2x500Gb Hd's in a raid 0 I can't see me going SSD anytime soon.
I think once a high performance (not top, just a decent one) ~40GB drive comes about for under £40 I may start considering getting one as a boot drive and sorting the PC out, but at the same time I'd probably buy another storage HDD as they're equally as attractive price wise.
Flash-based drives to become more affordable, but can they compete with HDDs?
On cost per megabyte, not any time soon, no. With a 1TB HDD currently at about the same price (£50-ish) as predicted for a 30GB SSD assuming the fall occurs as expected, you still have a 30x-ish cost factor.

So for most people, for mass storage, no, they can't compete. Not now, not after this change, probably not for quite a long time and perhaps (though I wouldn't bet on it) not ever.

But mass storage isn't what most people buy SSDs for. They're bought either as performance enhancers, like boot drives, or for specific purposes (like low weight, power consumption and resilience) in devices like netbooks and some laptops. For that latter type of purpose, yes, a large reduction in cost will change the calculation for a lot of people.

Are people prepared to pay for faster booting, faster app-loading times, etc? Yes. The issue is … “how much will they pay?” And that depends on how affluent they are, how badly they want or need reduced boot and load times, etc, and how much they just want an SSD because it's the latest gimmick.

They cheaper they get, the easier it is to just indulge in what for many may well be an impulse purchase, something they want not something they need. At £50, I probably would. At £150, I certainly won't. And as price has been coming down, so I've been getting closer and closer. Of course, now that this type of price drop is being openly discussed, a lot of people of my frame of mind will be waiting for the drop to occur, so it may even be that we see a reduction in impulse purchases with people (like me) waiting on the drop. ;)

So will they compete? Not as main system drives, no, not unless the price/MB drops hugely from where it is now. The drive for multimedia, the apparently ever increasing requirements for storage for music, photos, video clips, large games and even full-blown DVD rips ensures that they wont be competitive for actually replacing HDD storage entirely until the price/MB comes at least somewhere close to HDD levels and I don't see that happening any time soon. An increasing number of systems will have an SSD, and it may well become commonplace, or even a standard configuration, but they wont replace HDDs for a long time, or until a radical change in price/capacity.
Im quite interested in the HDD/SDD hybrid that was mentioned a while ago…
will tape ever be fully replaced by hard drives?