Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

Summary: Flash SSD prices still too rich for you? Prices are dropping, despite Japan's quake woes. Here's what's happening - and what to expect this year.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Storage
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Flash SSD prices still too rich for you? Prices are dropping, despite Japan's quake woes. Here's what's happening - and what to expect.

Oops Last October I predicted that by now

. . . consumer SSDs will be less than $1/GB - maybe less that 75¢ - down from $2+ today so every gamer will be able to afford one. That will drive SSD volumes for years.

That was optimistic - at the time consumer SSDs were $2-3.50/GB - but real progress has been made. What happened?

A mixed bag According to DRAMeXchange:

  • Earthquake. Japan's brutal earthquake/tsunami caused buyers to increase inventories keeping prices higher than expected.
  • Soft Q2 demand. The nascent economic recovery is faltering, leading to fears of weak demand for the rest of the year.
  • New supply delayed. Major new plants expected last year in Q2 slipped a quarter - and may slip further. 2x nm parts are just now arriving in products.
  • Weak netbook demand. The iPad kicked netbooks to the curb, reducing spot market demand, while Apple's contract suppliers kept busy. Apple's demand for quality parts - also used in other name-brand SSDs - kept the best NAND quality supply tight and prices high.

While much depends on macroeconomic conditions - a 2nd dip looks likely - the net/net is that a few quality SSDs will be down to $1.50/GB by Christmas - look for some Black Friday deals - and SD cards will drop to 75¢/GB.

The Storage Bits take US and European governments and their corporate masters are intent on extracting maximum misery from consumers while protecting banksters from their crimes. And since consumers drive the economy, demand is uncertain, making suppliers cautious.

Flash SSD technology is fast evolving and so is the market. Despite the SSD wow! factor, price and quality concerns are limiting uptake. Flash controller costs are proving more stubborn than expected as we learn about more potholes on the road to SSD nirvana.

Most consumers won't find an SSD under the Christmas tree, unless it comes wrapped in a smartphone or iPad. The enterprise market remains cautious as well, preferring integrated SSDs backed by vendor warranties to after-market add-ons.

While the market isn't moving as fast as I'd hoped, it is moving. Consumers and vendors are slowly finding their way.

Comments welcome, of course. I'm on the fence on my next drive purchase: SSD or Velociraptor? Fast boots are nice, but more capacity is too. How do you decide?

Topics: Hardware, Storage

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12 comments
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  • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

    I'm also interested in a comparison between SSDs and Velociraptors. I'm going to finally build my own desktop now that I've graduated and no longer really need the mobility of a laptop anymore and am trying to decide if the price for an SSD is really worth it.
    Aerowind
  • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

    "Flash controller costs are proving more stubborn than expected . . ."

    You know what? Dump the controller thing into software and open source it. Would probably make things easier.

    I don't understand what's so hard about making a stupid drive controller. We've had flash memory for years, why are they still stumbling over it?
    CobraA1
  • Decision time

    Buy both!

    The discipline of fitting OS/applications and work-in-progress onto an SSD is none too difficult and cuts down on the cost of SSD capacity. In the UK the cost of a 100GB SSD and a 2TB Western Digital WD20EARS disk is about the same as a 600GB Velociraptor.

    This separation of 'WIP' and 'completed' becomes more beneficial as the necessity for speed in the former and capacity of the latter increase (and sets one up for cloud operations). For example I have two HP MicroServers which I bought here:
    http://www.serversplus.com/servers/tower_servers/hp_tower_servers/633724-421
    filled with eight 2TB disks.

    My photography and image manipulation is run on a DELL 430 (now DELL 460) with the supplied disk replaced by an SSD. It doesn't matter that the 430 has little room for expansion ... it has an 8 thread CPU, an x16 slot for graphics and can handle 16GB RAM ... with the diskery elsewhere.

    I'm interested in a few recent developments: INTEL's Z68 chipset which promises to convert any old disk into something much better than a Velociraptor.
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4329/intel-z68-chipset-smart-response-technology-ssd-caching-review

    Should I ever get into video editing then maybe an OCZ Revodrive filling an x4 slot and providing huge bandwidth.
    (Of course these SSD technologies are new: another reason to move completed jobs to a more stable environment.)

    I'm also interested in the new INTEL E3-1200 series XEON's. These look they give us poor Windows users a chance to build an inexpensive workstation protected with ECC memory. OK, only 8 threads ... but 8 fast threads+SSD+nVidia accelerated graphics ... sounds like a decent package to me.
    jacksonjohn
  • RAID?

    How does RAID fit into this discussion?
    I can get between 40 - 60 MB/s from my standard HDD.

    If I created a RAID 5 setup, what is the "rule of thumb" for the speed?
    If I have 2 data discs (1 parity disc) will I get 80 - 120 MB/s?

    How many discs would I need to match a SSD?
    What if those discs were Velociraptor-style HDDs, instead of standard HDDs?
    lehnerus2000
    • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

      @lehnerus2000 Much of the speed benefit of SSDs that I've seen - I've had a couple - is from boot up and app starts. Most single-user systems don't do enough I/O the rest of the time for the limitations of disks to be significant - unless you are using a lot of virtual memory. Then you should just get more RAM.
      Robin Harris
      • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

        @Robin Harris
        Thanks for your reply. :)
        "<i>Most single-user systems don't do enough I/O the rest of the time for the limitations of disks to be significant ...</i>"
        I thought that might be the case.
        One of my friends insists that he needs an SSD for video encoding (he's not a professional video editor).
        lehnerus2000
  • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

    About a year ago I bought an Intel 80GB SSD for my Boot device and I use a 1 Terabyte HDD for everything else my Win 7 performance mark is 7.6. Best of both worlds I say.
    fwfulton
  • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

    "Weak netbook demand." - I guess people found out that they didn?t get a notebook?s preformance and then turned over to Apple that?s known all over the world.

    Who and where the fault is that the SSD is more expencive than HDD can only be a matter of time and trust in the product. I have just build another PC to my younger brother. The OS is on the SSD (120 GB) and there?s a 500 GB HDD for data and other programs.

    You can?t say that the SSD win the race because it is faster. It?s needed to see how reliable and updated the firmware is too, because you can?t flash the new firmware to the SSD when it?s the master drive with the OS installed.
    iTrucker
    • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

      I really don't think anyone has put it that way before!. Your blog is definitely worth a read if anyone finds it. I'm lucky I did because now I've got a whole new view of this.
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      franklin3346
    • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

      I guess what I???m trying to say is that you are there, in everything I am, in everything I???ve ever done, and looking back, I know that I should have told you how much you???ve always meant to me.
      <a href="http://www.triactol-review.com/buy-triactol">buy triactol</a>
      lavonic
  • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

    I have seen too many postings with links to other peoples cloud files and hacks. I will just stick with my USB external harddrive and in this day and time I suspect that this is not even safe!
    <a href="http://www.ipad3-release.com/">ipad 3</a>
    lavonic
  • RE: Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

    It is understandable that they will be keeping their prices up because of the earthquake they are just getting back to their usual life. They should estimate by <a href="http://www.loaninterestrates.ca">loan calculator</a> the degree that they will lose so much than lowering their prices. Now they are scared that because of their high price the demands are getting low than the <a href="http://www.freehouseinfo.ca">house values</a> now. Now they should think of a new way to boost their sales and their <a href="http://www.checkingaccount.ca">checking account</a>.
    cassie1980