SSD prices won't fall indefinitely, says SanDisk

SSD prices won't fall indefinitely, says SanDisk

Summary: The time may be right to buy that SSD you've been wanting, because according to SanDisk, prices aren't going to fall much further.

TOPICS: Storage

While we've been able to rely on solid-state disk (SSD) prices falling almost weekly since they were introduced, that trend could be coming to an end soon, claims memory vendor SanDisk.

The sweet spot seems to be the $1 per gigabyte mark, and that seems to have been hit with the new higher-capacity versions of the Ultra Plus drives unveiled at CES 2013 this year. 

Speaking to PC Pro, SanDisk's director of product marketing for solid-state drives Cliff Sun said that prices fell significantly last year, but said he expects things to calm this year, partly because some player will price themselves out of the market.

"A lot of players try to get market share and try to win by lowering prices, and that means some end up exiting out of the market," said Sun.

"Those who own the cost of NAND flash have a significant advantage," Sun added, pointing out that SanDisk produces its own storage chips. "Those who own that flash can survive shortages as well as times of declining ASPs [average selling prices]."

Over the past year SSD prices have fallen by almost a quarter as OEMs not only fit SSDs into new devices such as ultrabooks, but also look to replace traditional hard drives with the new technology. We're still a few years off from solid state drives completely ousting hard drives out of PCs.

Given that three makers currently dominate the hard drive market -- Western Digital, Seagate, and Samsung -- SSD makers have to tread carefully in case the same thing happens to their market. Supply chain sources I have spoken to have in the past expressed concern at how fast SSD prices were being driven down, and the effect that this would have in the long term on the health of the industry.

Topic: Storage

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  • The prices need to continue to drop, though

    The prices need to continue to drop, though - especially if this dream of replacing all platter based drives with SSDs is to become reality.
    • Agreed

      The masses are not going to spend $1,000 for a TB disk.
      Michael Kelly
  • Think again folks

    I do not care how good SSD are, if they think they can jack up the prices and expect me to replace platter based Hd with SSD, they can go to the devil and bankruptcy / buyout as far as I am concern.
    • Um

      No one's forcing you to buy it. The NAND makers have struggled with profitability issues on and off over the years to achieve the goal of replacing platter-based drives. So many obstacles are driving pricing issues.

      It's not the inquisition. Relax.
  • Well...

    There's a certain amount of "of course you'll say that, if you said the opposite no-one would buy SSDs!" but he's probably right in this case, HDDs are just cheaper to make and will probably always remain so. It's not like the performance of HDDs is so bad that the jump to SSDs is absolutely necessary, anyway.

    Also, just a quick note, Samsung don't make HDDs anymore, they sold off that business to Seagate. After that and the sale of Hitachi's HDD arm to WD, the only manufacturers left are WD, Seagate and Toshiba.
  • I love the word "indefinitely"

    But even if they do ... according to proper math laws the price would always stay a tiny bit above zero as long as it falls for a certain percentage and not in absolute numbers.
    In such a case the price will eventually become negative.
  • Not a credible forecast

    But it's okay. He's in charge of product marketing.

    Compared to the hard drive industry, if the SSD industry follows a similar path to maturity, prices won't stabilize until only two large manufacturers dominate the market (for HDs it's Seagate & WD). Hard drive profit margins are small. High margins exist only temporarily on first-to-market products.

    Why will prices continue to fall with too many suppliers?
    1. Simple competition. As with any business, the supplier with the lowest price will sell more. Unless you provide a very unique capability or quality, your prices must follow.
    2. Inventory dumping. Anytime a company has over-built an aging design, they discount & dump their extra inventory. That discounted price becomes the new target. Consequently, every competitor has to discount their own similar inventory. The net result is generally that the same proportion of sales are achieved by the same companies, but now at a negative profit. Moronic, but that's the way it always functioned for the hard drive industry, until consolidation.
  • Really now?

    Isn't it wonderful? On the day he says $1 a GB is a limit - micron releases a 1 TB SSD for $600!!

    Same day!
  • SSD prices won't fall indefinitely, says SanDisk

    current ssd technology is maturing and manufacturers can not forever charge premium prices for an old technology. memristor if it will become viable will eventually supplant current semiconductor technology, or maybe even ibm magnetic memory will be a viable alternative ...