Flash SSD prices dropping - but not enough

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.

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?


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