Solid-state disk prices falling, still more costly than hard disks

The cost of solid-state drives are falling, but they remain on average about nine-times the cost of regular hard drive storage.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

The price of solid-state drives (SSDs) have fallen dramatically over the past year and a half, but compared to regular spinning hard drives the cost of the storage remains about nine-times the price per gigabyte.

Research conducted by price comparison service Idealo shows that prices for SSD drives declined sharply between Q2 and Q3 2011 by €0.15 ($0.19) per gigabyte, fell steadily over the Q4 2011 holiday quarter by €0.10 ($0.13) per gigabyte, before declining rapidly in price over the subsequent two quarters ending Q3 2011 by €0.24 ($0.31) per gigabyte. 

Credit: Idealo

All in all, the company said the prices for the most popular SSD drives has fallen by close to one-quarter during 2012 alone, signaling an industry push to lower prices across the board.

Most of the largest reductions during 2012 were for larger capacity SSD drives; devices between 300-600GB dropped by approximately €0.50 ($0.65) per gigabyte -- however smaller-to-medium sized drives between 120GB and 250GB remain around €1 ($1.29) per gigabyte.

Credit: Idealo

Conversely, prices for larger regular hard drives increased towards the Q4 2011 holiday quarter by nearly double per gigabyte, following the devastating Thai floods that caused an industry slowdown in hard drive and chip manufacturing. 

It comes more than half a year after IHS analyst Fang Zhang said that the hard drive market may not recover until at least 2014 following the floods.

While for years industry analysts have expected solid-state drives to replace regular spinning hard drives, the Thai floods threw an almighty spanner in the works. The technology kept up-to-date in terms of expectations -- such as super-slim ultrabooks that require smaller, thinner and more energy efficient solid-state hard drives due to the size of the machines -- but the cost of the storage remains high. 

For now, while solid-state drives still offer far greater speeds and reliability over their ageing, regular hard drive counterparts, Zhang believes the solid-state drives "pose no threat" to the existing hard drive line-up.

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