SSD prices: More affordable? Steady, substantial decline? In free fall? Just what is going on here?

Senior Writer Vincent Chang over at CNET writes that “SSDs are more affordable than ever” and has the charted data to prove it. Clayton Vallabhan at ITPnet.com goes even further, writing “SSD prices in freefall.” For an even more extensive technical analysis of the decline in SSD pricing, see “SSD prices in steady, substantial decline” by Geoff Gasior on the TechReport.com Web site.

To get a handle on things, I turned to my go-to guy on Flash memory, Jim Handy of Objective Analysis, who writes two blogs you might want to follow if you’re interested in memory. The first is called “The SSD Guy” and the other is called “The Memory Guy.”

Earlier this month, Handy wrote about NAND Flash memory pricing in “The Memory Guy” blog. He started the blog with this:

“Last January at the Storage Visions Conference in Las Vegas (held every year just prior to CES) I asked the audience what they would do when NAND flash reached a price of 35¢ per gigabyte.  My projection (the dotted red line on the chart at left) was that prices would reach that level by the end of the year.

My audience was shocked to hear such a low price!”

Here’s the chart Handy projected:

Then Handy wrote:

“Well, I was wrong – according to spot-market watcher InSpectrum NAND chip prices have already reached that level (the black line on the chart.)  A competing firm, DRAMexchange claims that chip prices are no lower than 41¢/GB, but that microSD cards are going for as little as 29.5¢/GB.

How low can prices go?  Objective Analysis‘ cost model estimates that to reach 35¢/GB a manufacturer would either need to be using a 24nm (or smaller) process to manufacture TLC flash or a 20nm (or smaller) process with MLC.  Given that the market acceptance of TLC has been relatively low outside of SanDisk this puts a lot of pressure on NAND flash makers whose processes are not all that aggressive.”

So as you can see, NAND Flash prices have been falling faster than analysts like Jim Handy expected and the pricing drop is certainly being reflected in the price of SSDs, where the major component cost is indeed the NAND Flash memory chips.

By the way, Handy will be at Memcon in September. If you have a question to ask him and it needs to be in person, you’ll find him there.

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About sleibson2

EDA360 Evangelist and Marketing Director at Cadence Design Systems (blog at http://eda360insider.wordpress.com/)
This entry was posted in Flash, NAND, SSD, Storage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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