The prices of mainstream consumer SSDs have fallen dramatically every year over the past three years. By 2017, they are expected to be within 11 cents of the per-gigabyte price of hard disk drives (HDDs). Solid-state drives are superior to hard drives in every way but one: they’re faster, lighter, and less fragile, but they’re also more expensive. The last one has been the only thing keeping HDDs alive, and that thread appears to be getting thinner by the day.
Researchers at DRAMeXchange understand that the price per gigabyte of an SSD has fallen off a cliff in the past three years, and the trend is only accelerating. If the company's estimates are on the mark, these drives could cost just 11 cents more per gig than conventional hard drives by 2017. At that rate, you might not have to choose between high capacity and breakneck speed when you're on a budget -- you could easily afford both. Next year, SSDs are expected to be in 31% of new consumer laptops, and by 2017 they'll be in 41% of them, according to DRAMeXchange senior manager Alan Chen.
"Branded PC vendors and channel distributors are holding back on their SSD purchases due to lower-than-expected notebook sales," Chen said. "However, 256GB SSDs will be moving close to price parity with mainstream HDDs in 2016, so the adoption of SSDs in the business notebook segment will rise."
While SSD pricing has dropped dramatically over the past three years, HDD pricing hasn't. From 2012 to 2015, per gigabyte pricing for HDDs dropped one cent per year from 9 cents in 2012 to 6 cents this year. However, through 2017, the per-gigabyte price of HDDs is expected to remain flat: 6 cents per gigabyte. That means a 1TB hard drive will continue to retail for an average of about $60, though they can be found for under $45 on many online retail sites.
The drastic drops in SSD pricing are likely due to increased competition from storage makers, who’ve made some significant technological advances in the last year. In August, Samsung introduced the first 16TB solid state drive, and while it’s solely aimed at servers for now, the underlying 3D NAND technology also appears in much cheaper consumer drives. SanDisk and Toshiba have also been working on 3D NAND flash chips, and Intel has been collaborating with Micron on 3D NAND as well.
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