Price Trends of HDDs Vs. SSDs

That is the question.
By Jean Jacques Maleval on 2010.12.06

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Everybody prefers SSDs to HDDs because flash drives have all better specs, but costs (and limited number of write cycles). Today's main analysis is to look at the trend of prices between the two technologies to find tomorrow's winner.

To try answer to this crucial question, we looked at two conferences, SSD vs HDD $/GB in Retail at Flash Memory Summit 2010 last August at Santa Clara,CA and HDD Areal Density & The Low Price Limbo, last September at Diskcon in the same city by PriceG2, Inc.

This market research firm tracks the retail industry products - currently HDDs, SSDs, USB keys and flash cards - on Internet to create intelligence for its clients. His president, Andy Higginbotham, was formerly senior director, marketing for WD, and director, sales and marketing for Samsung’s HDD division.

The most interesting comparison is between 2.5-inch HDDs and SSDs where the battle is concentrating for notebooks.

Higginbotham said that: "The lowest retail price for a 256GB SSD is currently at a 13X premium over a 250GB HDD in 3Q10," respectively "$520 and $39.99".

At the question "Are SSD’s going to take over the HDD world any time soon?", he answered: "It’s going to be a while. While SSD’s have sustained 50% year-on-year price reductions in the past, flash foundry owners are giving guidance (August 2010) of 18% reduction in 2011 and 38% reduction in 2012. If this is the case, then in 2012, with $49 a consumer may buy a 1TB 2.5” drive or an 80GB SSD. Still a big gap."

During the presentations, he published the following table (we calculated the ratio):

Lowest $/GB (Brand new in retail)

 2008  2009  2010  2011  2012
2.5-inch HDD  0.79  0.53  0.22  0.16  0.08  0.05
SSD  -  12.50  1.95  1.19  0.98  0.60
Ratio  NA  x24  x9  x7  x12  x12

(Source: PrceG2)

He noted a dramatic decrease in retail SSD $/GB starting in 2007 and forecasts that for 2011-2012, the yearly reduction of flash memory will be at around 50%, implicating that we may have 80GB SSD in 2012 for only $23 (= $0.29/GB * 80GB).

"2012 may be pivotal year when SSD makes dramatic unit shipments increase", he concluded.