Price Decline Driving Adoption Rate of SSDs and PCIe SSDs to Over 50% in 2018 – DRAMeXchange

SSD adoption rate in notebooks to exceed 50%
This is a Press Release edited by on 2018.06.13

DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce Corp., reports that the oversupply in the NAND flash market has resulted in price decline of client SSD, which in turn drives the demand.

DRAMeXchange expects that the SSD adoption rate in the notebook market will exceed 50% this year. In particular, PCIe SSDs will gradually replace 6Gb SATA SSDs, the current mainstream product, at a faster pace. The penetration rate of PCIe in the client-SSD market will also have a chance to reach over 50% this year.

On the demand side, DRAMeXchange points out that PCIe SSD has a significant edge over SATA SSD when it comes to R/W performance. In the highly competitive PC market, specification upgrade will certainly be a selling point. As the price difference between PCIe SSD and 6Gb SATA SSD has a chance to narrow considerably during this year, major PC OEMs and modules makers are expected to actively increase the PCIe SSD adoption rate in their products.

On the supply side, the oversupply in the NAND flash market has put most SSD suppliers under the pressure of capacity consumption. Together with most SSD suppliers' promotion of their new 64- and 72-layer 3D SSDs at lower prices, contract prices of mainstream client-SSDs for PC-OEMs are on a slide during 2Q18.

By interface, the average contract price of SATA client-SSDs falls by 6-11% Q/Q, while that of the PCIe counterparts drops by 3-10% Q/Q. For both SATA-SSD and PCIe-SSD, contract prices have been falling for two consecutive quarters.

The average contract price of PCIe products is still about 10% higher compared with that of the 6Gb SATA products during 2Q18. Nevertheless, the price difference has a chance to narrow considerably during this year. This is attributed to the decreasing prices of client SSD in general, as well as the release of entry- and mid-level controller chips for PCIe SSDs, which narrows down the price difference gradually.

New entrants to the SSD controller chip market will first secure
a place in SATA sector, while actively deploying in PCIe sector at the same time.

DRAMeXchange notes that, in addition to existing suppliers like Marvell, SMI and Phison, some promising new players like ASolid, Maxiotek, Realtek, SAGE, etc. have also entered the market of SSD controller chip. Marvell, SMI, and Phison have complete product lines, ranging from entry-level SATA to high-end PCIe, with the most extensive customer base.

On the other hand, new entrants currently focus on SATA DRAMless controller chip solutions. They aim to first secure a place in the SATA sector, before expanding their R&D to more challenging PCIe products. For example, ASolid's new AS2258 SSD 6Gb SATA controller is designed for new-generation 3D NAND flash with high performance-price ratio and dual-channel architecture. It integrates SDRAM, supports LDPC (Low-Density Parity-Check Code) and RAID for better performance and data protection.

These new entrants are also actively deploying in PCIe controller chip product lines. Realtek's existing PCIe products have entered mass production, while ASolid, SAGE, and Maxiotek all plan to send their PCIe products to clients for test in the second half of this year, adding new growth momentum to PCIe SSD market.

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