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Thailand floods spur rush to SSDs

Lucas Mearian | Dec. 2, 2011
According to DRAMeXchange, the flooding in Thailand that has left the storage industry with a dearth of hard drives has also caused a temporary rush on solid-state drives.

According to Forrester, SSDs can be up to 10 times more expensive than hard drives; other research firms peg the costs far higher. Market research from other firms such as iSuppli and Objective-Analysis shows SSD pricing averages around $17 per gigabyte; it's expected to drop to $12 a gigabyte next year and to $5 per gigabyte by 2015.

By comparison, a Fibre Channel or SAS drive costs 50 cents to 60 cents per gigabyte. A consumer-class SATA hard drive sells for under 10 cents per gigabyte.

A chart showing that NAND flash prices are not expected to drop below the price of hard drives (Source: Objective-Analysis)

The uptick in rush orders for SSDs will not be enough to revive a NAND flash market that is slumping, according to iSuppli. The contract price paid for NAND flash by system manufacturers in the second half of November dropped by 4% to 6% compared to the first half to the month, DRAMeXchange stated.

Even so, major PC brands, such as Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Lenovo also launched their ultrabooks in October and November, which use only SSDs with capacities from 64GB to 128GB. The only exception to those vendors is Asus, which offers both hard drives and SSDs in its ultrabooks.

However, the high costs of Ultrabooks' components and the wide price gap between ultrabooks and mainstream notebooks in the market seemed to hurt sales, which in turn caused SSD shipments to fall short of expectations.


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