If you've been reluctantly holding on tight to your aging mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) because of the comparatively high price of a solid state drive (SSD), this might be the year you finally make the jump to faster storage. Why is that? NAND flash memory prices are coming down, which means less expensive SSDs could be on the horizon.
That's not to say that SSD prices will close the gap with HDD pricing -- that might never happen -- but they'll certainly become more affordable. We've already seen it happen to some extent, as SSDs dropped in price by around 30 percent in 2013. It's now routine to find high-performance SSDs selling for well under $1 per gigabyte.
According to Peter Shu, chairman of Transcend Information, SSD prices could go down another 20-30 percent this year. Should that happen, you might see high-speed 256GB SSDs selling for below $100.
It will be nice if NAND flash pricing can stabilize, along with the supply of chips. These are factors that led OCZ Technology to file for bankruptcy protection
last year, though fortunately that story had a happy ending -- Toshiba swooped in and acquired OCZ's storage assets. In the process of doing that, Toshiba kept the company intact and renamed it OCZ Storage Solutions
, allowing the talented team to continue making consumer and enterprise SSDs without having to worry about securing NAND flash memory chips. The future now looks brighter than ever for OCZ
As for other SSD players, they too will benefit from falling prices. This won't happen overnight, meaning you shouldn't expect to wake up tomorrow and find that SSDs are selling for 30 percent less than today, but they are expected become more affordable as the year goes on.