Here's Why SSD Prices Could Plummet In Q1 2021
Predicting what will happen in the PC market, including supplementary components, sometimes feels a lot like throwing darts at a dartboard. Analysts do the best they can with the information available, but things have a tendency to turn on a dime. That said, one welcome trend we have seen is the continued drop in price for solid state drive (SSD) storage (without a shortage of drives), and there is reason to believe that further price cuts are around the corner.
I am not sure storage makers see it as a welcome trend, but consumers sure do. This has made it easier than ever to consider an SSD in place of a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD)—even though the latter still offers a better price per gigabyte ratio, the speed advantage of an SSD coupled with relatively affordable pricing is a strong draw.
This is why even laptops and pre-built desktop PCs now routinely come with SSD storage, usually at least 256GB and in many cases, 512GB or more. And if you are building a new PC from the ground up, or upgrading and existing one, you can find a 1TB-class SSD for under $100 these days. That was not always the case.
Looking ahead, the analysts at TrendForce say there is an oversupply of NAND flash memory chips that could lead to more price drops on SSDs.
"On the matter of demand, client SSD exhibits a similar tendency compared to PC DRAM, as notebook production is expected to decline in 1Q21 due to the cyclical downturn. However, unlike PC DRAM, the client SSD inventory of PC OEMs is still currently at a rather high level, and client SSD prices are expected to continue falling," TrendForce says.
Interestingly, the market research firm says Samsung, SK Hynix, Intel, and others are on track to "actively expand their NAND flash output" in the first quarter of next year, causing the oversupply situation to "become more severe." Putting some numbers to the claim, TrendForce says NAND flash output is on pace to increase by 6 percent, leading to a 10-15 percent quarter-over-quarter decline in the average selling price of NAND flash memory chips.
The firm believes this will directly translate to a 10-15 percent drop in client SSD prices in the first quarter of next year. That would be great (for consumers) if it happened. To wit, the least expensive 1TB SSD on Newegg right now is Team Group's GX2, priced at $79.99. A 15 percent price drop would knock that down to $68.
It remains to be seen if the outlook holds true, and if affects lower priced SSDs like the GX2. But this is something to potentially look forward to. It could also make larger capacity drives more affordable, like 2TB models. As things stand, you can nab a Mushkin Enhanced RAW 2TB SSD for $174.99 on Newegg. A 15 percent drop would knock the price to below $150.
Some other reasonably priced SSD examples, that could be even cheaper if the NAND situation plays out as predicted...
Don't feel too bad for SSD makers. They have been pushing increasingly faster models, with the latest PCIe 4.0 drives like Samsung's 980 Pro boasting speeds in the neighborhood of 7,000MB/s. This gives them an opportunity to continue charging premium prices for certain models, even as SSD pricing as a whole continues to fall.