Get Ready For an SSD Price War
Unnamed sources in the SSD industry are reporting that major suppliers such as Intel, Kingston Technology, Micron Technology, SanDisk and Samsung Electronics are gearing up for a price war. That's certainly good news for consumers as their needs for local storage on desktops and laptops are shifting to SSDs, which are faster and more reliable than mechanical hard drives.
On Thursday, the sources claimed that Micron has reduced the sales of its NAND flash to other companies because it plans to double its shipments of Crucial-branded SSDs quarter on quarter. Meanwhile, SSD rival Kingston is also ramping up its SSD shipments to 600,000 units per month. Sources state that the company is competing with Samsung and SanDisk for the #1 SSD vendor spot.
Currently, SanDisk is ranked as the second largest consumer-based SSD supplier, with a 16 percent share of the market in 2013. That's a big jump compared to its position in 2012, in which it was ranked sixth with a mere 6 percent claim of the SSD market. However, SanDisk has also been "aggressive" in the enterprise segment and is expecting to reach $1 billion USD by 2016.
Digitimes Research points out that Intel just launched the 9-series chipsets that natively support M.2 SSDs. These M.2 SSDs are compatible with both SATA and PCIe interfaces, and could replace the 2.5-inch SATA 3 SSDs we use today. The 9-series launch will likely push competitors into churning out related SSDs in the second half of this year.
Research company DRAMeXchange is saying something somewhat different, reporting that SSD pricing is expected to rise because there's a temporary supply shortage of NAND Flash memory. This shortage stems from manufacturers who are moving to new NAND production methods, and who are switching to smaller NAND.
MyCE reports that NAND Flash manufacturers are working hard to bring the prices down. By shrinking the NAND cells, manufacturers can cut costs as the number of chips on a wafer increases. However, prices are unlikely to drop as they have in the last several years, and right now prices are close to $0.50 USD per gigabyte for the cheaper SSDs, the report states.