512GB SSDs and Performance Laptop HDDs Hit Price Parity

SSD pricing
(Image credit: Crucial)

Storage industry bean counter Trendforce says that the price of 512GB SSDs are now comparable with 500GB HDDs for laptops, and roughly the same price as 256GB SSDs were six months ago. Like many computer components, SSDs were in great demand during the height of the pandemic, with the work-from-home movement at its peak. Thus, due to the laws of supply and demand, SSD pricing wasn't great. However, as we have journeyed through 2022, TrendForce has observed a dramatic decline in SSD demand and pricing. TrendForce also has other interesting observations and predictions regarding the SSD market and bit growth, higher capacity SSDs, and laptop attach rates.

The average capacity of a consumer SSD has edged past 500GB this year. One of the reasons behind this phenomenon is that 512GB SSDs are about the same price as 2.5-inch 500GB HDDs, and similar in price to 256GB SSDs six months previously.

We checked the pricing of a few popular SSDs and found the following on Amazon:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Amazon price history, 500GB SSD selection

Product

Price six months ago

Price today

Western Digital 500GB WD Blue SA510 SATA

$54.90

$39.99

Crucial P3 500GB PCIe Gen3 3D NAND NVMe M.2 SSD

$55.20

$39.99

SAMSUNG 980 PRO 500GB PCIe NVMe Gen4

$105.50

$95.50

Are 500GB SSDs Cheaper Than Similar-Capacity 2.5-Inch HDDs?

The best price reduction observed in the table above is about 30%. However, we found that there were indeed a number of 250GB SATA and NVMe SSDs which were being sold for ~$50 six months previously (e.g. WD_BLACK 250GB SN770 NVMe, Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA). 

Also, if you want a high-performance 2.5-inch 7,200-RPM HDD alternative, you are also looking at Amazon pricing between $37.99 (Seagate BarraCuda Pro (opens in new tab) SATA 500GB) and $59.27 (Western Digital WD Black WD5000LPSX (opens in new tab) SATA 500GB). There are sluggish 2.5-inch 500GB SATA HDDs with 5400RPM at much lower prices, though (<$20).

(Image credit: Future)

TrendForce says Windows liscencing is a major stumbling block that will prevent the average capacity of a pre-built PC from hitting 1TB or greater. It explains that PC Windows licensing costs scale up with device specifications, such as SSD storage capacity. Thus, it will be some time before 1TB+ SSDs come down in cost enough to justify being rolled out in economy or value-series devices, where every penny counts.

It is increasingly unlikely that laptops will come with HDD storage. In 2022, TrendForce says that 92% of laptops sold will be SSD-equipped. Next year, HDDs will become further marginalized, with the SSD attach rate for laptops reaching 96%, according to the firm.

Microsoft is said to encourage OEMs to adopt UFS solutions for lower-storage entry-level computers. Though 128GB SSDs are getting scarcer, the recent price drops for SSDs and NAND mean that OEMs aren't keen to move over to UFS, especially as the faster UFS 3.1 isn't currently supported by Wintel machines.

If you are in the market for storage, please check out our recent Best SSD and Hard Drive Deals feature.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • bit_user
    Except nobody is buying 500 GB laptop hard drives, unless it's a replacement part. So, this is pretty irrelevant.

    We've been through this before: the cost-curve of HDDs flattens out at the low end, while it remains fairly linear for SSDs. In a HDD, you need a sturdy enclosure, actuator, spindle motor, bearings, and at least a couple read/write heads + platters, no matter how low-end it is. That puts a price floor under HDDs, where as SSDs are as cheap as a PCB and the chips on them can get. So, it's essentially meaningless to look at price-parity of bottom-tier HDDs, because nobody is buying those on a $/GB basis, anyhow.

    Please focus on HDD capacities people are still buying. Also, HDDs can retain data in a powered-off state much longer than most modern SSDs. So, there are further reasons someone might prefer a HDD (e.g. for backups), even if GB/$ were the same or lower.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    bit_user said:
    Except nobody is buying 500 GB laptop hard drives, unless it's a replacement part. So, this is pretty irrelevant.
    Even as a replacement part, you'd be better off with a SATA SSD.
    Reply
  • peachpuff
    Lol @ wd trying to cling to profits on those junk drives.
    Reply
  • countmackula
    Bout time

    These jerks have been milking the old business model for way too long trying to jack up laptop price points to $800-$1000 just to include an SSD

    No excuse now. $400 should come with a cheap SSD
    Reply
  • bit_user
    countmackula said:
    No excuse now. $400 should come with a cheap SSD
    $400 laptops have come with soldered-down eMMC storage for years, already.

    For instance:
    https://www.newegg.com/p/19S-006Z-000K0?Item=9SIA17PHY51566https://www.newegg.com/asus-chromebook-flip-c434ta-q1-cb/p/N82E16834235270?Item=9SIAMRPJPF3006https://www.newegg.com/p/2S3-0002-002T9?Item=9SIAMRPC6M6461https://www.newegg.com/p/2S3-0008-002S1?Item=9SIAMRPCSP8114HDDs are bulky, expensive (compared to the eMMC they use), heavy, fragile, and power-hungry. No reason you'd put one in such a low-end laptop. In fact, only the mobile-workstation or desktop-replacement class laptops should've even offered them as an option, for probably at least 3 years now.
    Reply
  • targetdrone
    TrendForce says Windows liscencing is a major stumbling block that will prevent the average capacity of a pre-built PC from hitting 1TB or greater. It explains that PC Windows licensing costs scale up with device specifications, such as SSD storage capacity. Thus, it will be some time before 1TB+ SSDs come down in cost enough to justify being rolled out in economy or value-series devices, where every penny counts.

    There needs to be some follow up reporting on that. I had always thought the price of a Windows License was fixed, based on volume of PCs sold by an OEM, not based on PC spec.
    Reply
  • pug_s
    InvalidError said:
    Even as a replacement part, you'd be better off with a SATA SSD.

    Most replacement part is like for like. Also, many older computers has compatibility issues with ssd's, I'm talking about the pre-sata drive days.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    targetdrone said:
    I had always thought the price of a Windows License was fixed, based on volume of PCs sold by an OEM, not based on PC spec.
    I'm not surprised by this. Microsoft is competing against Chrome OS, so I'm sure they're desperate to find methods of market segmentation that allow them to play in the Chromebook segment without cannibalizing their margins on higher-spec devices.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    targetdrone said:
    There needs to be some follow up reporting on that. I had always thought the price of a Windows License was fixed, based on volume of PCs sold by an OEM, not based on PC spec.
    What the OEM pays Microsoft is changeable and unknown to us out here.

    Joe's PC Shop that sells 500 systems a year pays much more per license than Dell who may sell 50,000 per month.
    And I expect the cost to Dell varies for different systems.
    10,000 of Spec A may be different than 5,000 of Spec B.

    But to you and I, the end user, that is pretty invisible.
    Reply
  • neblogai
    Almost bought a HDD (desktop) for €39.99 this Black Friday, as the old one is serving for almost 9 years already. Only, this €39.99 was the price for a 3TB model.
    Reply