The hard drive is going gently into that good night, and it might do it faster than anyone expected because DRAMeXchange said on Wednesday that it expects the price-per-gigabyte of 512GB and 1TB SSDs to fall below 10 cents for the first time by the end of this year.
This decline was attributed to "weakened stocking momentum due to the cautious stance of PC, smartphones and servers/datacenters OEMs towards end market sales and high inventory levels, leading to an overly oversupplied NAND flash market; price wars by leading SSD suppliers who are keen to get their 64/72-layer stocks off their hands; and the price comparison effect as a result of Intel 3D QLC SSDs."
DRAMeXchange said the lower prices should lead 128GB SSDs to be replaced by their 512GB counterparts as the new standard. Because the price drop is expected to extend to 1TB SSDs, those products should be able to reach a much larger portion of the market. By now most people know that SSDs are faster than HDDs, and with prices falling while capacities rise, there's little reason to opt for a spinning disk.
The confluence of these changes is leading to shifts in pretty much every part of the market. DRAMeXchange said that SSDs are now in more than half of laptops, and it expects PCIe SSDs to reach a similar portion of the market, thanks to relative pricing parity between them and their SATA counterparts. These shifts can lead to improved performance in everything from low-end laptops to high-end builds.
It's no wonder HDD sales are expected to fall this year. A part supplier called Nidec said earlier this month that PC HDD sales could fall by as much as 48% in 2019 as consumers and manufacturers alike shift to SSDs. Hard drives will still have their niche--mostly among enterprise users and people who need external storage--, but we suspect that eventually, they'll start to be replaced in those markets too.
There is some good news for storage companies: DRAMeXchange expected demand to pick up because of "the traditional peak season and increased stocking demand from the new Apple devices." That should allow SSD makers to slow down the decline in their prices, but continued drops are seemingly inevitable. Welcome to the new normal--it should load much faster than the old one. Hallelujah.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.