Supplies of Flash NAND will tighten significantly starting in mid-May, reports Taiwan's DigiTimes. The latest sage words about the fallout from the WD/Kioxia factory contamination accident come from KS Pua, CEO of flash controller specialist Phison Electronics. His insight appears to confirm initial impact estimates from analysts, who said the industry would feel the supply issues in Q2 2022.
Mr. Pua said that the tightening of the global supply of NAND would start to become evident in mid-May and run for about six weeks. Phison likely won't have its business disrupted by the NAND supply constraints. Still, other firms with smaller inventories might feel ill effects exacerbated by the summer being peak season for the industry.
WD and Kioxia are major players in the NAND flash ecosystem, and initial reports said they lost about 13 percent (6.5 exabytes) of the industry's expected NAND output for Q1. Later reports suggested this WD production figure could be doubled to include Kioxia factory output that was contaminated. WD and Kioxia NAND Fabs resumed operations only a few days ago, so the downtime was nearly a full month.
While WD and Kioxia are NAND production heavyweights, other significant players like Samsung, Micron, and SK hynix are all working to boost bit production with refined processes and 3D stacking technologies. Thus the production accident in Feb might be smoothed somewhat by the industry production trend, which should mean overall bit shipments by the end of 2022 are forecast to end up being 40 or 50% greater than in 2021.
What About Prices for Consumers?
Our core readership of PC enthusiasts, gamers and DIYers might be pondering this news with a view to the costs of SSD upgrades or expansion plans. SSD pricing remains very reasonable, but how much of an impact will February's WD/Kioxia ruined/halted production runs have in the coming months? Of course, we can't be certain of the answer to that question, but industry watchers like TrendForce have mentioned a NAND flash spike of between 5 to 10 percent.
Many SSDs are trending near their lowest prices ever, so a blip in pricing of even the upper estimated figure of 10 percent, passed on to consumers, shouldn't be too painful to bear. Moreover, it might be simply a matter of weeks until prices are trending down again due to the overall NAND industry boost in bit production previously mentioned.
If you are pondering buying an SSD or HDD soon, make an informed purchase decision by looking at our Best SSD and Hard Drive Deals 2022 feature.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
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.