The ongoing Chia coin craze has already increased prices of high-capacity HDDs and SSDs in retail quite significantly. Since demand for storage devices is not going to get any lower, Taiwan-based makers of SSDs are developing special-purpose SSDs for Chia mining that they plan to sell directly to miners. Furthermore, drive makers expect Chia to consume considerable 3D NAND production capacities in the coming months.
Adata, Apacer, Phison Electronics, and TeamGroup all reported significant increases of SSD orders in April when compared to March, according to DigiTimes. Adata said that demand for its SSDs increased by 400% – 500% sequentially last month, TeamGroup also saw an impressive increase and expressed optimism about the short-term Chia farming demand for SSDs. Other makers tend to agree that demand for SSDs will remain strong in the coming months.
In a bid to meet demand and offer farmers the components they need to make the best Chia plotting PC builds, Adata, Phison, and TeamGroup have started developing appropriate SSDs (or at least have created task forces).
Since the majority of SSD makers have enterprise-grade drives designed for write-intensive workloads in their lineups, developing high-endurance Chia-optimized storage solutions should not pose a significant challenge for their engineering teams. Essentially, they will have to develop high-endurance SSDs based on consumer-grade 3D NAND (with loads of over-provisioning space) that do not have enterprise features. TeamGroup has already announced its first SSDs for Chia mining and expects to ship them in high volumes in Q3 2021.
What is interesting is that Adata, Phison, and TeamGroup are looking at ways to ship their Chia farming SSDs directly to mining farms, so these drives may not end up in retail (just like we do not see many high-end HDDs and SSDs in retail). To some degree, this will ensure that large Chia farming operations will not get their drives from retail and inflate prices, which is good news. There is bad news too.
High-capacity high-endurance SSDs for Chia mining will naturally increase demand for 3D NAND memory in general. Phison already told DigiTimes that Chia SSDs would "consume considerably all the available capacity" at 3D NAND makers. To that end, demand for both 3D NAND and SSD controller are set to increase, which will cause price hikes.