According to a DigiTimes report citing "industry sources" this week, NAND flash prices are expected to continue to drop in 2019 after already seeing a 50 percent drop this year. Earlier reports said that SSD prices could fall to as low as $0.08 per GB in 2019.
SSD Prices In Freefall
The DigiTimes report noted that the continued drop in prices seems to be primarily due to SSD manufacturers expanding their production capacity to increase profitability, as well as the adoption of 96-layer NAND technology. The technology allows for denser SSDs and, therefore, cheaper storage.
Simon Chen, chairman of Adata Technology, a well-known DRAM and SSD maker from Taiwan, said that flash makers have not only continued to increase production capacities for their flash storage facilities, but that NAND flash products may actually see larger drops in prices next year compared to this year.
Mass-Produced 96-Layer SSDs Are Coming
Many of the flash storage vendors are expected to begin mass production of 96-layer 3D NAND SSDs in the first half of 2019. Most of them are building capacities for manufacturing 50,000-100,000 96-layer 3D NAND chips per month, while China's Yangtze Memory Technology is expected to reach a production capacity of 150,000 chips per month.
The same price drops don’t seem to be expected in the DRAM market, primarily because there seems to be less competition there. The top three DRAM chipmakers (Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron) don’t intend to expand the capacity too much in 2019, even though there will be increased demand for DRAM for gaming systems, data centers and the automotive industry, according to Chen.
In September, it was reported that Samsung will limit DRAM production in 2019, maintaining the current high prices for its DRAM.