The DRAMless saga continues as fabless SSD manufacturers look for ways to reduce costs in the middle of a NAND shortage. We would like to say this wasn't planned, but its been on the roadmap for several years. DRAMless SSDs debuted in OEM systems and are now a part of the entry-level retail SSD market.
If the NAND shortage didn't spike flash pricing, and ultimately consumer SSD prices, products like the HP S700 would be more compelling. If users save $20 on an $80 purchase, the performance shortfalls could seem reasonable. Saving $20 on a $200 purchase changes the entire tone of the argument. It's still $20, but it doesn't seem like as much of a value. The shortage due to extreme demand moved the market into the second scenario when normal pricing declines should have 512GB-class products in the $100 range by now.
Regardless of what would or could have been, we have to look at the market as it is right now. At this time, the HP S700 costs more than most mainstream SSDs, including the Samsung 850 Pro, which is the best consumer SATA SSD on the market. We would like to put this on the NAND fabs, but even other fabless SSD manufacturers have products with a better overall value.
Flash prices are up, but the S700's price is well above fair market price and the other DRAMless SSDs are selling for much less. We're not sure if the price increase is linked to licensing the HP name or if the manufacturer just has an unfavorable flash contract. We suspect both may be at play. Either way, the HP S700's list price is well above what its performance justifies.
At this time, and under these market conditions, the HP S700 is not a compelling or competitive SSD series. We think many will sell over the next year on name recognition alone.
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