DRAMeXchange> Weekly Research> SSD Trends in 2011 Q4

【SSD Market Review】SSD Trends in 2011 Q4

Published Dec.08 2011,18:12 PM (GMT+8)

Hard disk is by far the most important data storage device of a PC/notebook. Due to the price drop and technology enhancement of flash chips, NAND flash-based SSDs become more mature, and their costs and prices become more acceptable to the industries and consumers, which caused the SSD shipments to surge considerably in 2011. Currently, SSDs’ technology and cost are able to hit the sweet spot in the market. In addition, the Thailand Flood compromised the HDD supply, which triggered the HDD prices to soar and in turn resulted in SSDs’ outperformance in the spot market.

For most PC and notebook users, SSDs are no longer a luxury but one of the most effective ways in pursuit of better performance. Given that the clock speeds for computers today are generally higher than they require, for the time being, there are few ways to enhance the PC/notebooks’ performance with low costs – all the more reason for consumers to resort to SSDs for performance enhancement.

According to DRAMeXchange’s survey on the SSD spot market, of the 80-100GB mainstream SSDs, prices of certain second-tire and third-tire products have dropped below US$100, differing vastly from the common prices in the market and drawing a lot of attention from the consumers. However, the performance and quality of the low-price products are also worse. As for the first-tier products, prices of 120GB SSDs range between US$150 to US$200; prices of SATA2 SSDs are 15-30% lowers than those of SATA3 SSDs.

The new PCs and notebooks, be it Intel or AMD platform, all support SATA3 interface. Therefore, it is no longer a dream for the PCs and notebooks’ main data storage device to read 500MB/sec. Most importantly, the prices are acceptable to mid and small-scale companies and work stations.

At present, SATA2 SSDs with 200MB/sec read speeds are still the best sellers in the market; the price difference between them mainly depends on the costs of their master chips and flash chips and the brand visibility. As for SATA3 SSDs, which are mainly adopted in PCs and notebooks incorporating Intel i3, i5 and i7, their read speeds can go up to over 500MB/sec. Given SATA3 SSDs’ high prices, they are more suitable for users who make performance the first priority.

Also, certain users purchase SATA3 SSDs, even though their computers do not support the SATA3 interface, preparing for the future upgrade.

DRAMeXchange believes that with the prices continuing to dip, SSDs’ acceptance will largely increase in 2012, which will spur a growth in the NAND flash market.