Early solid state drives (SSDs) suffered from a number of negative characteristics preventing them from finding use in mainstream applications. These included low capacity, surprisingly poor performance, reliability concerns, and high prices. Recent advances have addressed many of these concerns, but comparatively high prices still plague SSDs. Not for long, says Samsung, who expects SSD pricing to fall in line with HDDs in the next few years as flash memory prices continue to fall.
"Flash memory in the last five years has come down 40, 50, 60 percent per year," said Brian Beard , flash marketing manageing for Samsung Semiconductor, in a phone interview with CNet. "Flash on a dollar-per-gigabyte basis will reach price parity, at some point, with hard disk drives in the next few years."
Samsung, who makes both SSDs and HDDs, points out that hard disk drives have a fixed cost for its various parts, such as $40 or $50 for the spindle, motors, PCB, and cables, and that adding capacity or making them faster really doesn't add much incremental cost to the drive. But with SSDs, which also have a fixed cost for the PCB, case, and controller, adding capacity entails adding more flash chips, which adds to the fixed cost of the drive. "For example, if the spot price of the flash chip itself is $2, a 64GB drive is going to cost $128 just for the flash and then you would add the fixed cost of the PCB an the case," Beard said.
According to Beard, the sweet spot for for SSDs this year will be 64GB moving to 128GB on the business side, and 128GB moving to 256GB on the consumer end.