SSD ‘price war’ will make larger-capacity drives even more affordable, report says

Every now and then, we see a 1TB solid state drive go on sale for around $100, and sometimes even dip a little below that threshold. By the end of the year, that kind of pricing could be the norm. So says a new report from DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, which says an oversupply of NAND flash memory chips is driving SSD suppliers into a "price war."

"Average contract prices for 512GB and 1TB SSDs have a chance to plunge below $0.10 per GB by the end of this year, hitting an all-time low. This change will cause 512GB SSDs to replace their 128GB counterparts and become market mainstream, second only to 256GB SSDs," DRAMeXchange says.

We are already there, to some extent. If you are willing to try your luck with an off-brand SSD, there are several 1TB options priced at around $100, or $0.10 per gigabyte. For example:

Bigger names like Crucial (MX500), HP (S700), Samsung (860 Evo), and WD (Blue) are not far behind, ranging in price from around $108 to $120 for 1TB models.

How low they will ultimately go remains to be seen. DRAMeXchange says this is the sixth consecutive quarter that the average price for client SSDs has fallen.

"The reasons for the continuous price fall in 2Q include: weakened stocking momentum due to the cautious stance of PC, smartphones, servers/datacenters OEMs towards end market sales and high inventory levels, leading to an overly oversupplied NAND flash market; prices wars by leading SSD suppliers who are keen to get their 64/72-layer stocks off their hands; and the price comparison effect as a result of Intel 3D QLC SSDs," DRAMeXchange says.

While this is having a clear effect on the price of standalone SSDs, it should also lead to OEMs adopting bigger capacity drives for laptops and prebuilt desktops. We certainly hope so, anyway, especially as it pertains to gaming systems.

The other trend DRAMeXchange predicts is that faster PCIe (NVMe) SSDs will reach pricing parity with SATA drives. This in turn will lead to wider spread adoption of NVMe SSDs, which will eventually replace SATA drives in the mainstream market.

What this all means is that if you're shopping for the best SSD for gaming, use $0.10 per gigabyte as a general gauge of value. Faster performing drives, especially the best NVMe drives, will cost more, but unless you specifically need ultra-fast read and write speeds, there's little reason to pay significantly more.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).