updated 02:30 pm EST, Fri February 1, 2008
Flash Price Tumble Jan 08
Prices for flash memory have dropped steeply enough in recent months that they should drop the price of solid-state drives (SSDs) at the same time as they increase capacity, according to new statistics collected from DRAMeXchange. Prices for a four gigabit (1 gigabyte) memory chipset have dropped by approximately 75 percent over just five months, dropping as low as $2.23 for a shorter-lived, multi-level cell chip. Even relatively expensive, recently introduced 32 gigabit memory (4GB) chips cost as little as $12.30, the company notes. The drops are linked primarily to continued oversupply despite an increasingly heavy demand for flash-based devices, such as portable media players.
Such a drop is said to make 128GB solid-state drives feasible. Although SSDs have typically been reserved for professional notebooks where fast load times and skip-proof storage are more important, the costs have dropped enough that storage makers can consider 128GB drives that cost less than 64GB drives did before. Samsung expects more than a quarter of all flash to end up in computer drives by 2011.
The capacity boost is also anticipated to make large amounts of flash memory more common in cellphones and other devices that have historically carried only a small amount of flash storage. Apple, Nokia, and Sony-Ericsson have all in several months begun offering phones with 8GB of built-in flash storage in place of requiring the memory to be added through a drop-in memory card.