NAND flash chips becoming thinner on the ground
Prices of SSDs are going to rise this coming quarter as demand outstrips supply, according to a new report which cites a shortage in NAND flash chips – and this will have a knock-on effect on laptops.
The report, from analyst firm TrendForce, talks specifically about the prices of SSDs supplied to PC manufacturers, which in the case of MLC-based drives will rise by around 12% to 16% compared to the previous quarter, a fairly hefty hike.
TLC-based SSDs will see a similar increase, although perhaps a little less, with a prediction of a 10% to 16% rise.
The aforementioned knock-on effect of this is that notebook manufacturers using SSDs in their portables are unlikely to move to bigger drives (like the massive Toshiba 1.6TB SSD we recently reviewed, pictured, although that’s way too costly for most folks anyway), simply due to these supply issues and cost increases.
The analyst company reckons that most laptops will run with 128GB or 256GB drives, rather than shifting up to larger capacity SSDs as manufacturers might have liked to.
Alan Chen, senior research manager at DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, observed that: “Average contract prices of client-grade SSDs in the PC-OEM market are rising this first quarter because not only PC clients are aggressively stocking up their inventories, smartphone clients are also maintaining strong demand for storage components.”
He further noted that with the industry also switching to 3D-NAND and 2D-NAND TLC for SSDs, supply of the latter in particular has been hit quite badly.
Consumers are continuing to prefer SSDs overs traditional spinning drives, and the firm also reckons that in the laptop market, SSDs will be in 45% of all notebooks across the globe by the close of this year. That’s up quite strongly from around 35% at the end of 2016.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard TrendForce talk about SSD supply issues, as the firm noted that price increases were happening at the end of last year. The good news is that said supply issues are expected to ease by the end of the year.