As NAND flash memory pricing goes up and down, so do the products they’re installed in, including solid state drives. Unfortunately there is a tight supply of NAND chips at the moment, and that is going to lead to higher priced SSDs.
DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, predicts that mainstream SSDs built around multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory chips will jump anywhere from 12 to 16 percent compared with the fourth quarter of last year. SSDs that use cheaper triple-level cell (TLC) chips will also go up in price—in the neighborhood of 10 to 16 percent.
“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,” said Alan Chen, senior research manager of DRAMeXchange.
In addition, DRAMeXchange says the industry-wide transition to 3D-NAND and 2D-NAND TLC production has cut into the supply of 2D-NAND MLC chips.
“Thus, the price increase of MLC-based SSDs is outpacing that of TLC-based SSDs,” Chen added.
Despite the tight supply of NAND chips, PC OEMs will continue outfitting systems with SSDs because consumers prefer them over slower hard drives. This doesn’t necessarily mean that laptop and desktop pricing will rise too, though it will discourage OEMs from using larger capacity SSDs. As a result, expect mainstream systems to continue shipping with 128GB and 256GB SSDs rather than 512GB and 1TB.
The takeaway here is that if you find a good deal on an SSD, you should probably pull the trigger. Otherwise you could end up paying more if you wait.