Samsung Electronics, the world’s No. 1 maker of flash and also a leading manufacturer of hard disk drives (HDDs), said in an interview that in the following few years solid state drives (SSDs) will match the price of traditional hard drives in terms of cost-per-gigabyte.
“Flash memory in the last five years has come down 40, 50, 60 percent per year. Flash on a dollar-per-gigabyte basis will reach price parity, at some point, with hard disk drives in the next few years,” said Brian Beard, flash marketing manager for Samsung Semiconductor, in an interview with Cnet News.com.
Solid state drives provide a number of benefits compared to traditional hard disk drives, including higher performance, lower power consumption and shock resistance; they have drawbacks too: each flash cell can only be written for a limited amount of time. In addition, SSDs are considerably more expensive that HDDs, which is particularly negative amid the global economic recession.
“The difference in cost is fundamentally very different. A hard drive has a fixed cost of $40 or $50 for the spindle, the motors, the PCB (printed circuit board), the cables. To make the hard drive spin faster (increase speed) or to add capacity doesn't really add a lot of incremental cost to the drive. When you contrast this with SSDs, they also have a fixed cost for the PCB and the case and the controller, which is lower than the fixed cost of a hard drive. But as you scale the capacity of the SSD up, the cost scales linearly,” explained Mr. Beard.
Since flash is sold on open market, its price fluctuates considerably for those, who do not produce memory in house. Samsung is the largest flash producer on the planet and it does have numerous benefits in terms of flash pricing compared to some other producers, which is why the comments from the company regarding match of SSD and HDD pricing primarily reflects the company’s own plans and capabilities.