The $1-per-GB price has been for a long time considered as a holy grail for solid-state drives as it is widely believed that at such price points SSDs will start to be adopted by mainstream users. According to DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce market research firm, the price per GB will be even lower than $1 in the second half of the year, which will unleash growth potential for SSDs.
After SSDs based on NAND flash memory manufactured using the latest - 19nm, 20nm and similar - process technologies enter mass production in the second half of 2012, unit cost may fall below $1-per-GB, the pricing sweet spot the market has been anticipating. When this occurs, DRAMeXchange expects ultrabook/thin notebook makers will transition from adopting hybrid HDD solutions to pure SSD solutions, and mainstream capacity will increase to 128GB.
Comparison of NAND flash memory made using different process technologies
Ultrabook market share is expected to rise rapidly beginning in Q3 2012 due to Intel Corp.'s Ivy Bride processor launch and therefore the consumption of solid-state drives will be increasing in line with production of thin PCs. Moreover will less than $1-per-GB prices, solid-state drives will become even more popular on the market of PC upgrades.
According to DRAMeXchange, SSD NAND flash memory consumption volume is expected to increase from 5.1% in 2011 to 15% in 2012. Therefore, SSD will become the NAND flash application product with the most explosive growth momentum, which should call manufacturers to improve quality of NAND despite of thinner process technologies.
Intel Corp., a major player on the SSD market, plans to introduce 2.5" SSDs code-named King Crest based on 20nm multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory in Q3 2012, according to unofficial information. OCZ Technology, another influential SSD maker, even intends to start using triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash inside solid-state drives sometimes this year, which will further drop SSD pricing.