The Great SSD Price Drop

Anyone who was pricing out a move to solid state drives (SSDs) four or five years ago might have been intimidated by the pricing that they saw. The technology was being introduced to the server market, and the cost to benefit ratio back in 2017 or early 2018 was speculative at best.

Then something massive happened. The average SSD price plummeted. Some predicted that it was more of a ‘dip’ than a permanent situation, but they were proven wrong. Even throughout the pandemic, when the semiconductor fabrication shortage has driven up prices on so much other technology, the average SSD price has been rock steady (or even dropped a little bit more).

So what caused the great SSD price drop, and why are SSDs such an excellent investment for both PCs and servers today? We’ll be using the historical data kindly provided by Kingston to help unravel this mystery.

What Was The Great SSD Price Drop?

There weren’t a lot of people who thought that SSD affordability was going to change so rapidly in 2018. Yes, market adoption was getting better and production was getting easier. Those factors were enough to cause a gradual pricing shift in most technology markets.

Business owners and gamers had become early adopters, which helped out quite a bit. By the time 2017 rolled around our baseline model for this article, the Kingston SSDNow A400 240GB, was holding steady at around £75 (or 100 US dollars). It was a great boot device, holding the core OS and a few critical applications so that the system came up almost instantly on a fresh boot.

Early 2018 started off with a post-holiday price dip, which was not unusual at the time. Not many people knew that SSD prices would never see the 32p per GigaByte mark ever again. In fact, to this date, it’s never even come close to that high water mark.

Throughout 2018 the average SSD price crashed, and crashed hard. This wasn’t the sign of an industry in trouble either… it was the sign of an industry that got intensely competitive. One that was about to make waves.

See, SSDs are built on NAND gates. To be specific, SSDs run on 3D NAND technology. And 3D NAND manufacturers had gone to war with one another. Their factories were making innovations on every front: Production speed, memory density, layering, and new memory architectures. Their 2017 turf war resulted in massive NAND availability. By 2018 the availability of this new tech was being implemented into existing products, and whole new lines of higher density products were developed and launched.

At the start of 2019, the average SSD price was around one third of what it had been just a year ago! The Kingston A400 240GB could be bought for under £25 (or 35 US dollars). And much higher densities were also available at reasonable prices. 10p per GigaByte was not uncommon.

Suddenly, SSDs weren’t just great boot devices. The far more friendly pricing put the technology in a reasonable spot for main storage, Cloud computing resources, and a host of other applications. It was certainly a no-brainer for every laptop coming out over the next couple of years.

Why Didn’t Everyone Buy In After The SSD Price Drop?

2019 was a great year for upgrading to SSD for some businesses. But as we know, not everyone moves at the same pace. The majority of firms wanted to see how other companies were doing their SSD rollouts both for their PC fleets and in their Cloud infrastructure. There was also a question of how much public Cloud services would charge for SSD storage VS what it would cost as a private Cloud resource. Some companies played the waiting game.

Then, in 2020, the Covid-19 epidemic started.

Plans for upgrades were largely put on hold. The future of desktops was in doubt for many businesses that were focusing on remote working. A temporary reliance on public Cloud was common while IT teams scrambled to implement enhanced private Clouds for their people. And of course, the semiconductor shortage from Taiwan’s own coronavirus woes made getting new laptops and other devices a more expensive proposition.

Still, the SSD price point held. Over the past two years, the price of SSDs only flickered for brief holiday sales. Other than that, NAND based storage was still cheap and plentiful.

Planning Your Upgrade To SSDs

Now that 2022 has rolled around, vaccines are plentiful, and businesses have a handle on their new hybrid work environments, it’s a great time to upgrade devices to SSD. 10p to 12p per gig makes this lightning fast storage solution affordable across many applications.

Checking what kind of SSD a device will take is just a matter of running the hardware through this handy SSD and memory search. Buying while supplies are still plentiful, and before other organisations catch on to the opportunity, is always wise. Buying while supply is still high and demand hasn’t fully kicked back into gear is a strategy every business needs to consider.

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