Why solid state drives are so expensive?

mtron ssd sataOne of my dream geek projects (ssh, don’t tell my wife ;-) ) is to upgrade my laptop to an SSD storage. I do most of my freelance work on a laptop and I would love to see increased battery life and improved data failure tolerance such an upgrade promises. Besides, I hate it when the thing heats up so much that I have to place a book between my laptop and my lap to avoid getting burned.

The falling flash memory prices look really encouraging. Already today I can buy a 8GB SD card for $27 or a 16GB flash drive for $58 (after rebate). It would make one think that there should be good deals on solid state hard drives as well since they have lower size constrains than e.g. SD cards. In real life however the opposite is true. There are really no SSD bargains out there.

The prices on solid state disks have not come down, at least not nearly as much per GB as other flash media. I have looked around and while there are some high performance SSD’s for servers for sale, there are really not that many offerings in the general consumer market. It looks like solid state media hasn’t hit the market yet and low volumes keep prices high. Ultimately after digging through the price comparison sites for half an hour I have found just one product that didn’t have an insane price, this 32GB SATA compatible drive by Transcend for $165.

I could probably get 320GB for that price if I went with traditional storage type. The prices on regular hard drives have come down too and this is another reason why SSD’s don’t get broader acceptance despite the news like this. The higher HDD volume demands dictated by digital music and video adoption also keep SSD’s out of market.

Do you have a laptop? Have you considered an upgrade to a solid state drive? Please share your experience.

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6 Responses to “Why solid state drives are so expensive?”

  1. 1 Jake Stichler May 29th, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I have every intention of moving over to SSD when it’s affordable. Not because I use a laptop (and frankly, I have to say you’re thinking the wrong way about laptops if you’re using it on your lap – they’re not actually for laps! You risk overheating it, nonetheless burning yourself. Get a fan pad and put it on a desk), but just because I have so much stuff, torrents, and greatly concerned about my photography work. I use an external storage drive (160, I think) that I fear for every day :-D

  2. 2 imgeL Jun 1st, 2008 at 3:37 am

    You could get a Compact Flash 2.5 adapter that as dual slots for CF cards & put 2 32GB CF cards. You will still have faster start up times & more battery life! There also might be a 3 CF slot version out now.

  3. 3 Yan Jun 2nd, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Interesting, will I be able to entirely remove my HDD and boot from the CF cards? This is the ultimate goal, to get read of the hot noisy power sucker! :-)

  4. 4 MdP Nov 17th, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    I’d be careful with those CF adapters. I don’t think CF cards are rated for the amount of read/writes that SSDs are. The failure time might be a lot sooner than you think. That’s one of the reasons we don’t run Windows off USB flash drives (that, and the USB bottleneck).

  5. 5 mark Sep 16th, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I was told solid states’ cost more but
    did not know the prices would be
    outrageous!A no-name 128gb c drive I
    found on line was no less than $300!
    I’m not the kind of person who keeps
    movies and songs on my c drive.The games
    I download like duke 3d and redneck rampage
    by today’s standards are small programs;
    I also eliminate programs I do not use or
    very little.I only need 100-150gb’s!So that
    no-name one was just the right size but
    way off on pricing.Does anybody know where
    I could get a 100gb solid drive,that doesn’t have to be fast,for $100-$200?

  6. 6 Marc G Nov 18th, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Much, but not all, of the technology being implemented to create SSD drives is not new. Much of it has been developed in the past decades, culminating in the proliferation of small solid state flash (thumb) drives we carry around on our keychains. The markup isn’t due to it being new tech.

    The spindle hard drive manufacturers need to sell the millions of drives they have in inventory so that they don’t take a loss and so they have the capital to switch over into SSD production.

    The non-spindle hard drive makers of SSDs, like Crucial, Kingston and OCZ are proving that the capitalist markets don’t work anything like people imagine they do. Crucial and others aren’t taking out loans, expanding operations and attempting to dominate the hard drive market via gaining overwhelming share, conceivable because of the tech and manufacturing head start they have on Seagate, Western Digital and other spindle drive makers. But the big SSD makers aren’t doing that. They are instead using this opportunity to make short term profits charging exorbitant prices on the devices instead.

    I mean, after decades of making flash devices, is storage priced correctly where it sits today? At roughly $2.50/gb?


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