Inside A Laptop
SSD prices have dropped rapidly that as many as half of all laptops sold worldwide in 2018 are expected to have the non-volatile memory in them, according to a new report.

DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, said recently that prices stabilized for the first time in a year for mainstream client-grade SSDs in the PC-maker market during the current third quarter.

Though there are signs of tightening inventories in the SSD supply chain during the second half of this year, DRAMeXchange maintained that the adoption rate in the notebook market will exceed 30 percent in 2016 and may reach 50 percent in 2018.

"The second quarter had an increase in work days and this allowed branded notebook vendors and their channels to significantly reduce their excess inventories," said Alan Chen, senior manager of DRAMeXchange. "Furthermore, notebook demand was stimulated by new model releases. Global notebook shipments in the second quarter posted an 8.2 percent sequential increase, while global shipments of SSDs for notebooks also grew 24 percent over the prior quarter."

As SSD makers have transitioned from two-bit per cell MLC (multi-level cell) NAND flash to three-bit per cell TLC (triple level cell) NAND flash, they've been able to cram more capacity into a smaller space, reducing production costs. The greater densities have led to lower SSD prices for computer manufacturers.

The prices of mainstream consumer SSDs have fallen dramatically every year over the past four, and by 2017 they are expected to be within 11 cents of the per-gigabyte price of hard disk drives (HDDs).

While SSD pricing has dropped dramatically, HDD pricing hasn't. From 2012 to 2015, per-gigabyte pricing for HDDs dropped one cent per year from 9 cents in 2012 to 6 cents last year. However, through 2017, the per-gigabyte price of HDDs is expected to remain flat at 6 cents per gigabyte.

That means a 1TB hard drive will continue to retail for an average of about US$ 60, though they can be found for under US$ 45 on many online retail sites.