NAND prices have already been falling for the past few months, and according to a new research note, the drop could actually increase as we head into 2019. If that’s surprising, it’s because the decline was already expected to be substantial.
According to DigiTimes, NAND prices — which have already fallen 50 percent this year — could be set for another 50 percent decline. That’s the prediction from Simon Chen, chairman of Adata Technology, who believes the continued capacity expansions underway at many fabs are fueling the potential for another major price drop. The various foundries and companies involved have been pouring money into the market to push NAND growth, as shown below:
The growth in capacity has been significant as more 3D NAND has come online and manufacturers have mastered working with higher layer counts. In 3D NAND, unlike its 2D planar counterpart, higher densities are achieved by stacking more NAND on top of itself. We’ve seen 64-layer NAND widely in-market now and Samsung and other firms are in mass production of 96-layer NAND, which will further improve drive capacities and reduce costs, once the manufacturing kinks have been worked out. These boom-and-bust cycles used to be common in the DRAM business, though NAND flash has been a bit more regular in the past. That could change in 2019 as new capacity comes online. If you’re thinking about making a major SSD purchase, it might not be the worst idea to wait a few months and see how drive costs have adjusted.
DigiTimes notes it expects DRAM prices to be flat in 2019 with respect to 2018, which is good on the one hand — RAM prices are down significantly from where they were back in January — but bad on the other, given that they’re still higher than several years ago. The impact of the Trump Administration’s ongoing trade war with China is another uncertainty — if the threatened 25 percent tariffs on electronic goods go into effect in January, it could significantly raise the price of many components depending on how the tariffs are assessed and which companies they impact.
The net impact of these shifts and the tariffs could wind up canceling each other out or have no impact on one another depending on the company in question and how the political situation evolves. GPU prices, at least, have come down now that the crypto boom is over. Being an enthusiast is, on balance, a lot more affordable than it was during the holiday season in 2017.
Now Read: Why RAM Prices Are Through the Roof, Samsung’s New V-NAND Could Mean Cheap, Plentiful Multi-Terabyte SSDs, and How to Upgrade to a Larger SSD