Plummeting SSD prices are quickly closing in on traditional hard drives

Come next year, a 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD will cost about the same, research firm projects.

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Michael Homnick

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The decision between solid state and hard disk drives should become a lot less agonizing over the next couple years as consumer SSD prices plummet.

Research firm DRAMeXchange projects average SSD prices to hit $0.24 per gigabyte in 2016, down from $0.39 per gigabyte this year, Computerworld reports. Those prices will see another dramatic drop to $0.17 per gigabyte in 2017. Meanwhile, HDD prices are projected to stagnate at $0.06 per gigabyte over the next few years.

In real-world terms, that means a 256GB solid state drive will cost about the same as a 1TB hard drive next year. And in 2017, a 512GB SSD will only cost about $44 more than a 256GB hard drive. These days, PC makers tend to charge around $100 for the same upgrade. DRAMeXchange’s Alan Chen expects SSD adoption in laptops to rise accordingly, from 26 percent this year to 42 percent in 2017.

The drastic drops in SSD pricing are likely due to increased competition from storage makers, who’ve made some significant technological advances in the last year. In August, Samsung introduced the first 16TB solid state drive, and while it’s solely aimed at servers for now, the underlying 3D NAND technology also appears in much cheaper consumer drives. SanDisk and Toshiba have also been working on 3D NAND flash chips, and Intel has been collaborating with Micron on 3D NAND as well.

The impact on you at home: The sharp drop in SSD prices is something to keep in mind if you’re preparing to buy a new laptop or build a new desktop PC. While HDD prices aren’t going to budge, SSDs should become much cheaper over the next year, allowing your money to go a lot further the longer you wait.

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