Are SSDs Approaching Price Parity with HDDs?

July 2007 HDD vs SSD Price AnalysisA recent Storage Newsletter article argues that SSD prices are approaching HDD prices, and that the gap has narrowed to only a 2.7 times difference.

Upon closer inspection, though, the reader will note that this is only true at lower capacities.  The narrowing price gap at lower capacities has always existed in this market.  The SSD Guy was making that  argument back in 2007!

This post’s graphic shows a chart from the first report ever published by Objective Analysis over a decade ago: The Solid State Disk Market – A Rigorous Look.

The point of this chart was to illustrate that, at low capacities, SSDs are cheaper, while at higher capacities HDDs provide lower-priced storage.

The concept is simple: It’s uneconomical for an HDD vendor to sell an HDD for less than some floor price.  This price is somewhere between $35-50; the chart is based on a $50 floor price.  That’s where the black line (representing HDD rices) flattens out.

SSDs, on the other hand, can be  produced at significantly lower capacities at a price that is roughly proportional to the cost of the flash chips, so the red line continues to drop even at very low capacities.  At some point an SSD becomes the cheaper alternative.

Here’s a closer look at this post’s chart:

July 2007 HDD vs SSD Price Analysis

In this chart the crossover was about 6GB.  SSDs were selling for ~$10/GB back then!  High-capacity HDDs became most economical at only 100GB.

Prices and capacities have changed phenomenally since then!  SSDs now sell for ~$0.17/GB.  HDDs still have a floor price of $35-50 in high volumes and become most economical at 4TB.  At these prices any capacity lower than 200GB will be more economically served by an SSD.  Above that size (500GB, 1TB) there will be some ratio that depends on the capacity.  This ratio approaches 10:1 once the capacity reaches the HDD’s cheapest capacity.  This would be the knee in the  black line.

Let’s compare the 2007 chart to the data that Storage Newsletter provides in the article’s table.  This appears in the figure below:

StorageNewsletter SSD and HDD prices

The 2019 and 2007 charts bear strong similarities.  The black line becomes roughly horizontal at 4TB and lower capacities ($63-$76), while the red SSD line continues to drop.  If the article had included data for drives smaller than 500GB we would have seen an HDD/SSD crossover, just as we see in the 2007 chart.

Some things never change.

Consider that Objective Analysis published this finding in 2007.  How would you have planned your business if you had this kind of market understanding 12 years ago?  Would it  have made a difference to your success?  Of course it would!  If you would like to learn how to work with us to gain this kind of strategic advantage and visibility into the future please contact us.

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