Western Digital recently shared that a “material contamination” at two Japanese NAND flash production facilities damaged approximately 6.5 exabytes (or 6,500,000,000 gigabytes) worth of product. Due to this incident and the ongoing pandemic, TrendForce predicts that SSD prices may increase by 5% to 10% around April of 2022.
The news is devastating, to say the least. SSDs are already quite expensive, with some models averaging at about $1 per gigabyte. And before WDC reported this “material contamination,” SSD prices were expected to fall by up to 10% due to an oversupply.
According to TrendForce‘s report, the 6.5 exabytes of damaged NAND storage account for 13% of Western Digital’s Q1 production output, or about 3% of its total output for 2022. That may seem like a small loss in the grand scheme of things, but it doesn’t account for losses sustained by Kioxia, an SSD manufacturer that shares the affected production facilities with WDC.
The Good News: Prices May Drop Before they Spike
Because the global economy is a confusing mess of contradictions and speculation, we may still get the SSD discount that economists predicted before this Western Digital SNAFU. For a time, at least.
The brains at TrendForce state that SSD prices may slump in Q1 of 2022, as there is still an oversupply of product. But prices could return to normal or increase in Q2 (which begins April 1st), as supply will more closely match demand.
Bear in mind that these are market forecasts. TrendForce doesn’t have a magical crystal ball to see in the future; it’s simply predicting changes to SSD pricing based on market data. We may never see a “discount” on SSDs, or even a price increase, for that matter.
It’s Time to Shop for SSDs
Either way, if you’re in need of an SSD, now’s the time to start shopping. At the very least, you should load your wish list with good SSDs to keep track of their prices, as the value of SSDs could decrease before the expected price hike. (You can even use a tool like CamelCamelCamel to track prices and get alerts on discounts.)
If a price hike occurs, it will impact all forms of NAND flash memory, including NVME SSDs (sticks), SATA SSDs (bricks), and NAND USB drives. Such a price hike could increase the demand for HDDs, though HDD pricing should remain stable.
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