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A Shortage in NAND Flash Memory Could Raise SSD Prices

With the possibility of an increase in price in SSDs due to the incident at the NAND manufacturing plant, the time to buy an SSD is now.

According to a report by Digitimes — who spoke to several sources about the matter — the price of NAND flash chips could increase by as much as forty percent. While the price increase may be fueled by several factors, industry experts believe that a power outage at a Samsung facility in South Korea is partly to blame.

NAND flash memory is a type of non-volatile memory, meaning it doesn’t require power at all times to store data. The process to manufacture this type of memory chip is extremely meticulous, so a power outage in the midst of a production run may have resulted in a number of ruined memory chips. Experts are worried that this incident could lead to a shortage, which could lead to higher prices for NAND flash storage used to make SSDs.

A Shortage in NAND Flash Memory Could Raise SSD Prices — Breakdown of a Solid State Drive

The NAND memory chips are what allows the drive to store files. Image via Zern Liew.

What’s more, a recent fire at another manufacturing facility, operated by Kioxia, could also contribute to a shortage. Kioxia — a much smaller player — produces less than five percent of the world’s NAND flash memory supply, but they’re partnered with Western Digital, a company whose SSDs are some of the best on the market. Nonetheless, Kioxia is expected to bounce back in terms of production, according to industry watchdog TrendForce.

Game Consoles Could Be Another Reason for Price Increase

Next-generation video game consoles — expected to release later in the year — could be another reason why there may be a shortage in NAND flash memory. With both Microsoft and Sony expected to have consoles on store shelves by the holidays, demand for high-quality PC parts is likely to increase. TrendForce reported in a press release that Random Access Memory (RAM) could see a fifteen percent increase in demand — both consoles will have high-end AMD graphics cards (GPU) and a maximum of 16GBs of RAM.

A Shortage in NAND Flash Memory Could Raise SSD Prices — X Box Series X

The Xbox One Series X is expected to release in the fall. Image via Microsoft.

The PS5 and Xbox Series X will come equipped with high capacity SSDs, up to 1TB, which are necessary in an industry with ever-expanding game files — Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 requires 150GBs to download. With millions of units expected to sell during the holidays, the release of these consoles could eat up as much as five percent of the NAND flash chip market.

Don’t Hesitate — Buy Now

With so many factors pointing towards a shortage of NAND flash memory — and an increase in price — now’s the best time to purchase an SSD. Sure, prices may rebound in the future, but the timing for that is unknown at the moment. If you’ve been thinking of upgrading your PC, an SSD is one of the best decisions you can make, as we previously covered. Unlike Hard Disk Drives (HDD) that require a spinning disk to store memory, SSDs use NAND flash memory, which results in ultra-fast file loading and editing.

A Shortage in NAND Flash Memory Could Raise SSD Prices — 2.5-inch SSD (Below) and an M.2 NVMe SSD (on Top)

M.2 NVMe SSDs are faster, more expensive, and require a motherboard with an M.2 slot. Image via Maxx-Studio.

A 1TB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD (which we recommend) is currently holding its price, and it’s a no-brainer if you want to streamline your editing process. If you’re more budget-conscious, there are many 1TB SSDs selling for $100. Seriously, the difference between an HDD and an SSD is like night and day. And, apart from booting your computer much faster, you’ll be able to access, load, and edit files much quicker than ever before. If you work with 4K or even 8K files, an SSD can significantly impact load times. I’ll leave you with this anecdote. Back in 2018, during the Bitcoin mining craze, GPU and RAM prices skyrocketed to almost double their retail price. It got so bad that people couldn’t upgrade their PCs without paying a king’s ransom. The sky-high prices for GPU and RAM eventually settled, but times were dark for a while. While SSD prices may not reach such a fever pitch, it may be in your best interest to purchase an SSD while they’re still reasonably priced.

Top image via Vivitta.

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