Will solid-state drives ever become as cheap as mechanical hard drives or will hard drives always have a pricing advantage? Samsung, the world's biggest flash memory maker, believes the former—although CNet News says the company didn't reveal a precise time frame for the event. Samsung merely expects the two mediums to reach price parity "within the next few years."
That's not such an outlandish prediction considering how flash memory prices have declined in recent years, of course. In September 2007, for example, we reviewed a 128GB Super Talent SSD that cost a staggering $4,600. Today, the same company offers a 128GB SSD with a more compact form factor and better performance ratings for just $265.
Samsung Flash Marketing Manager Brian Beard told CNet that adding capacity "doesn't really add a lot of incremental cost" to a mechanical hard drive. With an SSD, on the other hand, cost "scales linearly" with capacity. The report adds that this cost structure "works in favor of lower solid-state drive pricing too--as flash memory prices drop and densities and capacities increase."
In a more immediate and less nebulous time frame, Beard believes the sweet spot for SSDs in terms of pricing per gigabyte will go up from 128GB to 256GB for consumer offerings this year. Samsung itself has been shipping 256GB SSDs since January.