Despite the fact that the vast majority of PC hardware components have become significantly more expensive over the last 18-months, one of the few markets to remain somewhat immune to the difficulties has been storage devices. In fact, SSDs (Solid State Drives) are actually, in many respects, less expensive now than they were back in 2020 largely thanks to a combination of good supply levels and, overall, significantly lower comparative market demand. – Following a report via The Verge, however, a huge contamination at a major Western Digital manufacturing centre may see the cost of an SSD storage device spike quite notably over the coming months!
SSD Prices to Spike?
Western Digital has confirmed that around 6.5 exabytes (6,500,000,000 gigabytes) of flash storage has effectively been lost (ie. ruined) due to a contamination issue at its NAND production facilities. With NAND representing one of the key materials utilised in the creation of SSD devices, therefore, with such a huge quantity being completely lost to the market (and likely now being shovelled into a metaphorical dustbin), the fear is that such a huge drop off in supply will undoubtedly see production affected. And where production slows down, supplies get short. And where supplies get short, prices (generally) go up.
Won’t This Just Affect Western Digital?
Given that the contamination occurred at a Western Digital plant, it wouldn’t be an unreasonable question to ask why this will affect SSD prices as a whole. Surely this is a WD problem that will be isolated to them right? Well, yes and no. While Western Digital (in partnership with Kioxia) do make their own SSD devices, they also act as a supplier to many other manufacturers too. Put simply, between the two firms, they account for roughly 30% of the total NAND flash market.
On the plus side, however, as noted above, SSD’s have largely remained somewhat immune to price increases over the last two years. Presuming stock can, therefore, cover this upcoming shortfall period, price increases may be relatively benign, barely noticeable at all, or perhaps non-existent (manufacturers do tend to suck up short term fluctuations).
If you are, however, in the market for an expensive SSD, it might be in your interest to act fairly quickly as we suspect that if prices are going to go up, these will be hit the hardest!