Consumer SSDs To Cost $1 Per Gigabyte In 2012: Gartner

Consumer solid-state drives will be all the rage in 2012, according to research firm Gartner, which claims that falling prices will make SSDs a primary storage option for everyday consumers.

Roughly a year from now, in the second half of 2012, Gartner predicts that mainstream PC SSD prices will drop to just $1 per gigabyte, which means that the product will fall within Joe Sixpack’s budget. Back in 2010, SSDs entered into the enterprise market, but high prices kept us normal folks from using them for data storage on our PCs.

For those who are a bit unfamiliar (as you should be, since we haven’t really gotten to play with SSDs much in the past), solid-state drives are a type of NAND flash memory, considered to be faster, smaller, and more power-efficient than your basic hard drive. Certain laptops, such as Dell’s Vostro V130 and Apple’s MacBook Air, are already being sold with SSDs, and HP and Dell have measured longer battery life in these new laptops with SSDs than those with hard drives.

A number of companies have already begun selling consumer SSDs: Intel’s 160GB X25-M Mainstream SSD costs $409 when you order it online from Best Buy, and Kingston’s 64GB <a hrefSSDNow is priced at $120, also from Best Buy.

As the consumer demand for more storage increases, Gartner expects that the prices for SSDs will decline, as the average selling price of NAND flash is expected to drop by 30 percent this year, and another 36 percent from 2011 to 2012.

By comparison, SSDs represented a fairly small portion of NAND bit consumption, as flash cards and USB drives comprised 38 percent of data stored in NAND flash. In 2010, SSDs accounted for 7.9 percent of bit consumption, most of which came from the mainstream market. Gartner predicts that bit consumption for SSDs will grow 15.9 percent by 2012.