Rising SSD prices mean 2017 notebooks could have smaller storage options

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PC component prices, particularly the memory chips that go into system RAM and solid-state disk (SSD) storage devices, have been on the upswing for a while due to a variety of factors. Now, it appears that SSDs are going to become even more pricey, which could have a significant impact on notebook PCs in 2017.

SSD prices were already under pressure due to demand of NAND chips outstripping supply. Going forward, it won’t just be higher prices but also SSD capacity that could be impacted, industry analyst Dramexchange reports.

According to Dramexchange, contract pricing for the SSDs that go into client machines like notebooks will see pricing increases of between 10 and 16 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. In spite of the increase in prices, SSDs will likely remain popular due to their significant advantage in speed over hard disk drives (HDDs). The result is that PC manufacturers could continue to most prominently position 128GB and 256GB SSD options as opposed to larger alternatives.

As Alan Chen, senior research manager of Dramexchange put it, “Average contract prices of client-grade SSDs in the PC-OEM market are rising this first quarter because not only PC clients are aggressively stocking up their inventories, smartphone clients are also maintaining strong demand for storage components.” What that means is that if you are in the market for a notebook PC in 2017, you are likely going to find more of a premium for 512GB or larger SSD options.

At the end of 2016, about 36 percent of notebook users opted for SSDs, and total SSD sales were 33.2 million units, an increase of around three percent over the previous quarter. For the rest of 2017, it’s expected that TLC NAND-based SSDs will be preferred by 75 percent of SSD purchasers for use in machines with PCIe interfaces. The more expensive MLC SSDs will be reserved for the highest-performing SSD applications. Finally, PCIe will become the dominant connection option by the end of the year.

If you’ve been planning a notebook purchase for 2017, then rest assured that SSDs remain your best options. Just be prepared to pay more if you need 512GB SSDs or larger, and for your PC manufacturer of choice to offer you the best deals if you can live with a 256GB SSD or smaller.

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