The picture isn't crystal clear just yet, but at CES we cleared part of the cloud surrounding companies 2011 solid state drive products. At the very least we will see seven new SSD controllers enter the market in 2011. Of those, four are directed at the consumer market and three are enterprise designs. Only time will tell which consumer controllers get converted to enterprise models and vice versa. Of the seven overall, we saw working samples of three and they were all twice as fast as the Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB drive.
2011 isn't all about controllers, though. The types of flash memory will play a more significant role this year. The new flash will make it possible to practically deliver 512GB SSDs while at the same time reducing the cost of SSDs across the board. Don't look for price reductions until Q4, though. Just like last year, the controllers will be expensive and companies will need to recoup their tooling costs early in the production runs.
When it comes to pricing, we only heard from one controller manufacturer and he stated that launch prices should be around 20% higher than the products that are on the market now. With SandForce 120GB SSDs dipping down to 200 USD on a good day, we might actually see a 120GB next generation SandForce SSD selling at 240 USD, but for some reason I have my doubts about that fairy tale until late 2011. We will keep our fingers crossed, though.
Today we are going to break down the rumors and facts and divide everything up based on controller manufacturers. Let's dive in and get started.