Forward Looking Statements
Over the next six months, I suspect we'll see more PCIe based drives hit the market like the SanDisk A110. We've had the A110 in our lab for the last three months, and products based on the same Marvell controller should hit in early January. Unlike the large number of PCIe drives showing up for reviews with aging RAID controllers and multiple SATA SSDs onboard, native PCIe drives retain performance since the SSD has access to the TRIM command from the operating system. Access to Samsung's native PCIe SSDs should pick up as well, but most of the drives are destined for the system builder market.
For desktop use, native PCIe SSDs need an adapter, but those are on the way; we have a handful in the lab already. Ultimately, the first company to release an integrated adapter with an SSD will gain a lot of attention from enthusiasts as long as the price is competitive.
Normally we'd expect such a product from OCZ Technology, but it seems the company is a bit preoccupied. The void leaves a wide enthusiast market open for other companies to fill. Time will tell who occupies this space first. Startup ioSwitch appears to be the first to market with a combo native PCIe SSD with an adapter card (review coming soon), but the price isn't in line with a majority of enthusiast's budgets at this time.
SATA SSD prices will continue to fall over time, but the first stop is 50 cents per GB. Last year 75 cents per GB was a solid price so this is a nice reduction. Some large capacity SSDs are already selling for 50 cents per GB. I suspect after CES this will become normal across the board, at least for all but the smallest SSDs.
Moving beyond July 2014, I think the flash fab companies will push most of the third party companies out of the SSD market. Some companies highly dedicated to performance enthusiasts have a chance to survive since smaller companies have the ability to innovate new designs with colors and excitement!
Companies like ADATA and Mushkin, who purchase wafers and package NAND, will survive too as long as the fabs continue to sell flash in large volumes to them. Both ADATA and Mushkin also manufacture SSDs and have already shown products with SF3700: the flash controller we think everyone will want come July 2014.
Aside from what we covered today, SSD prices will get lower, capacity sizes will increase, and more people will have SSDs from OEM systems.
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