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Flash Memory Won't Get Cheaper Any Time Soon

Soulskill posted 1 year,5 days | from the and-you'll-forget-to-send-in-the-rebate-anyway dept.

Data Storage 166

jfruh writes "Some melancholy news from the Hot Chips symposium last week: NAND memory, which powers the solid-state drives that have revolutionized storage, has broken the $1 per gigabyte barrier and isn't getting any cheaper. 'They will always be ten times the cost of a hard drive,' says analyst Jim Handy. There are newer technologies in development, but they won't be able to beat NAND on price for years."

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No! (4, Funny)

schneidafunk (795759) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843371)

Oh first world problems.

I shove FagPhones up my butt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843421)

How dare they not bring down the prices!!!

Sent from my FagPhone 5 made by Chinese sweatshop labor.

BARRIER!? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843641)

has broken the $1 per gigabyte barrier

It isn't a barrier. $1 is a COMPLETELY arbitrary value. Examples of real barriers are the sound barrier or the clock speed vs. power barrier (region) of silicon. A monetary barrier between low and middle class would be being able to pay for a new car with cash.

There has to be a solid justification to call it such. Otherwise, I could jump up and down SCREAMING that we have just crossed the 98 cent barrier.

A dollar a gig, cool! But no one crossed a real BARRIER.

captcha: barrier

Re:BARRIER!? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843821)

Go google psychological barrier.

Re:BARRIER!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843965)

Why are you attempt to bring your inability to achieve orgasm into this discussion, NatasRevol?

Re:BARRIER!? (2)

Iniamyen (2440798) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843959)

Being able to purchase a car with cash is a monetary barrier between lower and middle class?

Really?

You must be using your own definitions of those terms. Either that or you're talking about a pretty cheap car.

Re:BARRIER!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844015)

Ah, an entire generation ignorant to the concept of savings. At least I'll be dead before my SS [sic] money runs over.

Re:BARRIER!? (2)

ebh (116526) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844139)

I pay cash for my cars because of three things: 1. I don't buy extravagant cars; the last new ones were between $25K-$30K and the last used ones were half that; 2. As soon as I buy a car I start saving for the next one; 3. A windfall in the 1999-2000 dot-com boom gave me the initial large chunk of cash to start doing this (among other things).

I could have done the same thing even if that windfall had never come, but it would have meant less money into my 401(k).

All this presumed enough income that I actually could save some of it. Not everyone has that, many live paycheck-to-paycheck, and very few have enough to save for cars *and* max out their 401(k), and save for kids' college, and keep some money liquid, etc. I've been very fortunate.

Re:BARRIER!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844087)

Examples of real barriers are the sound barrier or the clock speed vs. power barrier (region) of silicon. A monetary barrier between low and middle class would be being able to pay for a new car with cash... ...But no one crossed a real BARRIER.

Don't forget about a dental dam... (you'll know it when you cross that barrier)

I shove FagPhones up my pooper!!! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844005)

I can't preorder the FagPhone 5S!!! First-world problems strike again!!

Sent from my FagPhone 5 that is shoved in my rectum

Re:I shove FagPhones up my pooper!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844895)

Now that is what I call butt dialing!!

Re:No! (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843517)

Actually this is as bad for the third world as well, because what do you think is used in all those ruggedized laptops and tablets in the middle of BF Africa? NAND Flash. The OLPC, smartphones (which is allowing many third world countries access for the first time to the WWW) all of these use NAND flash and as long as flash remains high it will hurt the poor more than those in the first world.

But there's a limit to what you need there (3, Interesting)

default luser (529332) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843973)

You say that a high price on flash will hurt development, but when you can fit Wikipedia English into 9GB + 1GB space for the bzreader index file (a good chunk of human knowledge right there), what more do you need?

You need a maybe 1-2GB more for an OS (not Windows) with office suite, browser, some learning tools, dev platforms, etc. Give yourself and the OS some breathing room, and we're only up to $16 of flash. That's a whole lot less than a fixed disk, and you've still got several GBs free.

So I still don't see how this is much of a problem. You could push prices below $1/GB, but it would take a huge sea change (drop to $.25 or less) to make a real difference in the price of the device they are installed in. There's already plenty of storage for a reasonable price, if you're willing to forgo luxuries like porn :D

Re:No! (0, Offtopic)

Frosty Piss (770223) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843521)

Oh first world problems.

Yes, many of the stuff discussed here don't have much to do with feeding and housing poor people.

Re:No! (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843799)

Probably because stuff that matters to nerds is often (not always) related to stuff you mostly find in the richest 20% of the world (population). Probably only 30% of that 20%, in reality.

If only 20% of slashdotters RTFA and approximately 30,000 RTFA (seems to be the common stats recently), that means there are approximately 150,000 active slashdotters, which easily fits within 6% of the world's population.

Oh, and "first world" ceased meaning anything useful when the cold war ended. You want "industrialized nation".

Re:No! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843901)

> Probably because stuff that matters to nerds is often (not always) related to stuff you mostly find in the richest 20% of the world (population).

You mean people are most concerned about what's around them?

STOP THE PRESSES!

Re:No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844675)

Yes, many of the stuff discussed here don't have much to do with feeding and housing poor people.

Yes, but it's all done without regard for grammar, so we have that going for us, at least!

Not so much (-1, Offtopic)

tuppe666 (904118) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843531)

Bitching about Mod points http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4144955&cid=44708261 [slashdot.org] "To the person that modded me down, I know my opinion is not a popular one. I'm open to debate. However, you should be using your mod points to bump up good comments and modding down off-topic or blatantly offensive messages, not opinions you disagree with. " that is a first world problem :)

Re:Not so much (0)

schneidafunk (795759) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843587)

Thanks for slashdot stalking me dude! It made my day to have you go through my comments.

Anyway, my post on this topic was meant to be funny, although I realize it's not that funny.
   

Re:No! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843537)

Oh goodie! It's the "Africa exists therefore you can't be dissatisfied with anything ever" argument.

Re: No! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843779)

Actually, I don't give a fuck about high crime, low iq subset race of people.... Africa exists.... and they're too dumb to provide for themselves, use an alphabet or wheel up to colonization... and so what? They're not my problem.

Re: No! (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843909)

What exactly are we in the West supposed to do about it really? Play globo-cop? Encourage our governments to meddle in the affairs of other countries?

Really? What's the point of being fixated on other people's business?

Re: No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844787)

Hear, hear. You're only being downvoted by the Politically correct crowd of ostriches.

Re: No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844733)

Oh goodie! It's the snobby slashdotter who takes a joke as an argument.

Re: No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844807)

It's snobby to be human, and misunderstand an entirely text-based post that contains no clue as to the intent of the posting? Jesus, you must fucking hate autistics.

Re:No! (3, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843625)

I think you mean first hello world problems.

Re:No! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843645)

Or first post problems, lots of angry responses!

Re:No! (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844029)

Wish I had a +1 funny for you...

I am sure the "experts" are right... (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843403)

....having a perfect track record and all.

Re:I am sure the "experts" are right... (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843677)

Especially when saying something won't happen ever.

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong." - Arthur C Clarke

Re:I am sure the "experts" are right... (1)

timeOday (582209) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844497)

Especially when saying something won't happen ever.

Well, if you look at the article, the prediction is that flash prices won't fall much between now and 2 years from now (2015). Not the sort of prediction that you can really counter by exhuming Sci-Fi writers for quotable quotes.

Re:I am sure the "experts" are right... (1)

timeOday (582209) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844537)

By the way, if you are imagining that Clarke had any realistic notion of what would become possible when, re-read 2001 sometime. It is just as wrong as the old "there is a world market for 5 computers" quote, only in reverse, from cover to cover.

can't be any other reason (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843771)

When you have an industry where there are a lot of different manufacturers that are not illegally colluding in any way, of course prices are going to avoid dropping. particularly when the first item made costs a million bucks and every one after that costs a fraction of a cent. I refuse to believe anyone who says that this is a self serving claim so that people will go ahead and buy all that they might ever use now and avoid waiting for better prices.

Re:I am sure the "experts" are right... (2)

PRMan (959735) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844023)

I remember them saying this about regular hard drives (at $1/MB). I remember 5 of us going together to get my buddy a 512 MB drive for $499 on Black Friday. We beat the experts prediction!

Six months later, you could get one for $399, and by the next Christmas, for $199. So much for that prediction.

I am guessing that this one will end similarly. Somebody will have a drive for .33/GB on Black Friday.

Ya I seem to recall this same story from before (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844083)

Some "expert" whining that flash can't get any cheaper because of fabs, limitations, etc, etc.

Well, I'm not buying it. Until I start hearing something from the people who actually make the tech, I'm going to say it'll probably keep going. Supply issues are just temporary. Companies can, and are, building new fabs all over. In terms of overall cost that has been getting reduced by both process size (which doesn't seem to be stopping soon) and by advances in how data is stored. Recently we've started to have TLC flash drives, which store 3 bits per location. This comes at a cost of write/erase cycles but it turns out that you don't really write that much data in normal desktop usage, so that works out ok, and you can over provision more as you have more storage.

Eventually I'm sure we'll hit a wall of some sort, but I think there's quite a ways to go.

Also, the question isn't if they are as cheap as magnetic drives. The question is if they are cheap enough for the capacity people need and these days the answer is generally "yes". Most people don't need 4TB of storage. I don't mean that in a condescending way, I mean that they actually wouldn't use it if they had it. Hence a smaller SSD can work perfectly fine. 500GB, or less, tends to do the trick real well for most people. So it doesn't matter if you can get a big HDD, it matters if you can get a fast SSD that is cheap enough to be affordable.

For higher capacity usages, well ya, HDDs are still great and still used. We got a big ole' NAS not too long ago using magnetic drives. We needed a lot of storage and didn't want to spend tons of money since performance wasn't a big issue.

Depends on your definition of "soon" (4, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843407)

What the article actually says in the last paragraph is that there's currently a capacity shortage, that's expected to be resolved by 2015. The article also says manufacturers think they can go down another process node, and then do another 3 after that using 3D stacking. Then he says new technologies "with the speed of DRAM and the storage capacity of NAND" might make their way out of the lab next year.

Overall, the article's contents don't really seem to support the notion that it's game over for SSD capacity improvements.

Re:Depends on your definition of "soon" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843519)

'Out of the lab' and 'affordable' are several years apart.

Re:Depends on your definition of "soon" (1)

DRJlaw (946416) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844251)

Overall, the article's contents don't really seem to support the notion that it's game over for SSD capacity improvements.

That notion is off topic. The summary says that NAND "has broken the $1 per gigabyte barrier and isn't getting any cheaper." Since the article says prices will be flat through 2015, the article at least in the short term supports the summary.

The article actually says "Don't expect SSDs to ever get much cheaper." It suggets there may be two more process shrinks (16nm and unspecified). Process shrinks make NAND cheaper, since more transistors per wafer makes the per transistor cost cheaper.

Unless 3D stacking also enables you more effeciently pack more transisters per wafer, that technology is only really going to increase capacity -- not decrease NAND cost. You're still spending weeks manufacturing almost the same wafers, then you're stacking them to increase density. To make the same number of three layer packages, you have to triple your 2D throughput (wafers, machinery, etc.), which is going to increase costs, not decrease them.

Yes, you don't have to have as many packages, as large a PCB, or as many controller channels, but those aren't the biggest contributors to costs in consumer devices to begin with.

Exactly (1)

djupedal (584558) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843413)

So can we please stop comparing SSDs to platter-drives, please? Thanks.

Spin 'em if you got 'em.

Re:Exactly (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843551)

Why would you *not* compare them?

Re:Exactly (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843665)

Because he doesn't want you to! He asked you nicely!

10X my white and flabby ass (2)

djupedal (584558) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843439)

A 4TB hdd can be had for roughly USD$200, or less. A 4TB SDD is USD$29k.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (5, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843461)

Yeah, but Newegg will probably have it for $27K.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843575)

Speaking of newegg you can get a samsung 1TB for $635. That's quite a ways below the $1 per GB price point.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844271)

Yeah, but Newegg will probably have it for $27K.

Yeah but it will be either used or refurb.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843533)

Google says you're wrong:

http://www.sabrepc.com/p-2521-fusion-io-fs6-802-640-cs-0001-512tb-iodrive-octal-multi-level-cell.aspx?gclid=CNfJ5vOVybkCFcU5QgodwkYAMg [sabrepc.com]

Ok, its $10K, but that's 5TB which you can't even buy right now. :)

Still, at the enterprise class, you're looking at ~$500, so its more like ~20x.

But its still apples to oranges as a PCI device will get you huge bandwidth. Different tools for different problems folks!

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843805)

I think you mean $103,450.50

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843539)

Who the hell needs 4TB in a single SSD? You can buy a multiple of smaller drives which total 4TB for a damn sight less than $29K. I don't think people making the price comparison are worrying about the extreme cases. For 'typical' sized drives of each type SSD is getting near $0.50/GB, and HDD is around $0.05/GB. That's close enough to 10x in my book.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843957)

> Who the hell needs 4TB in a single SSD?

Anyone that doesn't want to mess with an array to handle a simple use case of having a lot of stuff.

It's not 1988 anymore. There's ton of multi-media content out there. You can buy it or you can create it yourself. As tech and formats continue to improve and the "problem" only gets bigger.

Not everyone is a passive couch potato content with an anemic iPad.

OTOH, the price difference makes even the less extreme cases of a 1TB or 500G drive problematic.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844103)

I asked almost exactly this question many years ago when a friend bought one of the first 1GB drives. Ever since then I have stopped asking that question.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844529)

Anyone that doesn't want to mess with an array to handle a simple use case of having a lot of stuff.

JBOD works fine with modern media players. For example, either Plex or XBMC (or even XBMC as a Plex client) works fine with multiple disks, even if they are spread across multiple servers, which might provide nfs, smb...

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

ByronHope (2669333) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844561)

I do, actually using mutlpile 3TB FusionIO cards for a database migration project. Beats having to stuff around with slow SANs, shared (slow) storage and SAN admins. If you take into account performance, rack space, power consumption and cooling, it's cheaper than SAN storage. Just say no to spinning rust.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843557)

A 4TB SDD is USD$29k.

Not if your 4TB SSD is an array of 512GB SSDs.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843977)

>> A 4TB SDD is USD$29k.
>
> Not if your 4TB SSD is an array of 512GB SSDs.

For some reason I am reminded of the very first IBM hard drive.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

EvanED (569694) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843569)

While your comparison makes sense too, it also makes sense to compare the lowest price/gb available in each medium. If I wanted a 4TB SSD, I'd just get a bunch of smaller ones and do something to join them. (Or just use lots of partitions.) Eight Crucial M4 512 TB drives can be had for ~$3200, which is 19x the cost of the SSDs.

The cheapest hard drives per-size seem to be about $40/TB (the cheapest 2, 3, and 4 TB drives are all in that vicinity). The cheapest SSDs per-size seem to be a bit under $700/TB (at four 256 GBs), and you can get a model that is probably good for about $750/GB. That's still a bit more than 10x, but it's actually pretty good for a rough estimate still.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843571)

SSD and HDD arent the same thing and are used for different but overlapping purposes. Comparing them directly is just plain ignorance.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (2)

EvanED (569694) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843727)

SSD and HDD arent the same thing and are used for different but overlapping purposes. Comparing them directly is just plain ignorance.

That's a dumb statement. To an enormous extent, SSDs and HDDs are used for different but overlapping purposes precisely because they have a very significant cost difference. In many cases -- almost certainly most cases -- the cost determines which you get (either directly or indirectly), so comparing the cost makes complete sense.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (2)

demonlapin (527802) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843927)

Exactly. If SSDs were as cheap as HDDs I sure wouldn't have any of the latter.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (3, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843647)

The spot price for NAND right now [insye.com] is about $5 for 8 GB (64 Gb). So 4 TB of NAND costs $2560. Which is pretty close to 10x the cost of a $200 4 TB hard drive.

When you buy a 4 TB SSD, you're not paying $29k for the NAND. You're paying for someone to go through the trouble of amassing 4 TB of flash, design an arrangement with controllers which can address that huge amount, and produce it in bulk. Very few people are demanding that much capacity in an SSD, so the cost of that engineering and tooling work gets amortized over fewer customers. About $2.5k for the NAND, about $26.5k for the engineering and tooling.

With the lower capacity SSDs, those production costs are amortized over much larger volumes, and a much greater fraction of the drive cost is the NAND. A 128 GB Crucial M4 drive contains $80 worth of NAND (actually probably a bit more since there's some overprovisioning to substitute for cells which die early), and sells for $100.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844075)

Very few people are demanding that much capacity in an SSD

And particularly in a single SSD, for HDDs the price/GB goes down with size while with SSDs my impression is that you need to fill the channels on the controllers but after that it's just double the capacity for double the price. If you need a bigger SSD just get many and RAID-0 them.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843689)

You were on that other article weren't you? Nobody cares what a 4 TB SSD costs when you can get a 1 TB SSD for under $1000.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843995)

That's not true. IBM's retail on their 1u SAN module 26TB is $33k. You'll never pay more than $26k, and they might go as low as $21k if they love you.

4TB (1)

phorm (591458) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844521)

a 1TB Samsung 840 EVO is around $600-$700
So for 4TB that's about $2400-$2800, maybe around 12x if you aren't counting that you'd need multiple SSD's.

Re:10X my white and flabby ass (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844659)

A 4TB hdd can be had for roughly USD$200, or less. A 4TB SDD is USD$29k.

Apples to oranges. You're comparing a cheap consumer-grade HDD to a low-volume enterprise-grade SSD.

The 1TB Samsung 840 EVO SSD is currently going for $635.99 at Newegg. So 4GB of SSD storage would cost $2543.96 – less than 10% of the figure you quoted. So it's about 13x what the magnetic HDD would cost, not 10x – close enough.

The fact that you can't get more than 1TB in a SSD unit without paying insane enterprise prices is beside the point. It's unusual to see a modern ATX motherboard without at least six SATA ports – and if you can afford $2500 in storage, you can certainly afford an add-on SATA host card if you need more.

And (1)

stevez67 (2374822) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843453)

No one will ever need more than 512k of RAM ... no one will ever want to carry around a wireless phone ... 3D TV's are going to take over the marketplace ... vinyl albums, no wait 8-tracks, no wait cassettes, no wait CDs, no wait mp3's are the final medium for entertainment.

Re:And (2)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843861)

Careful there... you actually just might be right about some of those...

Inconsistent (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843481)

"[NAND memory] isn't getting any cheaper" combined with "they will always be ten times the cost of a hard drive" could mean either:(a) both SSD:s and spinning drives will suddenly stop getting cheaper for no apparent reason or (b) Whoever wrote TFA and TFS are morons who doesn't realize that the first statement doesn't follow from the second.

I'm guessing (b).

Wrong Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843495)

"Flash Memory Won't Get Cheaper Any Time Soon" and "They will always be ten times the cost of a hard drive," are two completely different things. The article is saying two things:

1: Other technologies are unlikely to overtake flash on price/performance in the near future
2: Flash will always be 10x cost of harddrives. In other words, Flash won't overtake harddrives on price.

However, Flash will continue to get cheaper per capcity, at least for now, as will harddrives. It'll be a race where Flash will never be able to catch up.

The article makes clear that at least for now, Flash will continue to undergo price reductions until limits are reached. It being a silicon based product, it is going to be limited by the same basic manufacturing and feature shrinking limits of most other silicon chips. There may be advancements similar to MLC that are specific to flash, but otherwise the same rules apply. Decrease feature size, and you fit more features int he die, decreasing cost.

Re:Wrong Summary (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843873)

"Flash Memory Won't Get Cheaper Any Time Soon" and "They will always be ten times the cost of a hard drive," are two completely different things. The article is saying two things:

1: Other technologies are unlikely to overtake flash on price/performance in the near future
2: Flash will always be 10x cost of harddrives. In other words, Flash won't overtake harddrives on price.

However, Flash will continue to get cheaper per capcity, at least for now, as will harddrives. It'll be a race where Flash will never be able to catch up.

The article makes clear that at least for now, Flash will continue to undergo price reductions until limits are reached. It being a silicon based product, it is going to be limited by the same basic manufacturing and feature shrinking limits of most other silicon chips. There may be advancements similar to MLC that are specific to flash, but otherwise the same rules apply. Decrease feature size, and you fit more features int he die, decreasing cost.

So... when do we get our spinning platters of NAND memory?

If these analysts actually hit the mark.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843497)

We would all be stuck using 1.2ghz CPUs requiring exotic liquid cooling because we've hit the limit on die shrinks.
We would all be stuck with 500GB hard drives because there is no way to increase areal density of HDD platters
We would all be stuck on 1.5mbps DSL lines because there is no cost effective way to push data quickly over consumer grade circuits
We would all be on Windows Phone because MS was going to out innovate Apple and Google.

The doomsday soothsayers have been around forever and usually have zero clue on upcoming innovations. Guess these type of articles "sell eyeballs"

Re:If these analysts actually hit the mark.... (1)

Bengie (1121981) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844001)

The exa-flood is upon us! We need 100gb, and it's too expensive!

Few months later... 400gb links! We can't sustain that growth!

Few months later.... 800gb over a single fiber!

We can't sustain that growth!

Few months later.... you can now purchase 8tb/s over a single fiber and we have a working version running from Stockholm to Frankfurt with no repeaters using standard fiber.........

I give up

Crossbar (2)

babymac (312364) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843505)

I am especially interested in Crossbar's RRAM technology. I think it has the potential to absolutely crush NAND in both price and performance. So, this guy is likely wrong.

Re:Crossbar (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843589)

HP's memristor/ReRAM hasn't been mentioned in a while. That technology looks promising, and like the parent states, Crossbar has 1TB chips in testing. Does that mean there will be a USB flash drive with this technology? I'd not hold my breath, especially remembering how holographic storage was always just around the corner, from back in 1992 with a company called Tamarak to a few years ago with InPhase (well, their stuff is now owned by the state of Colorado, so who knows what state their IP is in...)

However, SSD isn't the be-all and end-all in storage. One can always make an array using battery backed up DRAM if needed and had the cash.

Re:Crossbar (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844585)

There's a huge difference here.

Crossbar RRAM works in existing plants with very minimal retooling. There's no need to build a brand new manufacturing from the ground up manufacturing process for them. This fact, coupled with the cheaper cost of materials due to a drastic size reduction, will make it an optional solution from a manufacturing standpoint. The improved speeds, reduced power requirements, and smaller size for greater storage will make it an optimal solution on the consumer side. Not only will this type of technology drastically impact the computing market but it will seriously alter the consumer electronics and smart phone / portable electronics markets. Anyone who doesn't see the writing on the wall there is, quite simply, blind.

Holographic storage was always more expensive. It required a completely new process to manufacture and wasn't compatible with current technologies. Even then it was implemented to a limited degree and used by a few corporations, because they could afford the cost. You're not even comparing apples and oranges or a horse and a car there. You're comparing a car and an apple. ;)

What a scam (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843535)

The things are almost completely machine made. They should be damn near free. What a bunch of thieves...

Re:What a scam (4, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843611)

Made by machines in $10B fab plants that need to be payed off before they are obsolete.

Re:What a scam (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844033)

It's bogus. This is the new railroad, blocking the rights of way for anybody else. It's too heavily monopolized with bullshit patents and copyrights.

Re:What a scam (2)

Valdrax (32670) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844389)

Patents are a part of it, but they're minuscule compared to the capital requirements. Semiconductor manufacture isn't a basement hobbyist game; it's the absolute cutting edge of technology, and the people who make the machines that make the chips are creating custom, precision hardware for a very small customer base. Commercial-scale semiconductor plants run about $1 billion minimum, for a 10k-30k wafers per month "minifab" and can run up to $8-10 billion for a "gigafab" churning out 80k-100k wafers per month.

Read more at SemiWiki [semiwiki.com] .

Re:What a scam (1)

RatBastard (949) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843685)

And I'm sure all of the materials, and power are provided for free, too. And the design work. Not to mention the shipping costs.

Re:What a scam (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843923)

Figure out the human effort involved and work on that. "What the market will bear" means "How much can I rip a guy off without going to jail". If the margins are so low, why are the owners so rich? Consumers have to stand up and demand better accounting and pricing. Unfortunately they make up such a tiny part of the economy, there's no clout to be had. "Consumers" that make a difference are just other companies, and the massive amount of trade amongst them (in the same fashion car dealers swap inventory to make it look like a sale) is what sets the price we pay. Gotta find a way to scare them straight.

Re:What a scam (1)

sribe (304414) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844101)

If the margins are so low, why are the owners so rich?

Did you fail basic arithmetic in 4th grade???

Re:What a scam (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844365)

Hey, They are the ones pissing and moaning about how little they make. They all look pretty plump to me. We have to get some real competition into the system, and prices will come down tout de suite.

Re:What a scam (1)

theskipper (461997) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844461)

You realize the companies you're talking about are almost all public? Of which the balance sheets and P&Ls are available in the 10Q/Ks filed with the SEC every quarter, fully viewable just a few clicks away?

If you want to make a direct difference, you can. Fire up Etrade and buy a few shares of Micron or any other tech company you feel is gouging or not fairly considering "human effort". Then you'll (literally) be one of the "rich owners" and can voice your concerns at their annual meeting.

Having said that, collusion is the complaint you're really referring to, but just didn't know it. And that's already deemed illegal so you can rest easy now.

Re:What a scam (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844569)

And that's already deemed illegal so you can rest easy now.

:-) Yeah, Pull the other one [soundjay.com] ...

Re:What a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844291)

Solar Power will be free!

Slashvertisement (1)

oldhack (1037484) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843555)

Are you guys paid to promote SSD this month?

Better technologies out there (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843559)

NAND is never going to beat my favorite storage volume: /dev/null. No matter how much I write, it never seems to get full.

Re:Better technologies out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843693)

I have no luck with my /dev/full :(

Re:Better technologies out there (2)

rubycodez (864176) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843699)

That's because of the efficent use of bits by the kernel. All non-random stuff fed in gets further sorted to zeroes and ones, and the ones inverted to zeros. Those zeros are then fed out of /dev/zero, while the random stuff goes out /dev/urandom

for YEARS (1)

dittbub (2425592) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843637)

2 years? Yeah I believe him!

"...until 2015..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843705)

"Prices have been stable and will be flat until 2015..."

So the article says they won't get cheaper for 2 years. Hardly forever (and probably even that is wrong).

Oh, thank goodness (4, Funny)

forkazoo (138186) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843713)

I was worried that Flash might stay expensive for a while, but now that an analyst is predicting it I know it won't actually happen. So, expect a massive crashing in prices pretty much immediately.

High prices are the only thing keeping me away (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843747)

I've been waiting and watching...

I have a sub-$300 laptop.

$170 for a 256 GB drive is the perfect size but the price is a joke;
$90 for a 128 GB drive is a tad small, but it's still way too expensive;
$60 for a 64 GB is almost reasonable price but it's way too small;
$40 for a 32 GB drive is the perfect price, but the size is a joke.

Start selling 128GB drives for $40 and we'll talk...

ROFL - Samsungs 3D Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44843913)

Will start cheaper than a buck a gig as it will be much higher density and cheaper to manufacture bigger sizes per 2d surface area... so blah blah blah...

mem-ristors probably won't be cheaper any time soon, but the other one that was introduced within the last 3 months (at least I first read about it during this time frame) was also going to be cheaper than flash to start out with, with 10x the density and 100x the durability.

So this sounds like a tech report to prop up stock prices on false profit reports.

And the reason is... (1)

macraig (621737) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843915)

... collusion and profiteering, maybe racketeering. I think the only reason Samsung produced TLC was to use it as a buffer to justify continuing to keep the prices of MLC artificially high. Hopefully other manufacturers, since they don't (yet) also produce TLC to compete directly with Samsung, will instead finally reduce their MLC prices to compete with TLC. There might be some sort of gentlemens' agreement preventing that, though, since Samsung's TLC can buffer the MLC prices for the entire industry, not just its own MLC.

The article is wrong. (1)

edibobb (113989) | 1 year,5 days | (#44843961)

Actually, flash memory will continue to drop in price. Maybe not as much as hard drives have in the past 10 years, but it will continue to drop. I would be willing to bet $0.25 on it.

Industry Disagrees (2)

godamntheman (989491) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844047)

I was at the Flash Memory Summit last month and everyone there that actually makes the stuff seems to disagree... Whether going 3D or moving toward 16nm planar, or any of the post-NAND technologies, the the price/GB will get noticeably cheaper every year. The only reason it is expensive now is that the supply wasn't ready for the demand.

Good news ! (1)

feufeu (1109929) | 1 year,5 days | (#44844067)

Finally ! We are going to get lean and efficient code again instead of the current trend towards more and more bloated stuff ! (There weren't any bloody Blahblahtoolbars or N different themes in those ZX-81-1kB-and-that's-all-days, huh ?! Not even with the 16kB RAM pack either.)

Price is not the big problem for me (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44844095)

As somebody who has used flash memory in many designs over many years in many environments (since the devices first hit the market) I do not think average users are aware of the down-sides. Flash storage starts failing the moment you start using it. Repeated writes to the same block eventually cause the block to fail (something that does not happen in spinning magnetic media). Systems that use flash have various means of hiding this from the user (generally by reserving blocks of free flash and re-mapping them to replace the failed blocks as those blocks fail). This is OK for storage where you occasionally write to it, but it's a terrible idea in applications like desktop systems that are always writing to the disk (logging activities, simulating more free RAM by swapping to disk, etc). Typical disk formats make this worse by having data structures that require reading perfectly good blocks, patching them, and writing them back (for things like directories and allocation).

For rugged, fast, low-power and/or portable storage Flash is excellent. As a replacement for a magnetic drive in a system used by an average user.....probably not a great idea (an average user will likely replace it before he notices it degrading). For a serious user/developer who hammers his drive with lots of compile/test/debug activities and lots of data file writing, log files, etc.... BAD idea and probably more likely to result in data loss in a non-RAID setup.

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