Thursday, August 16th 2018

NAND Flash Prices Could Reach $0.08/GB in 2019

Prices of NAND flash could drop to historic lows of $0.08 per gigabyte in 2019, according to Jim Handy from Objective Analysis, addressing delegates at the 2018 Flash Memory Summit. If you add the cost of the controller, optional DRAM chip, and other low-cost parts that make up an SSD, 480~512 GB drives under $70 could finally be a reality; followed by 1 TB under $120, and 2 TB under $200. Handy attributes the low prices to a catastrophic oversupply of NAND flash in the industry, which could push manufacturers to the brink of economic collapse.

The price drop is also accelerated with the introduction of the QLC (4 bits per cell) technology, which increases densities (and conversely decreases price/GB). Luckily, most NAND flash manufacturers also happen to make DRAM, and are offsetting some of their NAND flash losses with DRAM profits, as DRAM remains in undersupply. The NAND flash price-crash threatens to wipe out conventional hard-disk drives from the consumer-space, at least in matured markets; relegating them to developing markets.
Source: The Register
Add your own comment

14 Comments on NAND Flash Prices Could Reach $0.08/GB in 2019

#1
randomUser
So far QLC does not impress at all.

100MBps speed when cache is full is seriously not what i would expect.

As far as i understand, the free space of the drive is used as a SLC cache.
The more full drive is, the less cache it has. Futhermore, it will reorganize data after being written into this cache, so that all the bytes are moved to fill the TLC/QLC cells and releases other SLC cells.
This reorganization works at 100MBps max speed.

This means, that if you copy a 1GB file to a drive, it will first fill 1GB worth of SLC cells in 1 second (lets say write speed is 1GBps), then it will take about 9 more seconds to move that data from 1 billion SLC cells into 250 million QLC cells. So the whole operation takes 10 seconds and during this time, drive is in active mode while consuming more energy.

If you take samsung pro nvme, which is MLC, you will see that the speed is constant no matter how much data is on the drive and how much is copied. This means that at speed of 1GBps the whole operation will take 1 second to complete without additional housekeeping required. It will return to idle state much sooner consuming much less power per operation.

correct my if am wrong.
Posted on Reply
#2
3rold
randomUser, post: 3886525, member: 176138"
So far QLC does not impress at all.

100MBps speed when cache is full is seriously not what i would expect.

As far as i understand, the free space of the drive is used as a SLC cache.
The more full drive is, the less cache it has. Futhermore, it will reorganize data after being written into this cache, so that all the bytes are moved to fill the TLC/QLC cells and releases other SLC cells.
This reorganization works at 100MBps max speed.

This means, that if you copy a 1GB file to a drive, it will first fill 1GB worth of SLC cells in 1 second (lets say write speed is 1GBps), then it will take about 9 more seconds to move that data from 1 billion SLC cells into 250 million QLC cells. So the whole operation takes 10 seconds and during this time, drive is in active mode while consuming more energy.

If you take samsung pro nvme, which is MLC, you will see that the speed is constant no matter how much data is on the drive and how much is copied. This means that at speed of 1GBps the whole operation will take 1 second to complete without additional housekeeping required. It will return to idle state much sooner consuming much less power per operation.

correct my if am wrong.
That's a useful tl;dr you provide here. Thanks :)
Posted on Reply
#3
ZILZAL
Dont worry, a flood is coming , fire at NAND and RAM factories, they will control the prices and keep it high.
Posted on Reply
#4
zo0lykas
good very good

nand flash price drop's
dram prices soon reach the sky :/ someone should die
Posted on Reply
#5
hojnikb
randomUser, post: 3886525, member: 176138"
So far QLC does not impress at all.

100MBps speed when cache is full is seriously not what i would expect.

As far as i understand, the free space of the drive is used as a SLC cache.
The more full drive is, the less cache it has. Futhermore, it will reorganize data after being written into this cache, so that all the bytes are moved to fill the TLC/QLC cells and releases other SLC cells.
This reorganization works at 100MBps max speed.

This means, that if you copy a 1GB file to a drive, it will first fill 1GB worth of SLC cells in 1 second (lets say write speed is 1GBps), then it will take about 9 more seconds to move that data from 1 billion SLC cells into 250 million QLC cells. So the whole operation takes 10 seconds and during this time, drive is in active mode while consuming more energy.

If you take samsung pro nvme, which is MLC, you will see that the speed is constant no matter how much data is on the drive and how much is copied. This means that at speed of 1GBps the whole operation will take 1 second to complete without additional housekeeping required. It will return to idle state much sooner consuming much less power per operation.

correct my if am wrong.
This is not new to QLC, most TLC drives work in exactly the same matter. The only difference is that write speed is a little bit better since it has 8 less states to deal with in a given cell.
If the algorithm is designed correctly to deal with this, it's a non issue for consumer workloads.
I'd be more concerned with data retention, since QLC is higher density and cheaper hence can be used as a storage medium.
Posted on Reply
#6
Assimilator
Yesss bring on the cheap 2TB SSDs! And hopefully 4TB soon after so I can replace all my slow and noisy spinning rust disks with something that runs silent and fast.

randomUser, post: 3886525, member: 176138"
So far QLC does not impress at all.

100MBps speed when cache is full is seriously not what i would expect.

As far as i understand, the free space of the drive is used as a SLC cache.
The more full drive is, the less cache it has. Futhermore, it will reorganize data after being written into this cache, so that all the bytes are moved to fill the TLC/QLC cells and releases other SLC cells.
This reorganization works at 100MBps max speed.

This means, that if you copy a 1GB file to a drive, it will first fill 1GB worth of SLC cells in 1 second (lets say write speed is 1GBps), then it will take about 9 more seconds to move that data from 1 billion SLC cells into 250 million QLC cells. So the whole operation takes 10 seconds and during this time, drive is in active mode while consuming more energy.

If you take samsung pro nvme, which is MLC, you will see that the speed is constant no matter how much data is on the drive and how much is copied. This means that at speed of 1GBps the whole operation will take 1 second to complete without additional housekeeping required. It will return to idle state much sooner consuming much less power per operation.

correct my if am wrong.
You're wrong.

All TLC and now QLC drives run a portion of their NAND in SLC mode precisely for caching, since SLC is fastest. The more free space the drive has, the larger the cache can be.

When you copy a file to such a drive, it gets put into the SLC cache. Then, over time - as the drive does its normal housekeeping* - the cache is flushed and that file gets migrated bit-by-bit to the ordinary NAND. This process is completely transparent to the end-user, and once the file is fully moved, it's removed from the cache and the pointer moved to the ordinary NAND.

But if the SLC cache is too small (because the drive is near full), or already full, the written file has to go directly to the underlying NAND, and that will be slow for TLC and even slower for QLC. That is generally the only time that drive speed will drop to unacceptable levels. If you follow the advice from the first days of SSDs - never fill the drive, or always keep enough free space to contain all the files you think you will copy - you will never have a problem.

tl;dr unless your SSD is nearly full and you are copying large files to it, you will never notice the lower performance of TLC or QLC or whatever comes after them. For normal consumer workloads, a TLC/QLC drive will behave like an SLC drive.

* Yes, the housekeeping takes time and the drive is busy during that time, but we're talking a couple of watts of power here at worst. The high-performance NVMe controllers from Samsung are older and far less efficient at managing power than the new generation of controllers designed for TLC and QLC, so on balance I'd expect a TLC/QLC drive to be more efficient overall despite being more active.
Posted on Reply
#7
Prima.Vera
Wishful thinkind imo. There is always going to be a flood, a virus, an ant infestation, or some bad Feng Shui thing happening to keep the prices under control. The DRAM and NAND cartel(s) are too well prepared for this scenario, and no antitrust fines (peanuts money) can stop them.
Relax, price will decrease but very very slowly...
Posted on Reply
#8
fynxer
What goes up must come down, they will pay for their greed and price manipulation of the memory market in the end.
Posted on Reply
#10
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Prima.Vera, post: 3886569, member: 98685"
Wishful thinkind imo. There is always going to be a flood, a virus, an ant infestation, or some bad Feng Shui thing happening to keep the prices under control. The DRAM and NAND cartel(s) are too well prepared for this scenario, and no antitrust fines (peanuts money) can stop them.
Relax, price will decrease but very very slowly...
The DDR3 oversupply happened despite alleged price fixing (I'm saying "alleged" because they have been accused of it since forever and have been fined for it several times bit it wasn't as obvious as it is now). And there are more NAND-makers than DRAM makers afaik, and there is actual competition. If there was serious price fixing the 250GB drives would never have gone down below €100, but they have, and the prices continually goes down across the board.
Posted on Reply
#11
CheapMeat
randomUser, post: 3886525, member: 176138"
So far QLC does not impress at all.

.
If you really care about performance and endurance then go Optane. It doesn't slow down the fuller it gets. The endurance is higher than SLC. And has many other benefits. I think you're forgetting what QLC is really trying to take on here. Sure it might be the main drive for laptops or mobile devices and then you can make an argument of "not good enough". But the real potential is having something competitive against HDDs for mass / bulk storage. I would not be using a QLC drive for my main drive. It would be my storage drive. And regardless of inherent qualities, it still beats out spinning rust in every single way except price. But I'm willing to pay that higher premium for $ per GB especially since the gap is not as large anymore. Plus they have a lower price floor than HDDs bill of material wise. QLC is going to be a revolution in the storage sector.
Posted on Reply
#12
Prince Valiant
Frick, post: 3886679, member: 23907"
The DDR3 oversupply happened despite alleged price fixing (I'm saying "alleged" because they have been accused of it since forever and have been fined for it several times bit it wasn't as obvious as it is now). And there are more NAND-makers than DRAM makers afaik, and there is actual competition. If there was serious price fixing the 250GB drives would never have gone down below €100, but they have, and the prices continually goes down across the board.
They could've agreed to controlled drops, price fixing only means the players have agreed to a pricing scheme. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some amount of it going on.
Posted on Reply
#13
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Prince Valiant, post: 3886778, member: 170024"
They could've agreed to controlled drops, price fixing only means the players have agreed to a pricing scheme. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some amount of it going on.
€25 for 8GB does not sound like a planned drop.
Posted on Reply
#14
Prima.Vera
Thank God for the Chinese government controlled DRAM and NAND makers then? :laugh::laugh::laugh:
At least the Party it's the Cartel controlling the prices :laugh::laugh::roll:
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment