DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports that prices have stabilized for the first time in a year for mainstream client-grade SSDs in the PC-OEM market during this third quarter. Compared with the prior quarter, the average contract price of MLC-based SSDs rose 0~0.5% while that of the TLC-based SSDs fell slightly by 0~1%.
Though there are signs of tightening supply in the upstream of the SSD supply chain during the second half of this year, DRAMeXchange maintains that the SSD adoption rate in the notebook market will exceed 30% in 2016 and may even reach 50% in 2018.
“The second quarter had an increase in work days and this allowed branded notebook vendors and their channels to significantly reduce their excess inventories,” said Alan Chen, senior manager of DRAMeXchange. “Furthermore, notebook demand was stimulated by new model releases. Global notebook shipments in the second quarter posted an 8.2% sequential increase, while global shipments of SSDs for notebooks also grew 24% over the prior quarter.”
Chen added: “Though there was a supply shortage and a sharp price hike for TLC Flash memory during May and June, SSD shipments to the worldwide channel market registered a 12% sequential increase in the second quarter. Increase in work days and manufacturers having sufficient inventories resulted in the above-expected quarterly shipment result.”
DRAMeXchange’s data shows the SSD adoption rate in the notebook market for the second quarter was 32~33%. Total shipments of client-grade SSDs for the period arrived at 28.3 million units, translating to a quarterly growth of 15~20%.
For this third quarter, NAND Flash will be in short supply and TLC Flash memory prices will remain high, so increasing SSD shipments to PC-OEMs will come at expense of shipments to the channel market and vice versa. DRAMeXchange projects that the total client-grade SSD shipments for the period will increase by just 2~3% quarterly.
TLC to become the mainstream memory architecture for 3D-NAND SSDs; market share of PCIe to show marginal growth this year
Chen further pointed out that in the future, 3D-NAND Flash for mainstream client-grade SSDs will be based on the TLC architecture. “On the other hand, 3D-NAND Flash based on the MLC architecture is not as competitive in terms of production cost, so its market share in the overall 3D-NAND Flash market will be small,” said Chen. “Its application will also be limited to high-end storage products.”
In the SSD interface market, major PC OEMs has just started to adopt PCIe in the second half of this year. Meanwhile, most of the demand in the channel market is still for SATA III. DRAMeXchange expects SATA III to remain as the popular interface type for client-grade SSDs in 2016. In contrast, PCIe is projected to account only for 20% of the client-grade SSD market this year, showing a slight increase from 2015.