SSD Price Spike Possible After Western Digital Loses 6.5 Billion GB Of NAND Chips
Due to materials contaminations at two of its NAND flash fabrication facilities, Western Digital has lost 6.5 exabytes (or 6.5 billion gigabytes) of NAND flash memory. While the loss is bad news for the company, which manufactures data storage devices like hard drives and NVMe SSDs, customers could soon see prices rise too. According to Trendforce, an electronics market research firm, the contamination could lead to a significant price spike in SSDs.
Western Digital's material contamination occurred at two of the company's NAND Flash production lines, one in Yokkaichi and another in Kitakami, Japan, according to a press release. NAND Flash is a key component in SSDs, both SATA and NVMe. A shortage of those materials means fewer SSDs are likely to end up on store shelves, and the ones that do are going to be more expensive.
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However, according to Trendforce, that shortage isn't going to hit consumers immediately. Instead, an initial oversupply could make SSD prices drop up to 10% during the first fiscal quarter of 2022. The second quarter is when we would see price spikes though, which could likewise rise up to 10% higher. To put the effect of this contamination in perspective, Western Digital and its partner, Kioxia, which owns the two Japanese NAND flash production facilities, make up just over 30% of the NAND Flash market share.
A shortage in SSDs is sure to impact PC enthusiasts, but for anyone looking to put together a gaming rig, it's bad news. More and more modern releases list storing game data on an SSD as part of its recommended settings. However, component price inflation isn't anything new for PC gamers, who have been dealing with exorbitant GPU prices for over a year now. PS5 owners looking to upgrade their console's storage are also sure to feel a hit. Instead of a memory card, users have to purchase and install their own NVMe SSD into the console to make more room for games.
It's not clear how long the SSD shortage and following price spike will last. For now, Western Digital is "working closely with its joint venture partner, Kioxia, to implement necessary measures that will restore the facilities to normal operational status as quickly as possible."