Why are SSDs more expensive than HDDs?

No matter whether “cheap” SATA-6G-SSD or powerful PCIe-SSD – in terms of storage capacity, on average we have to dig deeper into our pockets with SSDs than with classic hard drives. But what is the reason for this? Why are SSDs still more expensive than HDDs?

SSD storage media have – depending on performance and interface – quite wide price ranges. Cheaper SATA SSDs are now available for the equivalent of 8-9 cents per GB, which is quite astonishing when you compare the prices of recent years. In 2014, just as an example, the cheapest SSD models still cost over 30 cents per GB. Nevertheless, classic HDDs still come off best in terms of price: With an average of 2.5 cents per GB, not a single SSD is enough for them. Apart from the market development, there is a very simple physical reason for this, namely the underlying technology.

Logarithmic price development of HDDs (blue dots, left) and SSDs (red dots, right) in Euro/GB Source: Thalios

SSDs and HDDs are based on two completely different technologies, which have a significant influence on the price development. Conventional HDDs work with rotating magnetic disks. To store and read data, read and write heads are moved over the disks, i.e. a mechanical process is performed. SSDs, on the other hand, use a so-called flash memory technology, in which the data is stored on chips. With this technology, there are no moving parts and therefore no mechanical work, which significantly reduces the access time to the data. The price difference between the two disks is due to the fact that the production of magnetic disks is much cheaper than the production of flash chips.

HDDs use magnetic disks to read and write data.

But what will happen in the coming years? This is a matter for long and broad discussion. The fact is that HDDs will most likely become obsolete in the near future because their technology is completely outdated and can no longer keep up with the advantages of SSD storage. SSDs have long since reached the mass market, which is only underlined by the constant drop in prices. How low the prices can ultimately drop depends on many factors and is difficult to predict.

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Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Berlin.

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