Are Signs of Stability in the NAND Flash Market Premature?

SST Flash Market Update

  • 3D NAND transition still driving shortages of some SSD
  • Fall may bring increased demand for TLC and MLC NAND for mobile applications
  • Price Increases could continue through 2017
  • SST NightHawk™ has completed the transition to 3D NAND flash

As the NAND Flash shortage continued through the first quarter of 2017 some industry analysts were looking to the second half of the year for the market to show any signs of stability. The transition to 3D NAND, being the main driver of the shortage, was going to start to ramp up and prices and availability would start to improve. But now, as we get close to the start of the second half, there are still big SSD vendors who haven’t completed the change-over and likely won’t until late summer.

Other analysts warned of the additional factors that lead to the shortage, and that if the transition to 3D NAND doesn’t happen by mid-year, regular price increases could last through 2017. With mobile demand being the variable that often hits in the third quarter, we at SST believe that there is still enough uncertainty in the market that we can’t say the storm is over quite yet.

“The overall production capacity for 2D-NAND has fallen during the industry-wide migration to 3D-NAND manufacturing. As the market has yet to regain its balance following this disruption, contract prices of NAND Flash chips will keep going up.” – DRAMeXchange

Even with lower sales volume worldwide, chip makers have seen only a .4% drop in overall revenue. This is due to the steady price increases we have seen over the past several months. We may see some price dips as vendors begin to clear out their 2D NAND inventories, but overall, this shortage is bound to continue at least for the next few months.

Why the transition to 3D NAND?

  • Better performance: 3D NAND architecture virtually eliminates cell-to-cell interference.
  • Better endurance: 3D NAND is more resistant to wear.
  • Better efficiency: 3D NAND reduces power consumption through reduction of the number of programming steps.

SST has completed our transition to 3D NAND for our TAA Compliant line of NightHawk SATA SSD. We continue to work hard to provide the pricing and availability that can get resellers through the storm.

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