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Kingston predicts SSD will be $1 per GB in 2011

KitGuru has seen an interview with a Western Digital VP who claimed that the SSD would never seriously impact the sale of hard drives because the cost was so high. The world has spun through space several times since then and now SSD is very affordable. KitGuru puts Steve Hall, Kingston’s Product Development Manager for EMEA onto the hot seat and cranks the lights to maximum. He’ll crack. We’re sure. And our devilish instruments will be there to capture any useful information he leaks.

We started with the price cuts that are likely with SSD, Hall replied “While products are performing faster and faster, there is a real downward trend on price. Since Solid State Drives were first introduced to the market, we’ve seen a 50% price reduction year on year”.

Steve Hall is predicting a global take over for SSD

In most economics lessons, they will tell you that there is a relationship between price and the number of units shipper. Hall confirmed this for KitGuru, “In 2009, SSD accounted for less than 2% of Kingston’s revenues. In 2010 it’s going to be around 10% of our revenues”.

OK, so the price went down and demand went up, but how much more SSD product is Kingston shipping? Hall told us “It’s been amazing. From the start, Kingston has been seeing an increase in SSD shipments of around 300% quarter on quarter”.

These 128GB drives will be all the rage in 2011

While KitGuru Labs regularly play with 256GB and 512GB SSD products, our casual testing has revealed that you can get a decent system up and running with a 64GB drive. We put this to Hall, “Well price is a big issue here. Smaller drives can definitely serve a useful purpose, but when Kingston’s 128GB drives drop to just over £100 by the end of 2010, then we believe there will be strong interest, from experts and casual users alike, to move across to SSD”. So Kingston is predicting a movement in sweet spot to 128GB. Sounds logical to KitGuru.

We asked Hall why Kingston was such a popular choice, he replied “In the 20 years that Kingston has been helping to drive the memory market forward, we have always been seen as a performance-upgrade. The kind of memory product customers choose when they want a boost. SSD plays perfectly into that expectation. Boot from a Kingston SSD and your world is definitely a better place. Better, faster and a lot more responsive”.

“We’re seeing a tipping point being reached with SSD pricing and availability. Soon enough, it will be unusual for a system to boot from an old hard drive. Memory is so much better”.

For mere mortals, it’s hard to get a handle on just how big Kingston is, as a company. Here’s some food for thought: In terms of overall revenue, Kingston’s quarters are comparable with those of chip giant AMD. Overall AMD is bigger, but some of their quarterly results are really similar. While AMD is selling a wide range of products, from CPUs and graphics chips to mainboard chipsets, Kingston’s revenue centres on memory.  In a word, it’s big.

Hall explained the company’s drive, “Our goal is simple. We want to grow our SSD business faster than the market itself is growing, thereby capturing market share and enhancing our position as THE provider of cost effective system upgrades for the corporate and consumer customer”.

We all know that, with SSD, memory is just part of the equation. Hall unveiled his company’s multi-point strategy, “Kingston will continue to invest in matching the best controllers with the best NAND memory to create faster and more efficient drives. Alongside straight capacity increases, we are also likely to see additional form factors and features appearing such as 1.8” drives and encrypted drives”.

DataTraveler: It's data that travels with you. See?

We also asked him about Kingston’s plans for USB3.

Hall said, “With capacities now moving beyond 32GB, transferring data to and from devices like digital cameras can be a tedious experience with USB2. Products like Kingston’s DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 are aimed at early adopters who already have, or plan to, purchase a PC with a USB 3.0 interface”.

“Initially this market will be confined to gamers, IT enthusiasts and those storing and sharing large amounts of music, games, videos and pictures”, said Hall. “It’s going to be most beneficial with HD video, large scale system back-ups and for moving files to be used with Adobe applications and AutoCAD”, he explained.

Before we said goodbye to Kingston’s Steve Hall, we asked him about future products, “In response to high demand for 1600MHz DDR3, we will be launching a limited edition black heat-spreader. We are also pushing more into the extreme enthusiast space with Kingston HyperX H20. These are water cooled modules that provide turbo charged performance at 2,000MHz and 2,133MHz”. Interestingly, when we asked about warranty, Hall replied “Like all HyperX modules, these are guaranteed for life. We’re that confident in the quality of our designs and components”.

Hall paused, considering exactly how much to reveal, then said “Expect new USB security products so too!”

KitGuru says: Thanks to Steve Hall of Kingston Technologies for taking the time to give us this exclusive insight into the future plans of the world’s biggest memory company.

Comment below or post in the KitGuru forums.

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  • Tim

    Interesting indeed. if this happens, mechanical drives will get hit hard. more than they are already.

  • Steve

    I think mechanical drives are having a hard time already, didnt seagate close shop recently?

  • Phil

    This will definitely cut into the laptop hard drive market but I still think the Desktop hard drive market will be safe for the most part. I for one can’t wait til it hits a dollar/gb, then i’ll finally have one running my OS, the price is the only reason why I am waiting, and it will have to be atleast 128gb if not the 256gb.
    Steve: Seagate hasn’t closed up yet, they’re contemplating being bought out again by Texas Pacific Group and going private again (happened in 2000).

    Also WD is holding their ground in their mechanical drives, and just just came out with their newest 2.5TB and 3TB drives, which is great because storage will be the only thing keeping the mechanical drives afloat for the next few years, until memristors (via hynix/hp) become viable and commercialized, probably not until atleast 2015 at the earliest though. But one thing is for sure I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for memory 🙂

  • PrinceHarry

    Has he just completely SHat on sales of SSD’s till they DO reach 1/1 ? I thought there would be a goodly drop around now .. its interesting to see that the industry is going along those lines. Early SSD’s will be worthless, small and slow (slower than the new stuff). Watch for Bargains as Etailers unload stock.

  • Gaz

    If one has the Development Manager in the hot seat, whilst talk of price and capacity is all very well, I’d have expected more discussion regarding reliability, min number of write cycles, etc. If the company expects folk like myself to change from a traditional hard drive to SSD for my C: drive it would need to convince me that it can cope with all the temporary files and the virtual memory, etc. without me tearing out what’s left of my hair a few months later.