The state of the art in solid state drives

Billy Tallis for AnandTech:

The big price drops for flash memory in 2018 were the result of the 64-layer 3D NAND generation working out well for most of the major manufacturers, leading to a very competitive market. The downward price trend proved unsustainable for 2019, and rather than deepen the oversupply situation most manufacturers chose to be slow about ramping up their 96-layer generation: Intel, Micron, SK Hynix. That meant that many product launches this year were still using 64L NAND and those won’t be reaching EOL until 2020 (or later, for some slower-moving enterprise models)…

The biggest technological advance to hit the SSD market this year was the arrival of PCIe 4.0, though its impact has been limited. Intel’s CPUs and chipsets do not yet support PCIe 4.0, so demand for NVMe SSDs using PCIe 4.0 is still quite low in both consumer and enterprise markets…

PC OEMs have finally decided they are ready to mostly ditch hard drives and with them, the SATA interface. The market for SATA SSDs won’t go away quickly, but NVMe SSDs are taking over as the standard for primary storage in PCs (and next year, consoles too). This has helped create large demand for entry-level NVMe controllers that feature fewer channels or no DRAM caches, though in the retail SSD market high-end controllers still dominate.

Since the mass adoption of NVMe comes at the same time as the PCIe 4.0 transition is starting, this has some interesting effects on product roadmaps

MacDailyNews Take: Back in September, we somehow purchased a 2TB external NVMe SSD — Sabrent Rocket Pro 2TB NVMe USB 3.1 External Aluminum SSD (SB-2TB-NVME) — for $259.99 from Amazon. Today it costs over $600! We don’t know how we got that price, but we’ll take it!


  1. I too purchased a Sabrent Rocket 1TB SSD and put it in a $42 USB 3.0 enclosure and connected it to my iMac. I’m very happy with the product. Works great and fast.

    My next purchase will be this:

    I’ll pull the M.2 stick out of the USB enclosure and put it in the Thunderbolt and connect it to my iMac. Then, it should quadruple the speed. 🙂

    When I buy a new iMac, I’ll move the express4m2 to the new machine and save a lot on Apple’s ssd prices.

  2. Apple’s SSD is using NVMe in their laptops (and maybe other MACs). My MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) uses it so as usual Apple is well ahead of the curve as far as SSD is concerned. Hopefully the pricing on NVMe SSD will drop to make it more affordable to have decent storage capacity.

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