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Startup Puts AI Core in SSDs

By Rick Merritt, EE | Times

“There are so many players chasing this space,” said Gregory Wong, principal analyst of Forward Insights, who tracks the top dozen of perhaps 40 controller makers, many of them in China.

They serve a market of 215 million client and 30 million server SSDs that shipped last year. The client controllers sell for as little as $2, with server chip prices extending to about $15, Wong estimated.

More than half the market is served by drives from NAND vendors using their own chips and controllers. “It’s a tough market,” said Wong, noting that the merchant players aim to emulate Sandforce, a startup acquired in 2011 by the former LSI.

Wong of Forward Insights said that channel prices for NAND flash are already rising. He predicted that OEM prices will bottom out by the end of the year.

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