Flash Memory Prices Are Rising In 2009 – Up To 25% Since April 2009. Danger Of Grade C and D Being Used In False Capacity MP Players, USB Flash Drives And Memory Cards.
Posted by techchips on September 17, 2009
The price of flash memory chips continues to increase since April 2009, as much as 25%. A recent article published by Digitimes on 14 September 2009: Apple demand causing serious NAND flash shortage in Taiwan explains some of the reasons why.
Few consumers have any idea about the cost of the flash memory chips used in their mp players, usb flash drives and memory cards. Many fall prey to fraudulent sellers, who sell them items with false capacity – flash memory chips that have been digitally altered to report a size much larger than they really are. You usually find these items for sale on eBay. Usb flash drives advertised as 16GB are sold for as little as $15 US. 32GB memory cards are frequently won for $25 and under. MP Players advertised to be 8GB or 16GB often sell in the $15 and $30 US range.
What are the new costs of flash memory chips?
digitimes’s reported the following prices:
The average spot price of 16Gb multi-level cell (MLC) chips rose 0.85% to close at US$5.17 on September 11, and the 32Gb part was up 0.5% to US$7.13, according to DRAMeXchange. In the contract market, average pricing for 16Gb chips climbed 7.2% to US$4.48 in the first half of September, and 32Gb went up 4.3% to US$6.80.
Bit’s and Bytes Math
Memory manufacturers do not refer to memory chips in GB – Gigabytes, they use Gigabits. This confuses a lot of people. Is there a difference? Yes.
It takes 8 bits to make a byte. Therefore in consumer terms you must divide any size reported in Gb, by 8 – this will give you the size consumers are familiar with – GB.
What does this mean for prices?
16Gb multi-level cell (MLC) / 8 = 2GB chip. A 2GB chip costs $5.17
32Gb multi-level cell (MLC) / 8 = 4GB chip. A 4GB chip costs $7.13
spot prices on average are a little lower for “contracts”
16Gb multi-level cell (MLC) / 8 = 2GB chip. A 2GB chip costs $4.48
32Gb multi-level cell (MLC) / 8 = 4GB chip. A 4GB chip costs $6.80
Previously reported at FlashDriveFacts: What Are The Real Costs For Flash Chips In China? Guide 2009
1GB = 3.38
2GB = 4.11
4GB = 6.61
8GB = 13.23
16GB = 29.41
2GB rose about 25% since April, 2009: from $4.11 to $5.17 US
4GB rose about 8% since April, 2009:$6.61 to $7.13 US
The April pricing reflected increasing costs, the prices much higher than 2008 for the same capacity.
Consumers need to be more aware of the costs of flash memory. Otherwise they could easily find themselves with a usb flash drive, memory card or mp player unsafe to use.
On eBay almost every “fake” for mp players, usb flash drives or memory cards, tends to have a real capacity of 2GB or even less. Sometime the capacity will be as high as 4GB. Much depends on the final bid price. It is rare to see anything with an 8GB flash memory chip. This size is rarely seen anymore, not unless the bid price was very high. Not one buyer ever reported a final capacity higher than 8GB, during the last 20 months of SOSFakeFlash’s operation.
According to SOSFakeFlash the actual size of the chip appears to be closely related to the bid prices the items commanded on eBay. KittyFireFlash in reviewing data and buying habits with InspectorTech remarked:
It almost seems as if a fake flash seller has different shelves for the items sold, labeled by the bid price paid for the same items. The more paid, the larger the fake’s actual capacity…
Is this possible. The TechChips team have also reviewed the data. Their observations are extremely accurate for MP Players at least. In reviewing the prices above, it is easy to see why.
Unfortunately for buyers, as the chips have been digitally reprogrammed to report a higher size, files and data will be lost, the moment the true capacity of the chips have been exceeded.
If flash memory prices continue to rise, will the actual chip size used in fakes decrease?
It depends. The smaller the chip, the sooner the consumer will discover the truth. For fake flash sellers on eBay the objective is to sell as many as possible BEFORE being discovered. Once buyers find out and leave negative feedback, a suspension will soon follow. We suspect they will continue to offer at least 2GB, but the chips will have more defects. The market for recycling defective chips has always been there.
Flash memory chips that should have been destroyed will continue be in high demand and as prices rise, the demand will grow even more.
Repairing fakes, attempting to restore memory cards, usb flash drives and mp players to their real size is challenging. SOSFakeFlash’s articles:
and InspectorTech’s http://fixfakeflash.wordpress.com/ are consulted by victims of fake memory.
If even more substandard flash memory chips find their way into MP Players, memory cards and usb flash drives, the question becomes – should victims attempt to repair them?
Is it worth the effort and struggle? If the chips are extremely poor, much depends on how good the low level reformatting tools are in locking out the bad sectors. A flash chip that is actually 2GB capacity can shrink to 1.7GB or 1.4GB and even less then 1GB.
A repaired memory chip (restored capacity) can never fully be trusted. They should never be used to archive information. They should always be verified again – Read SOSFakeFlash’s H2testw 1.4 – Gold Standard In Detecting USB Counterfeit Drives after repair.
The recent flash chip memory price increases worries the FrankenFlash Project. It means that current prices for genuine usb flash drives, memory cards and mp players will not go down and could potentially rise even higher in retail price. This could easily fuel the fake flash memory market, especially on eBay as consumers hunt for bargains that do not exist.
The prices released by digitimes support the warnings issued at the various sites in the project.
The problem remains, how to warn consumers and educate them on memory flash chip prices so they will avoid purchasing a fake?