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Flash-based drives may soon be as cheap as the spinning kind

SSD prices are dropping so quickly they may cost close to the same as regular hard drives within a couple of years.

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If you've noticed that solid-state drives (and the PCs that include them) no longer cost an arm and a leg, you're not alone. Researchers at DRAMeXchange understand that the price per gigabyte of an SSD has fallen off a cliff in the past three years, and the trend is only accelerating. If the company's estimates are on the mark, these drives could cost just 11 cents more per gig than conventional hard drives by 2017. At that rate, you might not have to choose between high capacity and breakneck speed when you're on a budget -- you could easily afford both.

While this isn't a surefire prediction, there are reasons to believe that it'll come true. There are already plenty of affordable PCs that ship with SSDs, and the prices are likely to go down thanks to both economies of scale and fierce competition. And of course, technological breakthroughs are increasing the amount of flash storage you get for your dollar. Regular hard disks aren't likely to kick the bucket for a while (not when there are already experimental 16TB models), but they may soon become the minority.

[Image credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

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