Solid state drives offer a number of benefits over their traditional counterparts – they’re faster, lighter, silent, generate less heat, are more energy efficient and are more robust – but the one knock against them has been price. Mechanical drives have always been cheaper to own and while that will remain true for a little while longer, SSDs are rapidly becoming much more affordable.

In 2012, SSDs sold for an average of $0.99 per gigabyte. Since that time, the price per gigabyte has plummeted to $0.39 and is showing no signs of slowing down. Research firm DRAMeXchange expects SSD prices to slide to $0.24 per gigabyte by next year and just $0.17 come 2017.

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At that rate, a 1TB SSD would set you back just $170.

The cost to own a spinning hard drives, meanwhile, has very little room to improve. In 2012, hard drives sold for $0.09 per gigabyte on average. Today, you can get them for just $0.06 per gigabyte – a figure forecasted to remain flat through 2017.

The forward-looking figures presented by DRAMeXchange are just that – estimates of what the market is likely to do. As such, they don’t take into account risk (remember the floods in Thailand in late 2011 that sent hard drive prices through the roof?) and other factors such as hard drive capacities increasing on the top-end.

Either way, as an advocate of SSDs since mid-2009 (and someone who just purchased another SSD a couple of days ago to replace a dying drive), it’s certainly good news to see prices continue to drop.