We've been over the insanity of the computer memory market once or twice. The likes of Micron (NYSE:MU), SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK), and Spansion (NASDAQ:SPSN) are pushing tons of excess chips into a market that doesn't really want them, and selling prices are plummeting to unsustainable levels. But believe it or not, there are still ways to make money on solid-state drives (SSDs) and flash memory cards -- as long as you're not investing in the actual memory mavens directly.

Meet Silicon Motion (NASDAQ:SIMO), a Taiwanese chip maker that focuses on the controller chips that make flash cards and SSDs go. The competition between memory chip makers is intense, with lots of suppliers chasing the same top customers. But the controller market is an entirely different beast, where Samsung is the only real giant and tiny Silicon Motion is one of the biggest names in the business. The main threat to Silicon Motion actually comes from chipmakers' deciding to build flash-memory controllers directly into their chips, as Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) has. So far, this hasn't occurred, thanks to Silicon Motion's competitive pricing.

In the third quarter of 2009, Silicon Motion saw sales drop 38% year-over-year to $32.3 million, while normalized earnings decreased by 59% to $0.11 per depositary share. But the key here is that Silicon Motion is staying cash-flow positive. Unlike the memory makers, who generally can't even produce a gross profit these days, Silicon Motion is managing to stick close to the black.

And despite the grim operating environment, Silicon Motion stands poised to reap the rewards of a couple of technological paradigm changes that are happening amid all this financial chaos. It is a leader in solid-state drive technology, and the fact that even Samsung is buying its chips for use in new consumer products is proof of that solid market position.

Over the next three or four years, I expect that the combination of ever-falling memory prices and a widening performance chasm between SSDs and traditional magnetic platters will render the old hard disks obsolete. When former disk giants like Seagate (NYSE:STX) and Western Digital (NYSE:WDC) either die or convert to SSD products of their own, Silicon Motion could profit handsomely from exploding demand for its leading-edge controllers.

So if you want to make money in the memory market, you can forget about the memory chips themselves. There's a lot of consolidation and misery left there. Have a look at five-star CAPS stock Silicon Motion instead.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.