Intel SSD 320Solid State Drives (SSD) have been around for a few years now, but the cost to the consumer has made them fairly prohibitive for them to gain widespread acceptance. With the most notable exception being the MacBook Air line from Apple, which wouldn’t work in its form factor without solid state memory, the technology has remained only as an option on most computers, albeit an expensive one.  With the latest update to the Intel line of drives, hopefully that is about to change.

The update to the Intel  SSDs  not only dropped the prices, but it also increased the capacity and sped up the data writing process.  While the technical aspects of the update are important, the point that consumers will naturally latch onto is the lower prices which work out to about a 30 percent decrease from the second generation.  The new prices for buying a quantity of 1,ooo from Intel are:

  • 40GB for $89
  • 80GB for $159
  • 120GB for $209
  • 160GB for $289
  • 300GB for $529
  • 600GB for $1,069

While these aren’t the retail prices you’ll be paying at the store, you should still see a significant drop at checkout.  As The Tech Report points out, the first 80GB SSD from Intel debuted two-and-a-half years ago for $595, and by current estimates the new model will retail for about 73 percent less than that.  The drives are  still not in the range of traditional platter-based hard disk drives (HDD), which saw prices in the range of $89 for 2 TBs this past holiday season, the SSDs are definitely getting into the more affordable range.

The advantages of this technology over the HDDs of the  past are numerous: The amount of heat produced is reduced to no moving parts, systems boot up faster and there is little to no chance of the drives getting damaged from drops and falls as there is no physical parts to slam into one another.  While desktops will benefit from the first two improvements, laptops really see the biggest bonus from SSDs due to the very nature of their mobile use.  Drop a laptop with a traditional HHD while it’s on, even from a short height, and you could see a ding appear on your platters that would make the drive unusable, but with an SSD there aren’t the worries.  And there is also the issue of far less heat in such a confined space.

While SSDs are certainly not everyone’s budget as of yet, it definitely looks like we’re on our way.

What do you think?  Have you gotten to try an SSD yet?  Are they worth the extra cost?