Are SSDs All That and A Bag of Chips?


Solid state drives (SSDs) are usually considered to be more power efficient, faster, and in some respects more reliable than hard disk drives and they command a hefty premium over other drives. Dell's offering of a 128GB solid-state drive as an option on its Latitude, XPS, Alienware, and Precision laptop models for $649 is a steep drop price drop since many SSDs with half of that capacity still sell for more than $700.  Is it really worth it? The IDC released a report that claims the performance gap between SSDs and lower-cost high-performance hard disk drives is not that significant at the system level. quotes David Reinsel, one of the authors of the report, "Many tests have been done comparing 4,200 rpm hard drives to SSDs, but 5,400 rpm is now mainstream and even 7,200 rpm disks are available." He adds that the gap between performance in systems with 7,200 rpm 2.5-inch drives and systems with SSDs was much smaller than expected, mainly because of the performance of the system as a whole rather than just the storage device. Reinsel goes on to say, "There will be what's called a 'period of interdependency' with this technology. It isn't just plug and play." He suggests that system redesigns will be necessary in PCs and enterprise systems to gain the full benefit from flash.

If you are the ultra curious type and have ten grand to blow you can grab the report here . My credit card just laughed at me for trying.

Even though SSDs have dropped in price, they still are not a good performance item for the price point.  A Fujitsu 120GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb OEM notebook drive is going for $99, versus a $640 SSD with the same capacity. The price savings can buy you a lot of other goodies. We will have to wait for systems to be updated to take advantage of SSD drives and of course in the mean time, the price will continue to go down. When will it be the right price point versus performance for you to make the switch?

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