Outlook: Is now the right time to invest in an SSD?

By Louis Ramirez on September 2, 2011, 7:55 AM

You might think fitting your laptop with a solid state drive (SSD) is a luxury, but the truth is — it's not. According to dealnews data, prices on 64GB SSD drives are steadily falling, and 128GB models, while more turbulent in price, have also fallen by as much as 38% since August 2010. Depending on your needs, this could mean that SSDs are now ripe for the picking.

Laptops are ideal candidates for SSDs. Not only are the drives shock-resistant and use less power (both great traits to have in a laptop), but SSDs also provide faster boot-up times, cooler operating temperatures, and and an overall snappier computing experience than conventional hard drives. And with no moving parts, sleep recovery and system responsiveness are also greatly improved.

While older benchmarks on first-gen SSD drives didn't draw a clear winner in the battle between HDDs and SSDs, today that's no longer the case. Windows 7 has built-in SSD support (TRIM), which ensures that write operations perform at full speed on the longer run. Apple has also enabled TRIM command support in its latest OS, although it's currently limited to Apple-branded SSDs.

The chart above lists data on 64GB and 128GB SSDs. 64GB SSDs hit their all-time low this August ($50 via Amazon, deal now expired). And their steady decline leads us to believe these models will get even cheaper, especially as Black Friday approaches. Currently, the least expensive option is the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 64GB ($105); it hit $50 last month, so consider keeping an eye on this model.

128GB SSDs have dropped considerably also, but unlike the 64GB models which have dropped consistently, 128GB SSDs have fluctuated with a few spikes throughout the past 12 months. These models hit their all-time low in February when the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB was available for $150 (now $188, plus an additional rebate available). Furthermore, 256GB SSDs' low point (not shown in chart above) have plummeted from $410 in May 2011 to $300 this August.

If the thought of a laptop with a 64GB SSD doesn't sound too paltry for your needs, as we approach the holiday shopping season the magic price to look for is $50 or less ($0.78/GB). For 128GB models, look for deals at $120 or less ($0.93/GB). Regardless of the capacity you choose, the vendors with the most aggressive pricing have been Amazon, newegg, and Buy.com.

This guest post was contributed by Louis Ramirez, dealnews senior feature writer. An avid gadget lover, Louis has covered technology for Gizmodo, CNET, Laptop, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @LouisRamirez.

* This data is based on deals listed on dealnews.com, which represent low points, not averages. Shipping prices (where applicable) were factored into the pricing in the data.

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