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.

User Comments: 22

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fraggleki said:

I have a older Intel x25m ssd and it's not the newest thing on the market but it sure is fast. When Windows 7 boots, The welcome screen is so fast, if you blink you'll miss it. So if you have the money you should get one but it's not a must have.

jetkami said:

I KNOW they have the technology to produce 700 mb SSD drives available now. When they offer those for under $100, I will buy one. Thats how far off my plans on buying a SSD is. My friend has one of the faster SSD drives on the market and "in" a game he has no advantage.

Lionvibez said:

jetkami said:

I KNOW they have the technology to produce 700 mb SSD drives available now. When they offer those for under $100, I will buy one. Thats how far off my plans on buying a SSD is. My friend has one of the faster SSD drives on the market and "in" a game he has no advantage.

Thats because the storage medium isn't the bottleneck in most games, other than level loading, SSD's don't do anything for games. Waiting for a 700GB SSD for under $100 you just sound cheap IMHO.

Guest said:

i'll also get one of those! it'll run perfectly with Win95 booting on it.

treeski treeski said:

jetkami said:

I KNOW they have the technology to produce 700 mb SSD drives available now. When they offer those for under $100, I will buy one. Thats how far off my plans on buying a SSD is. My friend has one of the faster SSD drives on the market and "in" a game he has no advantage.

Of course there's no advantage in game. In game, all files necessary to play (aside from changing levels perhaps) has already been loaded into RAM, so there should be an even playing field, assuming you two have the same specs with regard to RAM/graphics card/processor =P

I would personally love to get an SSD, but I will probably wait until $1 buys you 1GB.

Guest said:

I can only speak for myself, but... yeah! I think it's time to get on the bus now. SSDs are cheaper than ever, at least where I'm from. I bought a Intel 320 Series 120GB SSD a few months back, and I just ordered myself a Kingston HyperX 120GB after reading some reviews about it.

With all the awesome hardware going around these days, a mechanical hard drive isn't good for anything but storage for your tears.

SSD is teh lightnin'!!!

KG363 KG363 said:

It's simply not enough storage, even for a laptop

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think they would be good in a laptop, providing that it is not your primary computer, otherwise they are too small to store everything. But if you just use your laptop for traveling, work, entertainment and very light gaming, an SSD would probably be a good investment.

On a desktop, I've seen improvements in boot time, especially when all the startup items in the system tray load up, almost instant compared to a HD. But, as I've said before, if you put your computer in sleep mode as a means of shutting it off, the improvements in boot time you'll see are very negligible. I noticed that games boot a bit faster with a SSD (with the game not even being on the SSD drive), but it was maybe two seconds on Civ V.

I would suggest that people buy a pretty cheap SSD, 60-90 GB, and play around with it. It can probably be had for under a hundred bucks, and a person can see how much improvement they see in their system. If they are in love with it, and their usage patterns indicate that an SSD would actually increase performance in what they do, then maybe pull the trigger on a higher capacity and more expensive drive in the near future.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

I wanna get one I, but I don't want to reinstall everything...

Guest said:

" Is now the right time to invest in an SSD? "

Jajaja Jajaja :) ... Of course no !!!

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

I'd love to either get an extra SSD, or a new one for laptop.

But I live in Australia. Prices are $100+ for 60GB models.. Not the lovely $50 price point in article. And what makes it more ridiculous, is the exchange rate.

Guest said:

YA that was a one time deal..I don't see any 60GB for under $100. Who cares if a SSD doesn't effect game performance..It isn't suppose to..But while your waiting for your computer to boot up and start gaming I've already fragged 5 people ;)

Guest said:

when 1gb = $1 then i will buy one.

howzz1854 said:

the article made no attempt to address the reliability of current SSD market. true, through the past couple years, reliability has been a steady improvement every year; however, a large majority of the SSD products are stil seeing a high failure rate compare to traditional magnetic drives. i am seeing a large portion of SSD's fail after 1~6 months of usage. the reliability, in my situation, is the only thing that's keeping me away from SSD at this point. sure the price is still expensive, but if the reliability were better, i'd bite the bullet.

supposedly, the second half of 2012 is when the SSD market will be mature enough for a mass adaptation. (now go buy some stocks )

p51d007 said:

When the price of SSD's falls in line with the mechanical ones, I'll get one, but not before. I have a 500gig on my laptop, and a mirrored on in my laptop bag. For the price of those two drives, I couldn't begin to buy an SSD of similar size.

Win7Dev said:

If I was going to put an ssd in a laptop it would need to accommodate two hdd's. I think one of dell's XPS laptops would be the way to go with a nice and fast 64gb ssd for windows and programs. Then another drive for just regular storage stuff.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I might buy one for turning my old mini computer into a net appliance, run server type software, torrent (maybe), and act as a live print server... but I'm talking about like a 32GB, which are not as prohibitively expensive as the larger capacity drives.

As for one of my bigger systems, I'm more or less waiting. I hope manufacturers will realize sooner than later that we don't necessarily need more speed as consumers at the moment. We ~want~ lower prices and we ~need~ better overall reliability. Get those two right, go straight to the bank after mainstreaming to a larger segment of the market, and then redevelop for the enthusiast crowd (or make them by enterprise disks for better performance lol)

sMILEY4ever said:

The least expensive 64GB ssd I can buy(from where I am) is 130$, so no, it's not the right time.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

The Corsair Force 3 120GB SSD is about US$ 276 ( based on current exchange rates ) where I live. The cheaper SSDs available are mostly older model 40 and 80 gig Intel SSDs. As much as I like Corsair products, I just can't fit a SSD into my current PC upgrade budget.

Guest said:

I have had my first 120GB Intel320 for about a month now and in my opinion it is certainly worth the extra $$. I will not have another w/o an SSD. I have a Maingear VYBE and just noticed on their website that none of the VYME models are offered with optional SSD. You have to go for the F-131. Too bad, I imagine that the flack the get will resolve in the reinlistment for SSD on VYBES.

(Hello Chris Morley)!!


Sanibel, FL

Guest said:

Correction "flack that they get from fans"!!



Guest said:

Maybe the next question should be: "How many viewersthat now have SSD hard drive would opt out on their next buy"?

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