To get the latest and most advanced solid state drives you'll have to pay a hefty price premium, and like it or not, your flashy new SSD could become obsolete in a matter of months. But that's the early adopter's tale, be it graphics cards, processors or memory upgrades. A mere six months ago you would have paid double for some DDR3 sticks than today.
Likewise, solid state drives are moving rapidly, having already received an initial wave of price cuts and a revision that make them less prone to long-term slowdowns. From desktops to laptops, it’s now safe to say that as long as you are willing to pay for it, buying a SSD is one of the most worthwhile upgrades a modern system can have.
Unlike traditional hard drives where we had no more than five or six manufacturers to choose from, there's a myriad of memory manufacturers offering solid state drives today. Enthusiast hardware manufacturer OCZ appears to be at the forefront of SSD technology, adopting virtually every SSD controller that becomes available to market.
Their range of SSDs is extensive (OCZ Core, Solid, Agility, Apex, Vertex, Vertex EX and Summit) with the majority of these based on MLC technology, except the Vertex EX which uses SLC and thus is hideously expensive.
The cheapest SSD you can have from OCZ belongs to the Solid series, priced at $270 for 120GB, followed by the new Agility series at $330 for a drive of the same size. The Vertex series is likely the most well known as it delivers amazing performance at $380 for the 120GB version.
Not too long ago now we completed our Solid State Drive round-up where we compared four popular SSD drives, including the OCZ Vertex and the almighty Intel X25-M. The Vertex did surprisingly well against the Intel drive and as a result it received our “Outstanding” award along with the X25-M.
That was only two months ago, and now OCZ has brought a new contender in the form of the OCZ Summit which currently retails for $350 for 120GB. Although this sounds like a lot of money to spend on a small capacity hard drive, keep in mind that the 80GB Intel X25-M will set you back $320, while the 160GB version will take you up to the $600+ range.
New on the OCZ Summit is a new Samsung (S3C29RBB01-YK40) controller with a larger 128MB cache. The Vertex instead used the Indilinx Barefoot controller with a smaller 64MB cache. As you may have learned from our previous SSD round-up, it's the controller efficiency that can make or break a solid state drive's performance, so it will be interesting to see how this new arrival changes our outlook on today's best solid state drives.