|G.Skill FM-25S2S-64GB SATA-II MLC SSD|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 15 December 2008|
Page 10 of 11
SSD Final Thoughts
EDITORS NOTE: Please read Solid State Drive (SSD) Benchmark Performance Testing to understand how the benchmarks used in this article should be interpreted.
New technology always has one major hurdle to face: the consumer. I have long maintained my opinion that DDR3 system memory is every bit an excellent replacement to the aging DDR2 standard, but the argument of high price and limited adoption by manufacturers has hushed my position. Faced with a similar situation, Solid State Drive technology has suffered the same difficult transition towards widespread use. Like most electronics, it wasn't a question of how much of a technology improvement was evident, it was price.
Then at some point, a certain well-respected hardware website published an article that claimed SSDs didn't consume less power after all. Although this report was later recanted on account of testing errors, the foundation was shaken for consumers and led me to wonder what kind of impact my news of higher heat output will cause the adoption process? After all, I like these products, and completely endorse the technology. But the bad publicity, even when it's disproven, still has a lasting effect thanks to the angst a premium price tag creates.
So back in May (2008) when I reviewed the OCZ SATA-II 32GB SSD it seemed like $17 per gigabyte was a relatively good price for SSDs at the time. Consider for a moment that before then, SSD's such the elite-level 32 GB MemoRight GT cost on the level of $33 per gigabyte. Even products like the entry-level 32 GB Mtron MOBI 3000 were still selling for $14 per gigabyte, making the price of admission seem quite high for even the lower-level SKU's. So when OCZ announced a 64GB SSD that would sell for under $259 in July of 2008, I really wasn't sure if the news was believable. It didn't take long to realize these claims were all true, because shortly thereafter NewEgg began listing these SSDs exactly as predicted. This event in itself should have probably started the long-awaited dawn of widespread consumer acceptance for SSD products... but there was a problem.
As it turned out, the first generation OCZ Core Series SSD I touted in my review was prone to data corruption. Making matters worse was that the mail-in rebate nullified consumer ability to return the defective product for a refund. Nothing hurts progress more than an angry customer, and this incident created plenty. Later on, OCZ would issue a version 2 of the CORE series, and even though NewEgg offered this SSD for $199 ($169 after rebate), there will always be the fear of product reliability associated with Solid State Drives.
Of course, everything tends to change over time, and Solid State Drive sale prices are much different now. When it comes to computer hardware, generally speaking the newer, faster, and better performing products traditionally cost more than their older predecessors... but this is not the case with SSD's. I recognize that SSD speeds range from abysmal to phenomenal and everywhere in-between, but the prices don't seem to correspond to performance. With the Holiday's right around the corner and SSD's filling store shelves, it could be a fluke occurrence that SSD's now sell for as little as $2.17 per gigabyte, which is getting dangerously close to Western Digital's VelociRaptor at $1.13 per gigabyte of storage.
So why are some Solid State Drives so affordable while others sell at 2-7x the cost? That's a very good question that only a particular group of manufacturers can answer. DRAM Prices have dropped beyond anyone's expectations, which has certainly helped, which should give consumers an advantage heading into 2009.
The last bit of good news comes from Samsung, who is planning to launch 64 GB DRAM IC chips based on a 30 nm fabrication process sometime in 2009. I see this as writing on the wall: get competitive or get out of the business. Samsungs MLC IC's already created the foundation for vastly more affordable SSD products, and now they're about to only get better... especially with the price of DRAW in decline.