|WD VelociRaptor 300GB SATA HDD WD3000HLFS|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 28 July 2009|
Page 13 of 14
Storage Media Final Thoughts
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. Of course, everything changes in time, and an economic recession actually helped DDR3 make its way mainstream. Faced with a similar situation, Solid State Drive technology has suffered the same difficult transition towards widespread use and it's a matter of time before the SSD replaces Hard Disk Drive technology completely. Like most electronics, it wasn't a question of how much of a technology improvement was evident, it was price.
There's no argument that HDDs still capture the capacity-hungry market segment; especially since SSDs cannot compete there. But the premium high-performance desktop storage market is losing patience with Hard Disk Drive technology, and as a result consumers are turning to Solid State Drive technology in large numbers. It's no surprise then that the industries premier names in high-performance HDD technology have also invested in SSD solutions. As of August 2009, the Western Digital SiliconDrive III SSD has been launched, but retail enthusiasm has been very mild. While Western Digital Solid State Storage (official name of SSD division) may have a leg up on Seagate in regard to SSD options, the SiliconDrive series is hardly a threat to more familiar SSD marketshare leaders like Samsung, Mtron, Intel, and OCZ.
Back in May of 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 (v1) OCZ Core Series SSD I touted in my review was prone to long-term data corruption and occasional delay stuttering. 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 second version (v2) of the CORE series, and even though most problems were ironed out with firmware updates, a lingering fear of product reliability associated with Solid State Drives remained.
Once again, 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 bandwidth speeds range from abysmal to phenomenal and everywhere in-between, but the prices don't seem to correspond to performance. SSD's are filling store shelves, and several Solid State Drive models now sell for as low as $2.07 per gigabyte, which is getting dangerously close to Western Digital's VelociRaptor at $0.76 per gigabyte of storage.