Final ThoughtsHow Much Storage is Enough?
The one obvious deficit that SSDs have compared to traditional HDDs is storage capacity and the associated cost per GB. While you can get a 1TB hard drive for under $100 you will be hard pressed to find a high quality 250GB SSD for under $700 – that is a significant jump. With the recent announcement of the first 512GB SSD from SuperTalent, we know that higher capacity drives are coming sooner rather than later, but how does that help with you today?
It wasn’t too long ago that Western Digital first introduced the Raptor line of hard drives; first as a 36GB drive then 74GB, 150GB and now even 300GB VelociRaptors are available. The idea with this high performance 10,000 RPM specialty was that PC enthusiasts would pay extra to get the speed of the Raptor line of drives and be willing to sacrifice capacity for it. I thnk the same argument can be made for SSDs today – getting a 120GB solid state drive and a separate spindle-based solution for mass storage seems to be the way to go for desktop users. For around $300 you can get a solid SSD, including this Corsair 128GB model we are writing about today. No, its not the cheapest route to take, but for performance junkies it could be worth it.
The other side of the coin is for mobile users: how much storage is enough? I use a desktop as my primary PC so I keep most of my music, videos, games, etc on it but have a pair of notebooks I use on a regular basis: a Lenovo ThinkPad X200 and a MacBook Pro. On both of those, even the 80GB of storage that an Intel X25-M provides at $375 or so is enough – both systems are only using something around 25GB of storage even after a solid 6 months of usage and installations. If you are a frequent user of a mobile computer, look at your hard drive and see for yourself: would a 128GB SSD be more than enough storage for your needs? If so then maybe the performance advantages noted in this article would make the $300 investment worth the loss in capacity for you.
Pricing and Availability
As of this writing, the Corsair 128GB SSD sells for about $325 at online retailers like Newegg and Tiger Direct. Looking at other 128GB SSDs, they range in prices from $229 to $384 – though of course performance is in question for anything but what we have actually tested here at PC Perspective. That actually puts the Corsair offering in mid-range for this capacity of SSD.
For comparison, the Intel X25-M 80GB SSD comes in at $365 while the OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD will run you $345. That puts the price per GB on the Intel drive at $4.56/GB, on the Vertex drive it is $2.87/GB and the on the Corsair 128GB drive at $2.55/GB.
There are a lot of things to think about when upgrading to a solid state drive and whether or not now is the time to make the move for you. As you can see in our article today, there are some aspects of SSD performance that are hard to show with traditional benchmarks – things like HDTach and PCMark Vantage can only really tell you part of the story. And, as with most other types of PC components, another reason uesrs may be holding off on the purchase is that there are so MANY options available with such varying price points. You can get a 120-128GB drive for as low as $229 or as high as $384 or even get an Intel 80GB SSD for $365 – price gaps like this create confusion. In my view, for a notebook user that is not worried about file copying typical of sustained reads and writes, then any drive using the current generation of Samsung controller or an internal RAID array of JMicron controllers (just single JMicron controller based drives) will fit the bill. The Corsair 128GB SSD finds itself squarely in this group of viable options and if you think an SSD upgrade is in the works for your notebook, definitely give it a look.
Buy the Corsair 128GB SSD: