We've been writing about SSDs for as long as there's been buzz about them, which is a while now. But it looks like Intel's SSD 520 family of drives will ratchet up the lure of solid state another notch.
With capacities from 60GB to 480GB, the Intel drives use the Sandforce SF-2281controller, as do drives from Kingston and OCZ. The difference with the 520 is that it has been through Intel's notoriously torturous validation process, which has resulted in firmware changes that just aren't available to the competitors at the moment.
Intel is claiming transfer speeds of more than 500MB/sec for the 520 series, speeds which the mechanical drives in consumer PCs can't match. Though as we've explained in the past, even cheaper SSDs will outrun mechanical hard disks.
Better reliability is a good thing - you can find reports of some SSD users encountering BSODs, often with other models that use the same SF2281 controller as this. What hasn't changed is the price. Intel's press release puts the SSD 520 Series at (for orders of 1,000):
60GB - $149
120GB - $229
180GB - $369
240GB - $509
480GB - $999
We're yet to see street pricing, but as you'd expect, you'll be paying premium for performance. At these prices, if you are waiting for SSDs to become mainstream on desktops, you might be waiting a while.
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