Slowly but surely, flash-based solid-state disks (SSDs) are beginning to challenge conventional hard drives as a viable storage medium. The advantages are numerous: They are smaller, significantly faster, less power-hungry and more durable (in the short-term, at least).
Silent running: An introduction to SSDs
On the downside, they can be eye-wateringly expensive at a time when HDD storage is cheaper than ever. Indeed, the price of an average SSD usually works out to around two dollars per gigabyte, compared to ten-to-twenty cents for a normal drive.
Thankfully, it's usually possible to find cheaper prices online that can save you up to hundreds of dollars. Here are some of the better SSD deals we've spotted recently. We've included SATA 3Gbps, SATA 6Gbps and PCI-Express models to ensure there's something for every budget.
Intel 320 160GB
The 320 series marks Intel's first drive to use the 24nm “third-generation” flash. The chip maker's new arrival boasts decent capacity and speed improvements over the X25-M SATA SSD, which the 320 Series has replaced.
Product highlights include 39,500 input/output operations per second and 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard capabilities to prevent data from being accessed if the SSD is stolen or goes missing. (You can read our full review here).
The Intel 320 160GB originally retailed for $539. We've seen it for around $300 - a saving of over two hundred dollars.
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB
The Vertex 3 is OCZ's latest flagship 2.5in SSD. It supports SATA 6Gbps connections, uses Sandforce's new SF-2200 series controller and delivers one of the fastest performances we've seen. (Click here to read our full review
The OCZ Vertex 3 currently carries a recommended retail price of $595. Meanwhile, the cheapest we've seen it online is $439.
Intel SSD 320 300GB
The Intel 320 300GB is the bigger brother to the Intel 320 160GB (see above). It provides solid, if not spectacular results for the asking price (read our review here).
The Intel 320 300GB originally retailed for $800+. You can currently get it for under $600 - at this price, the drive becomes a lot more appealing.
Corsair Force 3 120GB
One of the most recent SSDs on this list, the Corsair Force 3 is a SandForce power SATA 6Gbps model that boasts faster access times (compared to SATA 3Gbps models). It also comes bundled with a 3.5in adapter so you can mount it into a standard hard drive bay. (You can read a bit more about the Corsair Force 3 here.)
Originally costing northwards of $250, the Corsair Force 3 can be snapped up for $199.
OCZ RevoDrive 240GB
The OCZ RevoDrive 240GB is a PCI-Express SSD solution that takes advantage of the extra bandwidth offered by PCI-Express to deliver SATA 6Gbps level performance with SATA 3Gbps controller chips. It is composed of a PCB with a x4 PCI-Express connector. Onboard it has two SSDs worth of controllers and Flash mounted onto it, and a Silicon Image RAID controller.
The OCZ RevoDrive 240GB's original RRP was $539. The cheapest we've seen it for is $469.
Kingston SSDNow V100
The Kingston SSDNow V100 is a “value” solid state drive that is nevertheless competitive with some of the fastest models we’ve tested. It was an excellent performer in our synthetic large-file tests, with read and write speeds of 239MB/sec and 226MB/sec respectively. (See the full review here.)