Pricing - SSDs True Benchmark
We went out on a limb in the first State of Solid State editorial and predicted that SSDs would rapidly start to rise in popularity and prices would in turn fall. For the first few months this is exactly what happened, more competition and products drove prices down to the point where consumer SSDs from OCZ Technology, Super Talent, G.Skill and Patriot to name a few were becoming reasonable to even mainstream users. The big price reduction from Intel pushed the consumer SSD market even further and put Intel's X25-M in the trenches with affordable SSDs.
For the last few months solid state drive prices have held steady. This has been in part due to high demand, low availability and the fact that just about everything on your kids Christmas list has flash memory in it. As companies ramped up their manufacturing of consumer products that use flash memory, we have seen flash value rise and in turn the cost of all that uses flash has been unable to decline in price. In some cases we are even seeing SSDs go up in value.
All is not a wash for those looking to purchase an affordable SSD, but don't expect to see the words sale and SSD together very often before the holidays. After Christmas and CES there is a chance that we will get a double dip in the current line of solid stage drive prices. The first will come from flash availability being steady again; more flash means lower prices as long as manufacturers do not decrease production.
The second dip will only be a small window and it will happen when the consumer market retires the current product lines and rolls out next generation technology from Marvell, SandForce, Prilant and eventually the Indilinx Jet Stream. The delay of Jet Stream really killed any hopes of massive price cuts across the board for current products since many companies have invested so much R&D time into the Barefoot controllers. If we do see Marvell and Indilinx launching their next generation controllers near the same time, we may see the current offerings marked down as much as 40% just to clear inventory. At this time 40% off SSDs is looking like a fantasy, but if the perfect storm hits be prepared to act quickly.
As with everything, finding a good deal has a lot to do with place and timing. Using services like Pricegrabber and The TweakTown Shopping Network powered by Pricegrabber will allow you to scan several online shops at the same time to find the best possible price for the day.