Last week the Seagate 600 SSD hit the market and we were in an odd position, we had to speculate on the new 600 price. Given this was Seagate's first consumer SSD, the fact that the company doesn't own a NAND flash fab or their own controller, we guessed high. Hours after the NDA lifted, the Seagate 600 SSD hit Newegg, Tiger Direct and the few other price reference sites we use to base our conclusions on. Our over $1 per GB estimate on the Seagate 600 SSD was way off base - it was too bad we couldn't get the information before the launch.
While researching current pricing for a number of reviews, I observed a few issues that go against what we've come to expect in years past. For years, we could always point to OCZ as the price / performance leader. That is no longer the case. Vertex 3 and the new Vertex 3.20 are not on our list today at all. Vertex 3 was always at the top of our list when it came time to whip out the wallet, the price was always within the top of the class when shopping for a quality product with known performance and a low price. Newegg now shows the Vertex 3 240GB at $219.99 and the new 20nm variant, Vertex 3.20 240GB is a whopping $259.99!
While deep diving into the prices of the 256GB class capacity size, we also uncovered an issue we're glad to report on. Pricing differences between synchronous and asynchronous flash products are nearly equal between many brands. The ADATA Premier Pro SP900 (async) and ADATA XPG SX900 (sync) are both at $199.99 at Newegg. In our testing, we've concluded that no one should ever purchase a SATA III SSD with asynchronous flash. That is my professional opinion as a SSD reviewer, the guy who tests more consumer SSD's than anyone else in the world.
Asynchronous flash isn't the only black mark to look for when shopping for an SSD. Of the 23 2.5" form factor, 256GB class SSD's at Newegg under $200, 12 shouldn't be purchased unless they are the last SSD's on the planet. This list includes drives with asynchronous NAND, SATA II interfaces and known issues with firmware.
Today were looking at some of the options and we'll recommend a few products that we feel are the best bang for your buck.