Prior to CES 2013 we had an influx of new cutting edge SSDs hit the office. Ideally, all of these new products would have been published on January 7, the first day of the show. They weren't and it's my fault - sorry about the delay. The good news is we now have all of our testing finished and were able to spend some real time with all of these drives. Sometimes being first doesn't mean you win the race.
The SSD market is booming and the projected growth is the highest we've seen for any storage product in a very long time. This amount of growth doesn't have a lot to do with SSDs increasing in capacity or even being faster than the existing products on the market. It has to do with cost. The lower prices are driving the SSD market right now and into the future. For the next six months we won't see any large performance increases, SATA III is pretty much tapped out. We will see lower prices and higher capacities - the two roadblocks holding mainstream users back from adapting the technology.
The SanDisk Ultra Plus is a mainstream offering designed to decrease the cost of ownership. At the time of writing, the 256GB model we're looking at today costs $219.99 at Newegg, the same as the Extreme SSD 240GB. We feel the price is higher than it should be and aren't afraid to put that out in the open here on the first page of this review. I don't think the $219.99 price is going to stick for very long. I honestly think this drive will get down to around the $150 mark within the next three months.
The reason why is because the SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB uses a four-channel Marvell controller which is cheaper to use than a SandForce controller, it also uses SanDisk's own 19nm NAND flash. The flash is also cheaper to work with than the 24nm used on the SanDisk Extreme SSD. In our CES coverage we told you about Micron's coming price war that will heat up with the release of the M500 960GB for $600 with prices scaling proportionally through the other capacity sizes. The price war is coming, right now these companies are just tossing stones at each other, but soon the silos will heat up as full on nuclear war starts.