SSDs are comin' on DigiTimes is reporting this morning that Dell is offering 1.8" 32 GB solid state disk drives as an alternative to standard hard drives on a couple of their small notebooks.
The new drives can also increase system performance by up to 23% and decreases boot time by up to 34% compared to traditional HDDs available with the Latitude D420 and D620 ATG, according to Dell's figures.
They're charging an $549 for the drives, or over $17/GB. The raw cost of the SLC (single level cell) flash chips used in such drives is currently about $8.50/GB. Flash prices have been dropping rapidly, though they seem to have firmed up lately, possibly due to the manufacturing ramp-up of Apple's iPhone. I'd expect to see the Dell drive - or equivalent - available on sale for about $350 by the end of the year.
A search of Dell's website this morning turned up no mention of the SSDs.
TweakTown checks out the Team Group 16 GB flash SSD TweakTown's money quote:
. . . accessing data is super quick. During testing we noted random access times of anywhere from 0.5 to 0.8 milliseconds. Compared to most current desktop or notebook hard drives, the performance difference is astounding at around 13 to 14 milliseconds versus around 0.8 milliseconds. As long as you are not dependent on read and write speeds, SSD is going to allow you to access data much quicker than a regular hard disk drive providing big benefits to applications such as swap files . . . .
Their methodology doesn't discern the random write issue I've noted in earlier posts, but for most users this is probably the bottom line:
Since the access time of data is so quick, things feel much snappier.
Since people can't discern performance improvements of less than about 20%, my SWAG is a real world performance improvement on the order of 25% averaged across all I/O.
The Storage Bits take At 100x the cost, SSDs are no bargain now. But flash prices have been dropping faster than disk prices for the last 6 years and I expect they will continue to. It is safe to say you have a flash drive in your future. Just when depends on your needs and your wallet.