The SSD market is providing a rare opportunity for anyone not intent on building at the bleeding edge. The newest generation of SSDs like Crucial’s RealSSD C400, OCZ Vertex 3, and Intel’s SSD 320 are out and have been reviewed, but offer incremental performance upgrades at best (mainly from refinements of the controllers’ firmware, and also some further power consumption efficiency from moving to a 25 nm die). This means that the prior generation’s performance leaders are a real bargain at reduced prices.
For example, if you use the code CRUCIAL4455 at NewEgg (valid until tomorrow) you can get a C300 for $200, and free 2-day shipping. That’s $40 cheaper than I paid for it just a few weeks ago (and you can see my benchmarks here on PREFECT). I expect that the Vertex 2 and Intel’s SSD 510, also previous generation, will see some major rebates or discounts soon, but the C300 is really the best SSD of the 34nm generation. .
UPDATE: The 120 GB Intel 510 Series is also on sale at NewEgg until 4/7.
The bottom line is that the upgrade to an SSD packs better punch than upgrading RAM and is a far cheaper alternative to upgrading a mobo and CPU (Sandy Bridge is still not compelling an upgrade IMHO, which I can elucidate on in thread if anyone cares). The advantage of the form factor is that its compatible with any SATA laptop or any desktop (unfortunately, my old T42 is just outside that generation, still using ULTRA-ATA. And it has a broken LCD backlight, but I digress…). These things even come with simple utilities to clone your current drive, OS, apps, etc without a hitch to the SSD. This is the best bang for your buck. I think that the $200 price point for 128 GB is a price floor, however – it won’t go lower, because all the inventory of the old generation drives like the C300 will sell out at that price. Once the old generation drives (which as I mentioned, offer largely comparable performance) sell out, then the only SSD options will be the new generation which are about $100 more expensive. After that, your best window to buy an SSD again will be 6 months to a year from now, when the current “next” generation is again replaced by a new crop and the cycle repeats.