SSD Capacity and Cost predictions
July 28, 2012 1:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in getting an SSD drive for my MacBook but the storage capacity isn't big enough and they are too expensive. Are there some Moore's Law type indicators for SSD technology that might help predict at what point in the future, say, a 750GB drive might cost less than $500?
posted by coffee and minarets to Technology (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like you can get a 512GB SSD for about $400 right now, so the next generation ought to do the trick.
posted by mr vino at 2:26 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lower-capacity SSDs are approaching 50 cents/GB when they go on sale. Check this page which automatically scrapes Newegg for SSD prices (and ignore the cheapest drive, which is actually an HDD/SSD hybrid).

I agree with mr vino's comment above: the next generation will probably easily meet your requirements.
posted by zsazsa at 2:32 PM on July 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Tom's Hardware is a good place to keep your eye on trends and prices.
posted by carsonb at 2:33 PM on July 28, 2012

it's possible to take out the dvd drive and replace it with a second hard drive, so that you have your small ssd in the original hard drive spot, and a larger hard disk where the dvd was. i've done this and it works great. they also give you an enclosure for the dvd drive for free.
posted by cupcake1337 at 2:33 PM on July 28, 2012

Prices are decreasing, but demand for space is increasing. By the time you can justify the price of a 700gb drive, you'll.probably want 1000. So it goes.

I recently bought a 120gb ssd (OCZ NOC-MSATA-120G 120GB mSATA Nocti-SATA II) for under £100. It's not THE fastest around, but still way better than a hard drive. This is well enough for my OS and all my main programs and documents. If you need two drives like me, you might consider going for a non-mac machine. My Lenovo x220 had a 300gb 7200rpm HD when I bought it, and I installed a SSD in the MSATA slot. It's a dream of a machine.

At the moment price is the main concern on SSDs. What's the point of buying a super expensive drive for your already super expensive laptop? Especially when lifetime of an SSD is going to be no more than 2-3 years if you are lucky. On top of OS and main programs, most other stuff can be stored on the secondary HDD, or supplemented with external HD/SD card/USB/cloud. For 90% of day to day use, I never need more than the 120gb SSD. As cloud storage becomes more viable, and wifi more ubiquitous the days of the many hundred GB machine will end.
posted by 0bvious at 2:34 PM on July 28, 2012

I'd recommend looking at a hybrid SSD drive as well. They are almost as fast, very quiet, and significantly cheaper.

I've been running a 750GB hybrid SSD drive in my MacBook Pro for the last year and have been very, very happy with it; it's been 100% reliable. It was under $200 at the time, and they've gotten much cheaper since.
posted by mosk at 2:38 PM on July 28, 2012

Especially when lifetime of an SSD is going to be no more than 2-3 years if you are lucky.

This is not accurate. Current SSD controllers use techniques like wear leveling to avoid repeatedly writing to the same blocks over and over again, and the vast majority of files on a typical consumer hard drive are effectively read-only (i.e., they don't get written frequently; usually only once).

I'd advocate a 2-drive solution here; use a (smallish) SSD for the OS and program files and such, and a large traditional drive for working data and anything else that tends to get read in a predictable/linear way (e.g., large video files).
posted by axiom at 2:42 PM on July 28, 2012

Hi I hate to drop a spoiler here for all the people saying go hybrid or buy an SSD.

I popped in a 256GB SSD OCZ Sata 6 550RW in my late 2011 Macbook pro and although the performance result was faster it wasn´t anywhere near the read/write throughput advertised.

It was actually quite a let down. There have been numerous complaints across the web that macbook SSD speeds arent up to scratch and I would have to agree. This is a known issue, expect about half the performance of the SSD in a mac.

Sure my Outlook and programs boot a tad bit quicker and unarchiver unpacks the HD torrent files faster, but factoring the cost, not worth it. I still get the spinning wheel while its thinking on occassion.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 2:57 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

On the contrary, even if an SSD in a Mac is half as fast as it could be, it still has next to no latency, requires zero spin-up time, produces virtually no heat, and is utterly silent. I put a 180 GB OCZ Vertex II in my 2008 Mac Pro two years ago (for $400+) and as a result I am still completely satisfied with my four-year-old computer.
posted by kindall at 5:11 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

The costs of SSDs fall at a constant rate, but the prices are set by the market, with the capacity at a given price doubling about every 24 months. I've been watching flash-media prices do this in the form of USB sticks for about 10 years, since I got my first (HUGE at the time) 1GB USB flash-drive. You basically have 3 sizes moving major volume at any given moment, and they have roughly the same 3 prices no matter what the size is. You've got an affordable version which does not have anything resembling the cutting edge size. Currently, that's 64GB. That's the value size. You've got your mainstream size-- best balance of size and cost (not to say it's the best value for your dollar, but it's the best size that most people can afford.) Currently 128GB. Then you've got your premium level-- it's not the breakthrough size that gets announced in the hardware sites for people to plug into their $5000 boutique PCs, but its actually a price within reach, just not a price you can reason to another person, and that's 256GB right now.

SSD manufacturers figured out about a year or so ago that they can't quite keep doubling every time to increase capacity, and they an answer the market with other sizes by mixing different size flash memory units. 32+8 for 40gb SSDs-- great for the OEM market. Likewise 80, 160, maybe a 240. Your drive in mind will be 768GB (that's 512+256, and you'll actually have around 250real gigabytes on such a thing) should be under $500 (cheaper than breakthrough, more expensive than premium) sometime shortly after the 512 fills the premium tier, which is 2 years away, I think, at most. Wait 4 years, and you'll see them for $150.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:18 PM on July 28, 2012

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