When it comes to laptops, few upgrades offer as big a performance boost as a solid state drive. And although they're still costlier than traditional drives, SSDs are no longer coveted by just the tech elite; they're now present in multiple mainstream devices from tablets to ultrabooks. As a result, prices on SSDs have fallen to the point where outfitting a laptop with a solid state drive is no longer a luxury. In fact, even Intel recently announced that it would begin slashing prices on its SSDs starting this fall. So while last year's flooding in Thailand may have disrupted hard drive deals, SSDs on the other hand began their descent into affordability.
To get a better picture of where SSD deals are heading, we looked at the past year's worth of data on 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB SSDs, which are the most common capacities listed on dealnews. As our chart indicates, prices on all three capacities have steadily fallen over the course of the last year. But in terms of price-per-GB, are you better off buying a low-capacity drive or will you (and your wallet) benefit more from investing in a high-capacity SSD? Our deal data suggests that the landscape has changed drastically over the past year in this respect.
The Benefits to Investing in an SSD
Laptops are ideal candidates for SSDs. Not only are the drives shock-resistant and use less power (both great traits to have in a laptop), but SSDs also provide faster boot-up times, cooler operating temperatures, and an overall snappier computing experience. And with no moving parts, sleep recovery and system responsiveness are also greatly improved. Many of today's best-rated laptops like Apple's MacBook Air and Asus' Zenbook series rely on SSDs rather than traditional hard drives. (Unsure if your laptop can support an SSD? Click here to read Intel's primer on SSDs.)
Higher-Capacity SSDs Finally Hit Equal per-GB PricesSo what size SSD should you buy? When it comes to storage, the general mentality is of course: bigger is always better. But does that hold true for SSDs as well?
As the above chart clearly demonstrates, we've seen price drops across the board for SSD deals. But larger drives specifically have seen the biggest dip since the beginning of the year, in relation to smaller capacities. For instance, at the start of the year in January 2012, the price-per-GB cost of a 256GB SSD was $1.37/GB. By September, that price had dropped 65% to $0.48/GB. Comparatively, this past winter 64GB SSDs were going for $0.86/GB, and today a similarly-sized SSD is a mere $0.47/GB — a 45% drop in price.
So, while we are seeing excellent deals across all sizes, higher-capacity drives are finally reaching an equal per-GB price point compared to smaller drives. Although the best 256GB deal checked in at one cent more per GB than the 64GB drive, it's no longer a drastic premium amongst SSDs for a larger capacity. Thus, with today's heavy storage needs, it makes sense to get a bigger option.
Of course, if you're just randomly shopping for a new SSD, you're unlikely to see these very low prices; instead, you'll need to look carefully for a deal. Luckily, we find several Editors' Choice storage deals every week, so be sure to keep an eye on our growing section of SSD deals. Or set up an email alert to be notified as soon as new deals are posted. And for more price trend information, check out our consumer shopping research page.
Front page photo credit: Digital Trends
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