New Low-Cost SSDs from OCZ Could Lead to Wave of Upgrades

Today, memory-maker OCZ announced the release of a new line of low-cost, high-performance SSDs. Dubbed the OCZ Core series, the drives will be available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities at groundbreakingly low MSRPs of $169, $259, and $479 respectively. OCZ also promises the drives will provide read speeds of 120-143MBs and write speeds of 80-93MBs, along with a seek time of 0.35ms. (via Engadget) All of these rates, if accurate, would make the Core drives as fast as or faster than industry-leading drives like the the Samsung SATA II SSD (100MBs Read / 80MBs Write) , the Mtron MSP 7000 series (rated at 120MBs read / 90MBs write), or the Memoright MR25 (120MBs Read / 120 MBs Write). It would even share the read, but not the write speed of the Mtron MSP 7500 (130MBs read / 120MBs write), which is widely considered the fastest SSD on the market today, but is intended for servers and costs well above $1,000 at even the 32GB size. If the price and performance of the OCZ Core Series live up to expectations, the entire hard drive market is in for some earthshaking changes. Massive Upgrades If consumers can buy high-speed SSDs for such low prices, we may see a wave of notebook owners buying the OCZ disks and using them to replace their current notebook hard drives. Even though the Core Series drives cost a lot more than higher-capacity traditional notebook hard drives (a 320GB 5,400 rpm goes for about $100 now), the speed and power-saving advantages could lead many users to swap out their own drives. Those who buy hard drive-based mini-notebooks like the MSI Wind may find themselves spending an extra $169 to replace the built-in hard drive with an OCZ Core. Even sub-$600 15.4-inch notebooks could be turned into fast booting, power-sipping systems for under $750. Notebook-makers Lowering Prices on Their SSD Options At present, several notebook manufacturers offer SSD configuration options for their business notebooks, but these options typically cost around $1,000. For example, right now, Lenovo charges $1,045.49 to upgrade a T series ThinkPad from its lowest option, an 80GB 5,400 rpm drive, to a 64GB SSD made by Samsung. When consumers can buy their own 64GB OCZ Core series SSD with faster transfer rates for $259 or pay $479 and get 128GB, will OEMs like Lenovo be able to justify charging four times for a slower drive? Or will we see massive SSD price cutting by other manufacturers and OEMs? It’s quite possible that OCZ’s low cost entry will force Dell, Lenovo, and HP to either switch suppliers or put pressure on SSD manufacturers to deliver drives at a similar cost to OCZ’s. If OCZ can meet expectations with its product, there’s a good chance the option to configure your new notebook with a 32GB SSD will cost less than $200 and 64GB less than $300. We may also see more consumer notebooks being offered with SSD.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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