Comments & Conclusion
Comparing our test results with other reviews bottom lines, we got it right, it seems. So let us phrase a conclusion that has it all what we experienced and theorised.
If you are a (moneyed) home user and your computer is mainly there for you to render office applications, games, grant you access to the internet, you will definitely get value for your money. Every work step gets a boost and this doesn't change over time either; the handling always feels fresh, as if you had just started your pc. Have you ever been bored to hell by waiting for your browser to load? Have you ever felt like smashing the annoying sandhour next to your mouse pointer? Particularly after a few hours of work, you get these nasty performance droppers that make you wonder what you bought your Quad Core for. With SSDs, it's totally different. If your storage medium is mainly asked to access files and read them, which is what normal users do the most, a SSD does a fast and absolutely noiseless job. To wrap it up, they do great in notebooks (unless every minute of your battery lifetime counts, then you should check if the SSD bought requires more or less power than your HDD). But if you consider putting them into your work station, you'd better think twice. They are insanely pricey and simply don't write quickly enough. New controllers will fix this soon enough and increase the writing performance; when they will leave fast HDDs behind can only be guessed. If anything, then get a SLC-Drive, but be prepared to pay a shiploads of money.
Looking at the power consumption, we can now explain why manfacturers claim a 1W hunger only. The drive needs 1W when it is idling. But this is far from reality, since with Windows Vista you always have something accessing the drive, thus increasing power consumption. We quickly realised that our test samples have a higher power consumption than 2.5” HDDs, but less storage room. Nevertheless, you can't over-simplify this. OCZ has proven that SLC-SSDs are capable of requiring less power than any other 3,5” HDD. Sounds promising to us.
New technology always comes at a high price, SSDs are no exception. Compustocx's 128GB SSD can be bought for 329€. Therefore they are bundled with a few years of warranty and a guaranteed quick exchange in case something turns out to be defective.
Unfortunately we can impossibly tell anything precise concerning a SSDs lifetime. We ourselves were only able to use the test samples for a limited time, however, if you read the tech excursus carefully you know we will have to wait a few more years to get profound data on this topic. This is especially true for MLC-SSDs: If you are thinking about fetching such a drive, be told they are not as reliable as the good old HDD. They might live longer, they might not, it all depends on many factors. So make sure you backup on trustable storage regularly. If you fancy SLC-SSDs, lifetimes forecast looks a lot better. If the controller cooperates, these devices should outlive a normal HDD.
All that said, it's up to you to decide whether you want to pay the extra money for a SSD or not. No doubt, they come at an extraordinary price, with low memory space (sure, it's getting better slowly), with an attractive read- and access performance. Depending on your preferences and the product you buy, you might save a bit of energy or draw a bit more. On the dark side of the topic SSD, we find the random write issue, a tough price and a comparatively bad reliability (e.g. corruption, 15MB bug).
But one thing is for certain: SSDs don't only have potential, they have a bright future in front of them. Many people say they are destined to totally replace HDDs, we on our part think these two technologies will soon coexist. Right now, they are lacking the memory space and an affordable price. You can already buy 1500GB HDDs, but the biggest SSD you see is a mere 256GB heavy. But if you're happy to wait a bit longer, we should be able to see great improvements in 2009: 30nm chips which will double the capacity of SSDs, some new controllers and maybe even a log structured file system. Till then, SSDs won't be more than a product for enthusiasts or those who really need the performance and can afford high prices to get SLC-SSDs.
To come to an end with this, we would like to say thanks a lot to Compustocx, who provided us with our test samples thus giving us the possibility to have a glance at the technology hiding behind the three letters SSD. Also special thanks to the user ScoutX from the Hardwareluxx-Forums! He helped us a great deal with our tremendous tech excursus. Thanks again!