SiliconPower Pocket Drive
Mini ThunderBolt SSD
This tiny ThunderBolt SSD delivers blazing transfer rates up to 380MB/sec Read and 340MB/sec Write speeds. It also includes a ThunderBolt cable
*NEW* Crucial M550 SSD
Cheaper AND Faster!
The latest revision of the M5xx line moves from M500 to the M550 series. With this modification, both Read AND Write performance of smaller SSD capacities is on a par whether you buy a large 512GB /1TB SSD or a smaller 256GB one. (The 128GB has significanly lower Write performance.) Without getting too geeky: Rather than a one-size-fits -all strategy of using 128 Bit NAND flash in all capacities of their drives as they did in the M500 line, the smaller drives in the M550 use 64 Bit NAND better optimized for them - and 128 Bit NAND in the larger capacities.
This performance tweak helps keep them competitive in the market. There certainly are faster SSD's if you pay up for them, but for many users the ever-faster but still darn cheap SSD pricing will be 'good enough' for all but the most demanding consumers.
Lastly it should be noted, Crucial doesn't have a half-dozen different models and names and 'Casual', 'Enthusiast' and 'Enterprise' classification of drives to confuse folks. They basically have the M500 still available, but the M550 at 256GB or larger is where the SMART money goes for better performance - a singularly easy choice.
OCZ Technologies continues to lead the pack. Fast and cheap SSD's like the OCZ Octane Series SSD deliver more bang for the buck than any solid-state drive in history. Their recent acquisition of Indilinx and its controller technology assures OCZ direct control over production capacity, design and specs of one of it's most critical components. No other company has done more for advancing the SSD market than OCZ.
Unit shipments of SSD drives are on a sharp uptick that's showing no signs of stopping. As more and more laptop and (to a lesser degree) desktop computers incorporate stock solid-state drives, there appears there will be no let-up in demand for the foreseeable future.
Hybrid SSD drives are clearly the inevitable route to both high-performance storage and affordable capacity. Seagate just released their second-generation Hybrid, the Momentus XT 750 GB Solid State Hybrid Drive that not only rectifies some of the problems of the 1st generation drives, but has refinements that takes performance to the next level. I'd suspect by the end of 2012 Seagate will take this 2.5" laptop SSD Hybrid to 1 Terabyte capacity.
The reliability of SSD storage has always been a strong selling point of SSD technology. And it only gets better. SSD drives have evolved steadily with smarter controllers and firmware that manage block allocation, wear leveling and drive reliability and Read/Write endurance with absolute finesse. Enterprise users need this MTBF reliability - and casual consumers with far less demanding needs will simply enjoy hassle-free storage technology.
Lastly, although SSD's have been primarily an INTERNAL storage solution -- The explosion of USB 3.0 SuperSpeed and Intel ThunderBolt ports slated for 2012 are going to drive a growing interest in EXTERNAL SSD drives to take advantage of the huge leap in bandwidth. So expect a lot of products that leverage solid-state drives for auxiliary and backup storage to show up in droves.
1. "Me Too" performance. Many SSD's are based on a very few drive and NAND flash controller chipsets available to OEMS. Some SSDs are simply rebranded OEM reference designs - and that puts many of them in the same ballpark of performance. With few exceptions, SandForce controller based drives are delivering the best overall consumer SSD prices and benchmarks
2. Incremental speed gains thru minor Firmware tweaks, cache size options and flash memory clock speed timing is what differentiates many drives in benchmark tests. But these performance differences may become less apparent to end users.
3. The switch to SATA III - 6Gbps interface SSD drives. The new Serial ATA 3 spec provides the potential to DOUBLE SSD performance - in theory. As more personal computers begin to include SATA III controllers, solid-state drives will take advantage of the increased bandwidth - but unless in multi-drive RAID configurations, NAND flash speeds have to improve too.
4. 3.5" form-factor solid-state drives have become more common. Consumers want a drop-in drive replacement option and would rather not fuss with SSD adapters and brackets and whatnot. Early full-size SSD's cost a premium, but now there's little price differences between 2.5 and 3.5 models.
5. The return of more SSD drives with USB mini ports built-in - Especially SuperSpeed USB 3.0 SSD's. There's just alot of convenience with built-in USB. JMicron's revised SSD controller chipset supports this very convenient USB transfer option. Many 2nd tier SSD suppliers will rebrand JMicron based drives and compete heavily in the cheap SSD 'value' end of the market.
6. JMicron 61X controller based SSDs don't suffer from the bad reputation of slow writes and 'stuttering' that plagued their 1st and 2nd generation JMF 60X based SSDs. The JMF supports much larger DRAM cache sizes and works with a wider variety of NAND flash chips: Toshiba, Intel, and Micron - in addition to Samsung flash. Still, this controller family is only right for 'Value' drives - not top performance.
7. Intel's in-house design fab will continue to push the efficient and optimized SSD performance envelope. Intel was getting leap-frogged by the new SandForce controller drives. However, Intel's 3rd generation Intel 510 Series SSD - is now shipping in 2011 to keep up with the competition.
8. Product branding and SSD naming conventions will continue to confuse buyers in the consumer market. What's the difference between an OCZ Summit - Vertex - Apex - Turbo - EX - Solid - Solid v2 and Solid 2 series SSD? Or... a SuperTalent LE - ME - GX - GX2 - DX drive? Deep analysis of the variants by cross-referencing spec sheets and Read/Write numbers will still be needed.
9. The widespread adoption of 5Gbps SuperSpeed USB 3.0 peripherals in will open up opportunities for higher-capacity USB 3 SSD's to be used as external backup drives. Perhaps right only for those who can afford the large 500GB+ SSD sizes most people want in a back-up disk. USB3 and Solid-State drives - especially in a RAID configuration - are a great match for the available bandwidth the SuperSpeed bus offers.
10. Likewise, the even more capable 10Gbps Intel and Mac ThunderBolt Interface introduced on Apple's MacBook Pro and iMac line will provide plenty of excess bandwidth for years to come. It's a match made in heaven for the solid-state future of Multi-Drive storage arrays.
11. SSD price competition in 2014 will likely be heaviest in the 256GB drive market. It seems to be the sweet spot of SSD affordability with enough capacity to meet most users needs. Price pressure - and endless rebate promos will likely pull these down from around 75 cents per Gigabyte to 50 cents by year end.
Well maybe it's all worth putting up with, cuz advancements in the OCZ Vertex 2 Series
and it's performance should make any speed freak geek happy. Max Read: up to 285MB/s, Max Write: up to 275MB/s, Sustained Write: up to 250MB/s. Take that Intel!
Of note is the change of DRIVE CAPACITY. With the Vertex 2 line, they're now in 50GB, 100GB, 200GB sizes. Lets assume OCZ is setting some room aside on the flash disk to make sure these drives to maintain peak performance over their lifetime.
The best value lies in these few drives: An OCZ Agility, A Super Talent UltraDrive ME, The Patriot Torqx or Warp V3 Series, and an OCZ Vertex & Summit -- or perhaps a RAID 0 Apex. The rest of the chart below - from BenchMarkReviews.com - was cropped out - It just wasn't worth bothering with - altho Corsair's latest Samsung/Indilinx models probably should have had a spot on the list, as the still highly respectable Intel SSD G1 and G2 drives.
In the OCZ Vertex drive variants and Firmware Revs shown below - the performance differences may matter only to the incremental Tweaky-Geeks who live by a stop-watch or have bleeding-edge wallets. The designs, controller chips, clock-speed of the flash memory chips used - are all leveling out to a basic commodity used in most of the drives these days. Any of the handful of SSD's above will deliver GREAT performance far, far exceeding your original SATA hard drive.