From the get-go the Raptor was supposed to be an "Enterprise" drive. Drive manufacturer's cash cows are either best GB/$ ratio drives for Joe Blow systems or best combo of MTBF/$ & Performance/$ for servers. Raptors are obviously more suited for servers. Thats been their aim for awhile. Hence NCQ & SAS compatibility. I was surprised when they did the Raptor-X or whatever it was. I'm sure WD makes much more in the Enterprise market than the enthusiast on these drives. Because of that I doubt a higher density Raptor is high priority on WD's todo list. This is the same reason no other manufacturers have put out 10k SATA drives for consumers. Seagate has great budget drives(spinpoint) and tried and proven server drives. Making a drive that pleases the very small percentage who build their own PCs is a dumb move for them. The Raptor is a great Enterprise drive that just happens to bode well for single user environments at the same time.
I really wish SSD drives would pick up speed. I'm just afraid that won't happen until NAND flash's Gb/$ goes way up. Speaking of which, wasnt Samsung slated to release a 32Gb chip this year? ::Crosses arms and taps foot impatiently::
Ontop of that you have the crappy memory controllers, namely their limited sram controllers. SSD's transfer rates have the potential to double as capacity doubles. The sram controller's number of channels just needs to double to allow this. Making that chip cheap is much easier said than done though. If a big name provided that chip which in turn provides a simple framework for everyone else to use/buy that would be a step in the right direction. I'm guessing the small demand for SSD's is keeping that from happening though...
SSD has a lot of potential. One of the biggest is that any memory manufacturer can make them. Crucial, Kingston, etc can now all make drives. It won't be just the hand full of big hard drive manufacturers(which have definitely shrunk in numbers recently).
The potential of transfer rates steadily climbing with capacity is huge as well. The only limit on this is physical size and of course the memory controller that can handle it. 4 flash chips yields 100MB/s reads, 8 yields 200, 16 yields 400... Thats not far fetched at all. If SSD takes off we'll be over saturating the link between the southbridge and northbridge before you know it
Size, power consumption, noise are all benefits as well. I just don't see them as big as the others
Unfortunately all this hinges on chip flash chips. There are already some kickass SSDs but they are purely enterprise drives. +$2k for a drive is too rich for me. I see the progression going
Very expensive Enterprise SSDs of any capacity for the next couple years
Very expensive Enterprise SSDs of 100GB+ & reasonable Enterprise SSDs under 100GB
Very expensive Consumer SSDs of some sort
Basically what happened with 10k/15k SCSI drives back in the day.