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SSDs: WTH happenned in these 2 years? Still same capacity and prices

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..... Just like the old quote "640k is enough for anybody" People will use up whatever storage is available.

I think what the industry is finding is that making a proper SSD that performs simmilar to the current HDD is not an easy problem. There is a lot more to it than cramming a huge amount of flash memory onto a circuit board and selling it. Consider how long the HD has been around vs how long the SSD has been around, and its no wonder the SSD industry is still having growing pains.

MrSpadge' date='11 May 2010 - 09:06 PM' timestamp='1273608418' post='261603']

Detlev, your statement "Nobody needs 2TB in a computer" is far too general. Servers are computers, too. And I've got a colleague whose measurements take up a couple of GBs, every single one of them, and then require significant post-processing. You could argue that after post processing this data could go into the archive. But just increase the measurement resolution and you could fill an arbitrary amount of space. Does it that make sense to do so? I can't say more than "it depends", but rest assured that science and engineering can use up a lot of space.

Having said that, though, my own work machine is not using much more than 100 GB and I don't think I actually need more than 10 GB of it on a regular basis, which just proves your point.

@Brian: the hybrid disk drive would be a smart move, at least for the next couple of years, if done right.

- SSDs can't provide the capacity we're used from HDDs anytime soone (see my previous post & the frustration of the OP)

- but neither do they have to (as Detlev correctly points out) nor should they even try to (at least for the next 5+ years, as I would point out)

- there's a reason we don't have CPUs with 4 GB L1 caches: "deliver the speed where it's needed and keep it cheap"

-> SSDs would be best used as an additional buffer between main memory and HDD

If done correctly one could use a comparably small yet very fast SSD (8 - 32 GB), use less main memory (4 GB) and get by with 5400 rpm HDDs for bulk storage (easier to increase size at lower rpms). The overall package could be faster than the current one and wouldn't have to be more expensive.

There's a major problem, though, which is probably why it hasn't taken off yet: a cache needs someone clever to manage it. Sure, the HDD could just cache the recently used stuff by itself, but I don't think that's very good (overlap with OS caching in memory; probably leads to far too many write cycles).

What I think is needed is a smart software solution to go along with hybrid HDDs. The HDD design should be transparent to the OS and the OS should decide what to do. Win 7 already knows very well what to cache: it's got the normal file cache and super fetch. It can put accessed files first into memory and only write them into the SSD cache upon frequent use, maybe flushing worthy files from memory to SSD upon power down. That would save on a lot of writes and provide SSD read speed (or better) for all frequently accesses files. Dynamically adapted, without user interaction.

Furthermore there could (or "should" IMO) be an option to let users pin certain directories or files to be cached. At the end of the day the user would just buy an HDD, almost as before, and just have it work. No worries about flash size, about where to install what and to free up space on the SSD. They could still have their beloved single C: drive, drop all their documents onto the desktop, leave GBs of music and games and TBs of movies on the machine and have it just work.

If you feel like calling MS and asking them to create an open standard for this (so *nix users could also get these benefits) feel free to do so :)

MrS

Which century are you living in? Engineering? We are talking about mere humans. Have you ever taken a picture with a digital camera? Each file is 20MB. You do a day outing and you are down with 5GB. Everybody has a digital camera now. My cousin has been using computers for 3 years and her personal data is 300GB. I am not intending to shuffle 28 hard drives to see the picture I have taken last week.

Hybrid drives are not necessary. SSDs have the capacity (as announced by Toshiba/Samsung 2 years ago). Intel just monopolized the whole area and probably connived with all the other manufacturers to hold their releases. As soon as Intel entered the market, everything came to a standstill.

It is a totally different ballgame with CPUs. I am a power user and I still have not needed any more CPU power than my 10 year old P4 3.0GHz. I still am using a 2.4GHz Q6600 from 3-4 years ago and it is undervolted to operate at its minimum 1.6GHz. Hard drives have been the bottleneck all this time -- not CPUs. And CPUs have been monopolized by Intel too, by the way.

All of the above posts though - do you NEED several GB with you every day? Answer no.

Even your colleague - if he records several GB, he won't carry ALL of them around with him EVERY TIME.

The misconception is that everybody think they MUST have ALL their files immediately available - and if anybody read my post to the end - I have well over a TB of storage - and need more - but I don't need that all the time. I go on holiday for 3 months (yes, I'm a student) and I leave all that stuff at home - if I need a picture I can email it later on.

The camera argument - I'm not sure why you are focused on that 20MB file size, because the only images that are so larger aren't images - they are RAW sensor data from an SLR - the average picture size for most people will be between 3-8MB, not more.

And then obviously, SLRs will have about (max.) 13MB & 10MP and 40MB @ 21MP (5D MK II) - but then again, if you shoot RAW files, you don't need to carry them around EVERY day.

You shoot them - process them, stash them away on a HDD, keep the ones you want to show people.

And whoever mentioned servers - severs are computers from a technical point of view - but they are generally meant for storage, industrial applications etc.

Of course there will always be people who need more space - heck, I need more space on a holiday now than I needed last year (5D MK II vs. 400D) and before that (originally Powershot A610) - but whoever claims I need to be able to carry those hundreds of GB of Photo files with me every time I go somewhere... - I'd call that person a madman.

On that side note - a fellow NBR member is DJing and he uses a 160GB Intel SSD - for music production, its enough.

And music does produce some large files - or require libraries. - Its about being able to decide what you need with you all the time, and what not.

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the intel 40GB x25-v for $125 offering reads of 170MB/s and writes of 30MB/s? thats a joke right? you would have to be an idiot to pay real money for that thing... maybe monopoly money... or obama dollars. but real currency? HA!

Actually, that's a decent product :)

Maybe not for people who do photo editing etc.

But all those netbook users (how can one use a netbook anyway?) - they could do with something like that Intel.

Its a BUDGET drive - and considering that I'm using 36GB actively on my SSD - of which 8GB are music - that's not bad.

For me that would leave me with 12GB free without music - but then again a budget user won't run Office and an Adobe Suite gaining a few more GB of space, you can also drop Nero 8 (think I have that one...) which will give you another 900MB or so...

And then netbooks run on XP, Win7 or Linux which needs less space than Vista which I have anyway.

And regarding the speeds - 4K speeds are still pretty good on that drive, sequential read/write speeds are absolutely useless.

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Guys, let's try to focus a bit onto the topic. There's no point debating over who likes his pictures at which quality and who prefers them raw and which program takes how much space. Let's try to agree on something:

- people need storage, for whatever reason

- they need GBs and some need TBs of data

- SSDs can't provide this capacity and won't be able to do so for quite some time (at least at sane prices)

- this data should be accessible within ms, or at most 0.5s, otherwise people won't be comfortable

-> optical storage is out, it's either network or magnetic storage

Now comes the important point: most of this data (movies, music, pictures) is

(a) not frequently used

(B) does not require high speed if accessed, it just has to be there

If you really want to cram this stuff into an SSD, fine - go out and buy a 1 TB Colossus. Just don't pretend it's a smart move. Until we can buy "SSDs large enough for everything" for 50€ we'll need additional magnetic storage. Not in every PC, but for the typical user having just one PC that's where he wants to access the data. At this point it doesn't matter if this is an internal or external HDD.

However, normal users like to have it simple. No partitions and other fancy stuff. So juggling things between a too small and too full SSD and an HDD is a pain. Even for geeks, so we really need something better. That's where hybrid drives can jump in: they could give you 2+ TB accessed almost entirely at SSD speeds (due to caching and you not needing to load the entire 2 TB into your main memory at once). The HDD would cost about 50€ (for the end user) and the SSD part would add as much as the smallest ones, currently around 100€.

And to get back to the OP: I think the main problem in this thread is that his expectations were set overly high by marketing BS. Don't blame us, the technology or Intel for that. As I said before: manufacturing each and every single chip in the multi-chip packages containing our flash is almost as complex and thus expensive as manufacturing a processor. There's no way around this - someone has to be pay the couple of thousand $ to process every wafer and someone has to pay for the R&D into the next process node and into the chip design itself and into the actual drives. And the DRAM market has always been highly competitive, killing manufacturers in the famous "pig cycle" every couple of years. Producing flash is not much different. Except for one fact: SSDs are still a emerging, new market. There are many new players. Do you honestly believe they all get into this market just to voluntarily abstain from getting sales & profit? Do you think Sandforce, Marvel and Indilix are developing these fine controllers because Intel's got a monopoly? Do you think Samsung is using their own flash because Intel's got a monopoly?

Regarding the price of small SSDs & pico: I can get a 160 GB HDD for 32€ and a 320 GB one for 35€. Is the HDD market even more WTF?

MrS

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Clearly Intel doesn't have a monopoly, they just have a very good product that's the fan favorite. And when you have all these tiny companies offering SSDs that we've never heard of, and some we have, then go on to offer crap support and failures galore, it does damage to the entire industry. I go to the current best example Crucial. In this case a well known company that's been in the flash space for years, but can't get a firmware together to make their SSD work properly. It's embarrassing and causes people to delay buying SSDs as they're viewed to be experimental. Heck...maybe they are experimental still. So I'd argue that it's not just the price/GB issue, that there's a quality problem too that affects the industry at large. Until there's consolidation or more barriers to entry, anyone can assemble and promote an SSD, the question is how well can they test and support it. That's the killer in many cases.

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Where is your emails? Pictures? Everyone has these. Who has less than 5GB of outlook files in 10 years?

I am not talking about program files. It is the data files that we are interested in.

Not counting games, music or video, or replaceable files - yes, im definately less than 20GB. This includes files ive collected over the past 10 years

I keep a local copy of my personal website - 40mb

3 different versions of a development environment @ 500mb each. but the actual data that I access is mabye 200k of text.

Save files from my games - probably 15mb

A backup of my sharepoint site - 2GB

bunches of text files and old code - probably 20MB

Database files - 30MB

all told - MUCH less than 20GB.

The thing is when you start looking at all the extra stuff needed to ACCESS the above data, then its a lot different.

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I think something is being misundestood here.

We are not talking about media files. I have 12 movie rips that are 210GB. We are not living at 700MB postage stamp size avi days. I am also not talking about the mp3 collection that is 100GB. They would give no benefit to me on an SSD or on a floppy (you got the point). They work fine wherever.

I am talking about keeping my personal/work files along with the OS on an SSD. I have 20GB encrypted partition for my data files. They need to be on an SSD to benefit from the fast access times... For example, searching through emails... So they need to be on an SSD.

Let's breakdown this 20GB:

7GB personal photos

2GB stock market data

2GB scans (paperport)

2GB emails (outlook + eudora)

1GB word/excel docs

1GB oc/uc screenshots, hard drive health screenshots

1GB development scripts

1GB misc small files

I have nothing extraordinary here. I have no games, no spacehogs, no nothing. I even had to use Photoshop CS4 so that it would take 260MB as opposed to 3-5GB of newer versions.

I would like to be able to run the freaking RHEL from WMware on this SSD... Or run a Sawmill reports of web server logs. But alas! I must be dreaming to do these in year 2010 on my hard drive!

I need to constantly delete system files, windows manifests... log files... check duplicates... check jack... mess things up all the time.

And it has been this way almost last 2 years.

300GB would be just fine. They know this. But noooo... They will shove you up for $1500 for that 300GB. They know there is big pockets who will foot this bill in enterprise... So why bring the prices down? Same story last 2 years. When I bought the 80GB... 160GB was top of the line of Intel. IT STILL IS! Only the price is 40% less.

Now show me where in computers some thing stayed the same capacity for 2 years in development stage.

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Where is it? Mainstream 256GB by the end of 2008! Announced exactly 2 YEARS AGO!

Samsung doesn't do bs news. Intel comes to picture... and all SSD scene is at a standstill.

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/06/03/samsung_promises_256gb_ssd/

Samsung promises 'fastest' 256GB SSD by year's end

Posted in Enterprise, 3rd June 2008 10:09 GMT

Samsung has pledged to put a 256GB laptop-friendly solid-state drive into mass-production by the end of the year.

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Other comments:

I actually see it the other way around. Til Intel came to the market we were stuck mostly with crap from JMicron and others with the associated write-amplification issues and stutters and horrid write speeds. Intel forced Indilinx, Samsung, and now Toshiba, Marvell, and Sandforce to step up.

I don't think Intel forced anyone. I think users forced companies with their returns, complaints and all. You can see OCZ forums. I bet they were working their heads off to find a solution other than offering people pages long advices with 2500 tweaks that would take 10 hours of a person's time and at the end render most of their machines unbootable.

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On that side note - a fellow NBR member is DJing and he uses a 160GB Intel SSD - for music production, its enough.

You can be sure the the only thing your DJing is producing is cuting and pasting mp3s. My brother has Cakewalk which has 600MB sound libraries. He needs 2TB to produce any music at all.

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Where is your emails? Pictures? Everyone has these. Who has less than 5GB of outlook files in 10 years?

I am not talking about program files. It is the data files that we are interested in.

My Outlook files are less than 140MB - that's from about 4 years...

I simply don't keep pictures in my Outlook files - do leave small files like word docs etc. in them though - if I removed those it would be even less.

Also - again, 10 years worth of outlook files - MUST you have them all immediately available?

If I ever get to something like 500MB or so I'd possibly park my archive on a HDD at home and pretty much forget about it - I can always refer to it - but I don't need it with me all the time.

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You can be sure the the only thing your DJing is producing is cuting and pasting mp3s. My brother has Cakewalk which has 600MB sound libraries. He needs 2TB to produce any music at all.

Actually he isn't - he also created some songs ;)

He uses Ableton live - needs about 5GB or so if you install the demo...

By the way his music is here:

If you want to listen.

Its just about knowing what you need when you go somewhere.

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I think something is being misundestood here.

We are not talking about media files. I have 12 movie rips that are 210GB. We are not living at 700MB postage stamp size avi days. I am also not talking about the mp3 collection that is 100GB. They would give no benefit to me on an SSD or on a floppy (you got the point). They work fine wherever.

I am talking about keeping my personal/work files along with the OS on an SSD. I have 20GB encrypted partition for my data files. They need to be on an SSD to benefit from the fast access times... For example, searching through emails... So they need to be on an SSD.

Let's breakdown this 20GB:

7GB personal photos

2GB stock market data

2GB scans (paperport)

2GB emails (outlook + eudora)

1GB word/excel docs

1GB oc/uc screenshots, hard drive health screenshots

1GB development scripts

1GB misc small files

I have nothing extraordinary here. I have no games, no spacehogs, no nothing. I even had to use Photoshop CS4 so that it would take 260MB as opposed to 3-5GB of newer versions.

I would like to be able to run the freaking RHEL from WMware on this SSD... Or run a Sawmill reports of web server logs. But alas! I must be dreaming to do these in year 2010 on my hard drive!

I need to constantly delete system files, windows manifests... log files... check duplicates... check jack... mess things up all the time.

And it has been this way almost last 2 years.

300GB would be just fine. They know this. But noooo... They will shove you up for $1500 for that 300GB. They know there is big pockets who will foot this bill in enterprise... So why bring the prices down? Same story last 2 years. When I bought the 80GB... 160GB was top of the line of Intel. IT STILL IS! Only the price is 40% less.

Now show me where in computers some thing stayed the same capacity for 2 years in development stage.

Why you constantly need 7GB of personal photos is beyond me... (at home stashed away, yes, even a TB if you want)

And 1GB of OS screenshots? Are you paranoid?

I've done a few of my SSD when I was benchmarking that a lot at the beginning... but that's possibly less than 10MB... (and thrown onto my external HDD - I don't need them available)

The rest I suspect is work related?

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Taking a look here I can see Samsung PM800 64, 128 and 256 GB for 2.44 €/GB, 2.12 €/GB and 2.30 €/GB, respectively. Sure, 128 GB is the sweet spot, but I fail to see a rip-off. Taking another look here the same 2.4 €/GB still holds for the 512 GB Kingston SSDNow V+. Other 500 GB drives are getting more expensive, though. And at the top-of-the-line 1 TB we're clearly seeing an increased rate, starting at 3.0 €/GB for a Colossus LT.

I really don't think we can blame manufacturers for this. They can pack more chips into these chassis' and they will do it for you. It's just that it takes them proportionally more chips to do so, which quickly becomes expensive. If anyone's to blame for this it's the laws of physics, which make it exceedingly difficult to shrink transistor dimensions. Traditionally it's been a shrink by Sqrt(2) about every 2 years, so at best you can expect you can expect Sqrt(2)^2 = 2 times as many usable flash capacity per wafer. If all goes well, this new wafers costs as much to produce as the old one.. which is not always the case. In the past flash has seen faster ramping due to an accelerated "process catch up and overtake" and the introduction of 2-bit cells (with 3-bit not being good enough yet for reliable storage and many write cycles).

Currently the Indilix value drives are being introduced using Intel/Micron 34 nm flash, the same stuff the X-25M G2 is being made of. In a value drive you don't switch to something needlessly expensive, do you? And the next big jump can be expected at the end of the year when Intel goes from 34 nm to (if I remember correctly) 24 nm process technology. If yields are fine (and anything less than 99% is probably totally unaccaptable for flash) then we can expect capacity to double at the same price points, along with performance improvements due to a new controller. And just remember: we're talking about transistors here! AMD is still at 45 nm and TSMC didn't get 40 nm totally right yet..

MrS

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I think something is being misundestood here.

We are not talking about media files.

...

7GB personal photos

2GB stock market data

2GB scans (paperport)

2GB emails (outlook + eudora)

1GB word/excel docs

1GB oc/uc screenshots, hard drive health screenshots

1GB development scripts

1GB misc small files

Well, I just said let's not discuss this.. but just to try to clear things up: you're not talking about storing the bulk of your media files on an SSD, but Detlev would still argue that most of what you store in this 20 GB partition is not accessed very frequently (Photos, screenshots, old scans, old scripts, (old?) stock market data).

However, while I'd agree so far I'd also concede this: if you access any of this data, be it manually or by searching through it, you really want it to be fast. Anything less is unaccaptable since you spent a lot of money on this SSD.

That's why I think we shouldn't rely on SSDs getting larger and cheaper (I think I said enough reagarding why this is a bad idea), but instead we'd need a clever software solution to make the most out of the SSD space we have. And it's got to be something automatic - juggling files around manually is not a worthwhile option, it's at best a temporary work-around.

MrS

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MrSpadge' date='13 May 2010 - 06:19 AM' timestamp='1273749591' post='261653']

Well, I just said let's not discuss this.. but just to try to clear things up: you're not talking about storing the bulk of your media files on an SSD, but Detlev would still argue that most of what you store in this 20 GB partition is not accessed very frequently (Photos, screenshots, old scans, old scripts, (old?) stock market data).

With no disrespect to anyone, I don't think a *STUDENT* with 140MB of emails is a realistic representation of anyone interested in SSDs. Most of the folks interested in SSDs have been around long time. Most of us work and most of us amassed work/personal data that we need under our fingers.

I am very careful with my data. I almost have no duplicates of anything and I definitely do not keep stuff that I won't need. There is no data on my drive that might be accessed "not frequently".

Stock data: Updated frequently.

Scans: Invoices, bills, etc. I don't keep paper. I need these available all the time because I search them.

Pics: I need these available all the time too. I do not want to shuffle 20 drives when I feel like looking into the pics I have taken when I visited so-and-so place so-and-so years ago. I am not a student, I don't have time and patience for this.

Please folks... I am talking about 20GB of data. It is not such a big amount really to matter how frequently they need to be accessed.

Data that needs to be archived, is archived already.

MrSpadge, I think you got my point. We agree on the rest.

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the left screen is a $130 Kingston SSDNow 64GB.

the right screen is a $60 Hitachi 0A57546 7200RPM 2.5" Laptop drive.

look how abysmal those writes are... reads? sure... they are goods... but writes? HA!

and that intel advertises 35MB/s writes? really?

the importance of writes are grossly underestimated.

its a racket i'm telling you... SSD's with write speeds less then 100MB/s should cost $.90 a gig.

post-3147-12738436256987_thumb.jpg

post-3147-12738436677294_thumb.jpg

Edited by pico1180

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the left screen is a $130 Kingston SSDNow 64GB.

the right screen is a $60 Hitachi 0A57546 7200RPM 2.5" Laptop drive.

look how abysmal those writes are... reads? sure... they are goods... but writes? HA!

and that intel advertises 35MB/s writes? really?

the importance of writes are grossly underestimated.

its a racket i'm telling you... SSD's with write speeds less then 100MB/s should cost $.90 a gig.

Sequential vs. 4K speeds.

Even if you show me a product with 500MB/s sequential speeds I'd throw it out of the window unless the 4K speeds are good.

Those 78MB/s mean nothing in normal day usage - because normal day usage consists mainly off 4K reads and writes - and that's where the Intel will beat both your products.

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Pico, there is no 64 GB Kingston SSDNow with an Intel controller. As far as I know the 40 GB is the only one. You probably got an old JMicron 602 based drive there. Which just goes to show how important it was to evolve SSDs beyond that level.

An Intel drive would have lower sequential write and much higher random write.

MrS

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Sequential vs. 4K speeds.

Even if you show me a product with 500MB/s sequential speeds I'd throw it out of the window unless the 4K speeds are good.

Those 78MB/s mean nothing in normal day usage - because normal day usage consists mainly off 4K reads and writes - and that's where the Intel will beat both your products.

you are absolutely 100% correct. thats why i was showing you benchmarks showing how a budget SSD produces the same (almost) 4k writes as a conventional 7200RPM drive 2.5" laptop drive.

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furthermore, that SSD that has those abysmal 4k's is still $130 (63GB). that is absurd! i'm sorry. your not going to tell me its worth that. it should be in the bargain bin for $1 a gig.

in light of the more advanced intel chips, they should be given those older SSD's away. but they arnt. we see the bottom fall out of previous generations hardware, but for whatever reason we dont see it in SSD's.

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Well, unless you consider the possibility of having a 400-500 GB HDD with SSD performance, at least in certain areas, for prices less than most current SSDs. That could be a compelling argument no?

Actually, we were going to be at that level by now if it was not for Intel, I am positive.

I think by next year half TB SSDs will be available and affordable, so I think it is not necessary to complicate matters.

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Regarding the OP: in two years, capacity of SSDs at a given form factor have at least doubled.

I don't know what you are refering to as 'DOUBLED' but the very same Intel that I bought had 80GB-160GB back then and it is still the same now. So nothing doubled.

My time frame started from mid-2008 with Intel's... and I had to wait for prices to drop till the end of 2008.

but a lot's changed since mid-2008.

What exactly has changed? The same Intel I had back then has the same specs now... plus lots of dead drives with their G2s.

Ms didn't get the firmware fix that made them perform as promised until mid 2009.

The firmware fixed nothing on the specs of the drives. It just supposedly made whole disk erases redundant. Which is not that true by the way. I have the firmware upgrade and my performance degraded over time (graphs are available in X25M Impressions thread) and I had to SE the drive.

Not to mention that the promise of TRIM support for 1st gen users was not available with the firmware release. Why to do it when you can suck all that people got?

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That 60/64 GB Kingston is still this expensive because they'd rather not sell it than sell it at a loss! Guys, the production costs of SSDs are real!! (and some uninformed customers probably still buy them, even at 130$)

I think by next year half TB SSDs will be available and affordable

Define affordable. I'll say nothing better than 256 or 320 GB at better than Intel G2 performance for 350 €/$. Wat's your bet? :D

And regarding the other comments: you're really cherry picking your data here' date=' 666. Or better "picking the foul cherries". The problem is that there can not be huge advantages in SSDs without shrinking process technology. As I said before this usually takes about 2 years. You're starting to count just at the beginning of when Intel went from 50 nm to 34 nm technology and could thereby double the capacity. The ~40% price reduction we've seen since then is nothing else than process optimization (yields, overall cost) and probably also a reduction on the win margin, as they're not the only top performers any more.

Sure, they could have updated the controller and possibly improved write speed using the same technology. That would have increased performance but would have done nothing to increase capacity and price. In fact it would have increased the price due to additional development costs and you paying for the speed improvement.

At mid 2010 these 2 years for a process shrink are over. And in Q4 we'll see the G3 with a new controller, 24 nm process technology and hence double the capacity per chip area. [b']That's what makes price cuts possible[/b], provided the process (yields etc.) is good. So in order to really judge the development you've got to took at times longer than these 2 years. Otherwise there is no reason to expect much of an improvement anyway. You don't complain too hard if Intel or AMD don't release a new CPU or do a price drop within one week, do you?

There's a nice article here from January 2007 where SanDisk introduced the first 32 GB SSD below 500€ (460€ MSRP). It was their 5th generation drive with advertised 62 MB/s seq. read and 35 MB/s seq. write. And it probably sucked. The 2008 Intel is an enormous improvement over this. Were you expecting this pace to hold up?

MrS

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I don't know what you are refering to as 'DOUBLED' but the very same Intel that I bought had 80GB-160GB back then and it is still the same now. So nothing doubled.

My time frame started from mid-2008 with Intel's... and I had to wait for prices to drop till the end of 2008.

What exactly has changed? The same Intel I had back then has the same specs now... plus lots of dead drives with their G2s.

The firmware fixed nothing on the specs of the drives. It just supposedly made whole disk erases redundant. Which is not that true by the way. I have the firmware upgrade and my performance degraded over time (graphs are available in X25M Impressions thread) and I had to SE the drive.

Not to mention that the promise of TRIM support for 1st gen users was not available with the firmware release. Why to do it when you can suck all that people got?

What changed - more manufacturers releasing half baked product, that changed.

About Trim - I wonder what you did to have is slow down... I once had about 600GB of writes on my Intel and did a benchmark, oddly enough 4K speeds improved and sequential dropped slightly...

I'm on Vista (as its a perfectly fine OS) and just use the Intel toolbox - I had it off for that test at the beginning.

And the firmware issue - firmware upgrades are always a risk.

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