Updated at 9:40 a.m. PST with additional information about SLC-based solid-state drives.
Some solid-state drives are more equal than others--or, to put it another way, command higher prices than rival drives, despite being seemingly quite similar.
SanDisk and Toshiba offer a good lesson. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, SanDisk said it would start shipping 240GB SSDs in "mid 2009," priced at only $499. (Next to a comparable hard-disk drive, that may be a lot of money, but for a solid-state drive, it's dirt cheap.)
At the Toshiba booth, however, the story was very different. A Toshiba representative said his company's comparable 256GB SSDs are priced at $800. And this discrepancy is coming from two companies that get their flash chips from the same source: a joint-manufacturing operation in Japan.
Below are the prices Toshiba representatives were stating on the show floor versus prices that SanDisk announced.
Toshiba/SanDisk solid-state drive pricing:
Toshiba 512GB: $1,600, SanDisk N/A Toshiba 256GB: $800, SanDisk 240GB: $499 Toshiba 128GB: $400, SanDisk 120GB: $249 Toshiba 64GB: $175, SanDisk 60GB: $149
Throw Intel into the mix, and it gets more confusing. "Introductory" pricing for Intel 160GB versions of its X25-M and X18-M Serial ATA (SATA) solid-state drive is $945 for less than 1,000 units. … Read more