SanDisk 240GB SSD hits $450

Pricing for solid-state drives continues to head south at retail. But pricing hasn't changed much in the last few months for SSDs sold with systems from Apple and Hewlett-Packard.

Solid-state drive prices continue to fall, and SanDisk is doing its part with a new 240GB laptop drive for $450. But don't expect to pay that kind of price when getting an SSD directly from Apple or Hewlett-Packard.

SanDisk Ultra SSD.
SanDisk Ultra SSD. SanDisk

Flash memory-based SSDs are the storage of choice in cutting-edge, weight-sensitive designs. They're standard in all the new 2011 MacBook Airs and will populate the new wave of Ultrabooks due later this year. Drives of 256GB capacity from first-tier suppliers such as Micron Technology were more than $500 earlier this year, so a new drive from SanDisk with comparable capacity for $450 means SSD pricing continues to head south.

SanDisk is marketing its Ultra SSD, announced today, as a "drop-in solution for technology enthusiasts" looking to upgrade their own laptops. SSDs are typically faster at reading data--often much faster--than the standard magnetic hard disk drives that ship with laptops.

The SATA II SSDs are rated at speeds of up to 280 megabytes per second (MB/sec) sequential read and 270 MB/sec sequential write. Intel, by contrast, has published read and write speeds for SATA II of 265 MB/s and 240 MB/s, respectively (PDF).

SanDisk is also selling a 60GB Ultra SSD for $129.99 and a 120GB model for $219.99. All Ultra models are offered as 2.5-inch form factors, which is the standard height for laptop drives.

But don't expect this kind of pricing when you configure a laptop from Apple or Hewlett-Packard with an SSD. Apple tacks on $600 if you opt for a 256GB SSD in a MacBook Pro instead of the standard 500GB hard disk (5400RPM). HP lists a 256GB SSD upgrade at $550 for its EliteBook 8560p. (And Apple's top-of-the-line MacBook Air with a 256GB SSD is listed at $1,599--$300 more than the identically configured model with a 128GB SSD.)

How does that pricing stack up against other retail 256GB drives from a first-tier supplier? Micron's Crucial branded 256GB drives generally retail for about $450.

Finally, note that real-world performance can differ from published read and write numbers, as this benchmark of the 2011 MacBook Air's SSD shows.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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