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Intel solid-state drive price cuts enough?

Intel slashed solid-state drive prices but that doesn't mean consumers are going to run out and buy its drives.

Intel has slashed solid-state drive prices, but probably not enough to sway many consumers.

Intel's mainstream, and currently most widely available, 80GB X18-M was cut to $390 from $595--about a 34 percent drop in price. But paying almost $400 for an 80GB drive may still be too much to ask of consumers when, for example, a 160GB, 7,200-rpm laptop hard-disk drive from Toshiba can be had for less than $100 on Amazon.

Solid-state drives, particularly the newest generation of SSDs, typically offer much better performance than hard-disk drives.

Hewlett-Packard, one of the largest users of Intel solid-state drives in both consumer and business laptop lines, provides an even more stark contrast. Adding an 80GB Intel SSD option on the 13-inch HP Pavilion dv3z laptop increases the price by $480 over a 250GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive.

On the desktop it's not much better. Because Intel SSDs benchmark so well, they compete with the fastest hard-disk drives. But they fall short on price per gigabyte.

A 300GB Seagate Cheetah very-high-performance 15,000-rpm hard-disk drive, for instance, is priced at $466.99 at CDW, a major online reseller. (Other resellers sell the drive for less.) The Seagate drive is virtually the same price as the Intel 80GB SSD yet offers vastly more capacity.

Intel also said it is selling its newest laptop-use 160GB X18-M/X-25-M solid-state drive for $765. Its high-performance 32GB X25-E and 64GB X25-E for servers are priced at $415 and $795, respectively.