SSD drives have been with us for a while now, the price hasn't really dropped much in the past 6 months and incidentally there hasn't been much improvement in SSD technology either. Sign of the times? Well you have two main choices: Intel and OCZ, and yes, Intel is still the best SSD drive you can buy and the price reflects that fact.
Now there is one interesting caveat that all current SSD drives suffer from, and that is speed degradation. Speed degradation is something that all SSD drives experience as they are used due to the way data is deleted (or not deleted, I should say). Basically, each time something is written and then deleted from the drive, the actual data is left on the drive. Nothing new there, that is the same way mechanical hard drives work right now. The difference is that with SSD drives, the data cannot just be overwritten with new data. It must first be copied into a buffer, then the sector is cleared, then the data is finally written. The more your drive is used, the more often your SSD drive will be performing multiple operations just to write new data, which ultimately slows the drive's performance down quite a bit.
Typical slowdowns are 20-50% and Intel's drive loses about 30% of its speed - but does not give up that which makes it quick; it's random access read times stay below 1 ms. Manufacturers are trying to combat this issue with the TRIM command, a command which forces the SSD drive to clear deleted data when it is deleted, and not just mark the sector as free space. The TRIM command requires OS support but that should not be a big factor in a modern OS.
It is unfortunate that there are no real competitors to the Intel X-25 series of SSD drives aside from some of the Indilinx-based drives from OCZ such as the Vertex because using these drives is ideal for an HTPC. If you have the money to spend this should be one thing you definitely put in there. You can boot Vista or Windows in 10-15 seconds and all applications will just pop right up as if they are the only ones you are running. Hey, you got two choices for now...at least the situation is easy on the indecisive folks out there, but my money stays with Intel.
Let's try to keep this thread current with new SSD drive information and feel free to link to some reviews. Allow me to kick it off with a long-winded article about SSD Drives on AnandTech
. This is a good article although you may want to skip to the sections that interest you as it really is long. Anand, I appreciate your effort to be comprehensive but let's try to be efficient and condense your ideas into 5-10 pages not 30+ :mmmhmm: There is a more recent article from 08/2009