San Jose (CA) - $300 could buy you a 32 GB solid state disk drive for your notebook - or half a terabyte of traditional storage space. What will it be?
Capacity and price have been the advantages of traditional hard drive technology over the increasingly popular solid state disk drives. Samsung is the first HDD manufacturer to ship a gigantic 500 GB 2.5" hard drive (Fujitsu was first to announce such a drive), which is almost 16 times the capacity of the mainstream SSD (if we can call the SSD mainstream) and twice what is currently considered the higher-end of mainstream notebook hard drives (250 GB).
You won't be able to achieve any speed records with Samsung's 5400 rpm Spinpoint M6 drive, but three 2.5" platters holding 167 MB each is the highest capacity currently available for notebooks. You could store up to 160,000 high-resolution digital images, 125 hours of DVD movies or 60 hours of HD video on the drive, Samsung said.
The suggested retail price of $299 is about twice what would currently pay for a 5400rpm 250 GB hard drive, and about 50% more than what 320 GB 2.5" drives (Hitachi was the most recent manufacturer to announce such a drive) are going for currently. SSDs cannot compete on price with these large-capacity hard drives yet.
Vendors such as Dell are currently charging somewhere between $210 and $300 for a 32 GB SSD and $510 for a 64 GB SSD ($850 including a separate 200 GB HDD). If you were to purchase such a drive in retail, you would have to calculate about $400 for a 32 GB SATA SSD (IDE models are available from about $180). 64 GB versions are currently selling for about $2000, 128 GB versions for $3100 and up and 256 GB SSDs recently showed with prices starting at about $7500.