Solid-state drives have gotten considerably cheaper and more plentiful over the past few years, but they're still unarguably luxury items. For less than the price of a 40GB Intel SSD, you can snag a 1TB WD Caviar Black with a five-year warranty. However, the winds of change are blowing, and PC World says research firm Gartner expects solid-state drives to break into the mainstream in the second half of 2012.
At that point, Gartner expects SSD pricing to reach $1 a gigabyte. For the math-challenged among us, that means even fairly roomy SSD boot drives will fall well below $100—like, say, 64GB for $64. Considering the very palpable boot speed and responsiveness benefits, it does seem likely that many users would make the jump. Gartner expects NAND flash prices to tumble 30% this year and 36% in 2012.
For those who think $1/GB is still expensive, keep in mind that mechanical hard drives were at or above that threshold not long ago. In March 2003, we reviewed a trio of 120GB hard drives from Maxtor, WD, and Seagate that were priced in the $132-188 range. Back then, getting the best deal involved sticking with a parallel ATA interface, too.