The steady decline of SSD prices continues. According to “reliable sources” quoted by VR-Zone, Intel is set to discount its 320, 330, and 520 Series SSDs later this summer. The purported cuts are substantial, at least for 330 and 520 Series. The former is expected to be slashed by 26-34%, while the latter will reportedly receive price cuts as high as 38%. Intel’s older 320 Series SSDs aren’t due to be discounted quite as much. VR-Zone says the price of those drives will drop by 11-17%, and then only for the 300 and 600GB variants.
Intel has made a habit of selling its SSDs at higher prices than the competition, and it’s hard to justify the premium. The 520 Series in particular must contend with largely identical competitors that offer equivalent performance at a fraction of the cost. Right now, the 520 Series 120 and 240GB models cost $175 and $329 at Newegg. The OCZ Vertex 3, which uses the same SandForce controller and synchronous NAND, can be had for $110 for 120GB and $190 for 240GB. Our favorite SSD, the Samsung 830 Series, costs $130 and $275 for slightly larger 128 and 256GB capacities.
The incoming price cuts for the Intel 520 Series are supposed to drop the 120 and 240GB drives to $129 and $269, respectively. Competing SandForce drives are likely to remain cheaper, but at least the gap should shrink. Keep in mind that the Intel drives come with longer five-year warranties, too.
While Intel lowering prices could be seen as an attempt to win more ground in the ongoing SSD price war, it also suggests the firm may be making way for new models based on 20-nm NAND. We’ve been told SSDs featuring next-generation flash are due toward the end of the year. Let’s hope they arrive with new controllers in tow—and even more affordable prices.