SSD prices are dropping so quickly that it makes more and more sense to have one in your PC. 120 or 128 GB versions you can find already for £90, and for less than twice that you can buy an SSD with double the capacity. It will still take a long time before SSDs will rival traditional hard disks in terms of price per gigabyte, but the cost has gone down enough that it's becoming more common to use them in higher-end PCs. With good reason too, because upgrading from hard disk to SSD will make your PC feel faster more so than a faster processor or more RAM.
Most annoying slow-downs when you're using your computer are due to the hard disk. Programs that take too long to start up, a game level that doesn't load fast enough, and so on - these are caused by your hard disk. Starting up Windows or other programs can go twice as fast with an SSD compared to a traditional hard disk. When several tasks are running simultaneously or when you swap operating systems the difference is even more noticeable.
SSDs have evolved quite rapidly over the past few years. Almost all current SSDs use the SATA 600 interface. That makes a difference particularly for SSDs, since many SSDs can easily achieve read and write speeds above 300 MB/s. It's safe to say that any SSD with the most current controller is a huge leap forward compared to conventional hard disks. There are also differences between different SSDs, such as different controllers, firmwares and flash chips, and these all have an influence on read and write speeds.
We can conclude from our price comparison tool that SSDs with capacities of 120/128 GB and 250/256 GB are by far the most popular. It's not really a surprise, as 60 and 64 GB are almost too small to be really useful. You could fit Windows 7 and a couple games, and that's about it. Not only that, smaller capacity SSDs are slower than the larger ones, simply because there are less flash chips that can be accessed simultaneously. SSDs with a capacity of 480 and 512 GB are less popular because of the very high prices. Not many consumers feel like spending £420 or more for just storage.
We asked all SSD manufacturers to send us a number of samples with capacities between 120 and 256 GB and a SATA 600 interface, and we ended up with 48 different solid state drives for our round-up.