We've talked about solid-state drives for years and the advantages, and sometimes disadvantages, they have compared to conventional magnetic hard drives. If you want a refresher, here's our full comparison, but in short SSDs are faster, more energy efficient and more reliable.
For most people, however, it was an academic comparison because SSDs were just too expensive compared to regular hard drives. However, that's changed dramatically this year, and will continue to do so in the coming years.
In fact, since 2012 the price on SSDs has come down from 99 cents per gigabyte to 39 cents this year. It's expected to be as low as 17 cents by 2017. By comparison, conventional drives went from 9 cents per gigabyte in 2012 to 6 cents this year, and they probably won't go much lower.
While that still makes SSDs far more expensive than conventional drives when you're talking about terabyte sizes, it's a reasonable difference. In 2012, a 1TB SSD would have been $990, and soon it will be $170 vs. $60 for a conventional hard drive.
However, at smaller sizes, such as 240GB or 250GB, SSDs can already be as cheap as $80. Most people don't need more than 250GB anyway. If you do need space for photos or movies, you can pair the SSD with a larger conventional drive that costs much less. That gives you a nice balance of speed and storage.
Manufacturers are taking notice, too. By 2017, it's estimated that 42% of laptops will ship with an SSD compared to $21% last year. So your next computer could very well have a speedy SSD. Trust us, you're going to love it.