“A solid state drive (SSD, also called solid state disk) is a data storage device that uses non-volatile memory (NAND) such as flash, or volatile memory such as SDRAM, to store data, instead of the spinning platters found in conventional hard disk drives. While not technically “disks” in any sense, these devices are so named because they are typically used as replacements for disk drives.”
Latest developments are pointing in a comforting direction: SSDs are evolving into larger variants and becoming more appropriate for use in mobile and even desktop systems. Since prices are still stagnantly high in comparison with conventional hard drives (10 bucks versus 25 cents per Gigabyte), though, it’s not yet ready for mass-usage in mainstream hardware and applications.
Dell has recently decided to start shipping some of the Latitude laptops with the 32GB SSDs from SanDisk. Dell hereby follows Sony, Fujitsu, Samsung and others. Currently they’re offering a disk of this caliber for (roughly) $550 more than a regular drive, decide for yourself whether this is a bargain or not.
Certain influential personalities have opinionated that Solid State is the road to clear for the future. Common beliefs dictate that these media have significant performance improvements and could be used as effective cache-memory — much like RAM. I like to derive common belief to rumor, since the technology is still too young to judge objectively and no-one has yet testified these alleged advanced as facts. Power consumption and physical weight, on the other hand, are significant pointers which show that this technology could have a lot of potency.