SSDs Get Connection-Heavy: eSATA and USB!
When you're going to use a new solid-state drive, you can expect to hook it up to your computer in one of two ways. For some drives, that's a SATA connection. For others (especially those bundled in external storage enclosures), that could involve the use of a USB cable, which brings up a whole new argument as to why you're coupling a fast hard drive with a slow connection.
Suffice, you're going to be restricted to a single connection option for most, if not all SSDs. We say that as we do, for two new SSD drive lines have emerged that offer you the choice of both connections on a single device. This fulfills two usage scenarios--speedy, continued access to a hard drive by plopping it into a PC, as well as convenience of being able to carry a drive around and externally connect it to different desktop and laptop computers.
Both Transcend and Buffalo are launching hybrid SSDs that come with ports for standard SATA/eSATA and USB connections. Transcend's actually refreshing its entire line of solid-state drives, but it's only offering a hybrid eSATA/USB connection option on its 1.8-inch MLC 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB models. The costs for those come out to $99, $171, and $314 respectively. These prices are barely higher than the company's 2.5-inch MLC drives of similar capacity sizes. But these drives, which throw a fourth, 192 GB model into the mix, boast read and write speeds of 150 MBps and 90 MBps. The smaller, 1.8-inch offerings cap out at 90 MBps reads and 50 MBps writes over the SATA connection. What you gain in functionality, you apparently lose in speed.
Buffalo's new batch of SSDs is centered on a single model number, the SHD-NSUM. This 2.5-inch drive incorporates a micro-USB and SATA connection across three different capacity points: 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB. The drives will only be available in Japan at first, with converted U.S. prices putting the costs at $124, $217, and $392. There's no word yet on when these MLC drives will reach an American market, if ever. Hopefully they won't go the route of Buffalo's SSD-based LinkStation Mini NAS device, which is difficult--at best--to acquire from the States.