OCZ breaks the $100 SSD barrier

Storage heavyweight OCZ is making a push into low-end solid state drives with its cheapest 32 GB SSD yet.

The OCZ Onyx is a 2.5-inch, 32 GB SATA II drive with a “sub $100” suggested retail price. At that capacity and price, it’d make a good boot-up drive, provided your computer had another hard drive slot on board, or a suitable hard drive replacement for lightweight netbooks.

OCZ breaks the 0 SSD barrier

Of course, with the low cost comes concessions: Write speeds are 70 MB per second, and read speeds are 125 MB per second — still faster than a hard disk drive, but nowhere near the advertised speeds of a higher end SSD. OCZ’s Vertex series, for instance, reads and writes at 230 MB per second and 135 MB per second, respectively, but has a retail price of $260.

Still, the Onyx has the same 64 MB onboard cache, RAID and TRIM support and “unique performance optimization to keep the drives at peak performance over the long term.” OCZ claims that Onyx SSDs last for 1.5 million hours on average before failure, and the drives come with a three-year warranty.

OCZ hasn’t announced a final price or release date for the drive, but has set up a product page. I wouldn’t say this is the cheapest 2.5-inch drive with at least 32 GB capacity on the market — Kingston reportedly broke the barrier last year after a rebate, as did Patriot — but OCZ is a well-known brand and more activity in this price range is good news in general. If I had a junky netbook to fiddle around with, I’d be excited.