PNY joins affordable SSD race

With so many solid state drives now circling the £100 sweet spot, it looks as though everyone wants a share of the pie. The latest tech firm to stick its oar in is PNY, which has just announced a new pair of competitively-priced SSDs.

The 2.5-inch Optima drives use a Samsung controller, and feature standard multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory. However, in addition to the usual SATA II interface, you'll also find a mini USB 2 port on the back, enabling you to hook up your drive without taking apart your PC. This is a handy feature for creating a mirror image of your laptop's boot drive before you whack in your new SSD.

The drives are currently available in 64GB and 128GB flavours, although the lower chip-count on the 64GB drive makes it slightly slower than the 128GB unit. According to PNY, the 64GB drive can perform sequential reads at up to 100MB/sec, and sequential writes at 220MB/sec. Meanwhile, its 128GB bigger brother can read and write at 150MB/sec and 235MB/sec respectively.

These speeds aren't bad, but PNY is going to find it's up against some tough competition from new drives based on Sandforce's SF-1200 controller. A 60GB Corsair F60, for example, can be picked up for £140.53 inc VAT, and boasts almost double the write-speed at 275MB/sec.

Both drives feature TRIM support to maintain performance levels over time in Windows 7, and they're also equipped with 64MB of cache. In addition to the two drives already launched, PNY also says it has a 256GB version in the works.

PNY's new Optima drives come with a three-year warranty, and cost £113.50 inc VAT for the 64GB version and £212.64 inc VAT for the 128GB unit.