Solid-state disks (SSDs) are the future and with prices now dropping to a sensible level they are undoubtedly tempting buyers away from conventional mechanical hard-disk drives.
But, although the prices of 256GB SSDs are fast approaching the £100 price point, and 500GB devices are typically priced at between £300 and £400, they remain expensive when a decent 500GB mechanical hard-disc drive can be had for £35-£45.
An alternative is to use a low-capacity SSD - 32GB or 64GB - to intelligently cache frequently accessed files, providing near-SSD performance at a fraction of the cost. So, Computing put a 32GB SanDisk ReadyCache to the test alongside a 500GB Q-Series Toshiba to see how the two approaches weighed up.
After all, there are still some big question marks over SSD technology, especially when retro-fitting an SSD into an existing PC, rather than getting a nice man from Dell, Chillblast or Novatech to fit it for you in a shiny, new machine.
First, there is the question of capacity. While 128GB SSDs are becoming affordable, for many people that's not nearly enough storage, and dropping a few hundred notes on a half-terabyte SSD is out of the question, too (and still not enough for some of us...)
Second, there is the immense hassle of migrating the operating system and, possibly, everything else as well, over from the conventional hard-disk drive to the new device. Third, and perhaps most ominous of all, the technology still hasn't quite reached maturity in terms of reliability.
Apple, for example, was forced to recall a number of its MacBooks in 2012 over a shonky set of SSDs. And when an SSD goes "phut", it does so suddenly and catastrophically, with no prospect of recovering a byte of data.
At least if a mechanical hard-disk drive goes wrong there are invariably some warning signs first. Failing that, data-recovery specialists can get back much of the lost data if the jiggered disk happens to contain your university dissertation or that cure for cancer you've just worked out - as long as you cross their palms with sufficient quantities of silver, that is.
But... SSDs are small, fast, quiet and sexy. Their access speeds make computing fast and, for Windows users, at least, they could potentially overcome the problem of ever-lengthening boot-up times, the irritating pause while you wait for a simple menu or dialogue box to appear, and speed-up many applications used every day.