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OCZ Apex 120GB SSD OCZSSD2-1APX120G E-mail
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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Apex 120GB SSD OCZSSD2-1APX120G
Features and Specifications
First Look: OCZ Apex SSD
Apex SSD Internal Components
SSD Testing Methodology
Random Access Time Benchmark
Basic IOPS Performance
Linear Bandwidth Speed
I/O Response Time
Buffered Transaction Speed
Windows XP Startup Times
The Truth Behind Heat Output
Solid State Drive Final Thoughts
OCZSSD2-1APX120G Conclusion

OCZSSD2-1APX120G Conclusion

Benchmark Reviews begins each conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas we rate. The first is presentation, which takes product packaging into consideration to the extent that it provides adequate packing material and consumer information for an informed purchase. Since the American economy in the midst of an economic recession, many manufacturers are having to pull out some very creative ideas to help market their products. Add onto this the fact that SSD technology already carries a premium price tag, and you can understand why product presentation becomes important. OCZ gives the Apex series packaging a stand-out orange appearance, while at the same time delivering critical product information and specifications for the untrained consumer. It's worth noting that a post-production sticker affixed to the retail box denotes performance up to 200 MBps read and 160 MBps writer, which differs from the website.

Solid State Drives are a lot like spark plugs: you see them just long enough to install, and then they're forgotten. OCZ keeps production costs down with a uniform black painted enclosure for all of their SSD products, and uses an adhesive label for for product series and underside specifications. There isn't very much to expect from the appearance of Solid State Drives, because like their Hard Disk Drive counterpart they are meant to place function before fashion. To this end, I still wish manufacturers would begin using sealed plastic enclosures to prevent moisture or electrical shock damage.

Construction is probably the strongest feature credited to the entire SSD product line, and OCZ products have never been an exception. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses, but add to this a hard metal shell and you have to wonder what it would take to make this drive fail. If an Apex series product does happen to fail during the 2-year warranty period, end-users can contact OCZ via the company website or extensive support forums. Fortunately, there's also a toll-free telephone number for support or customer service questions (800-459-1816).

Based on the collection of benchmark tests we conducted, the OCZ Apex SSD performs at the top of our linear bandwidth charts behind only one other product. The MLC Samsung flash modules paired to an internal RAID-0 array used on the Apex series helps yield a 0.18 ms response time. ATTO Disk Benchmark tool reported an impressive 246 MBps maximum read bandwidth in our tests, and 174 MBps maximum write. HD Tach also reported high-performance results, with approximate bandwidth speeds reaching 179.5 MBps read and 133.3 MBps write. Linear full-sector read performance was a steady 167.7 MBps, but because of the RAID-0 architecture our linear write tests flooded the dual controllers.

As of July 2009, the OCZ Apex series is available at NewEgg and other popular online retailers. The 60GB OCZSSD2-1APX60G sells for $175, while the larger 120GB version we tested is offered for $305. A jumbo-sized 250GB Apex SSD is also available for $675. Keep in mind that OCZ likes to offer periodic rebates on their products from time to time, so watch for those deals!

In conclusion, the OCZ Apex MLC Solid State Drive offers an excellent balance of read and write bandwidth speed and an exceptional response time at a modest price. Second to only one other SSD product on the present market, the OCZ Apex nearly matches performance at half the cost. Many would claim that MLC SSDs aren't worth the trouble, but for desktop and notebook users the Apex series is perfectly suited for high-performance tasks. The dual JMF602B SSD controllers may not offer the large cache buffer we would like to see (and the upcoming OCZ Vertex includes), but the internal JMicron JMB390 RAID-0 controller makes all the difference in this Solid State Drive. I recommend the OCZ Apex series to demanding consumers looking for highest-order speed with near-instant response time... and excellent value for the performance it delivers.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ Impressive 246 MBps read and 174 write bandwidth in ATTO
+ Internal RAID-0 architecture brings value MLC near to premium SLC
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ Up to 250GB of SSD capacity
+ 2-Year OCZ product warranty
+ Very low 0.18ms random access time
+ Only $3 per gigabyte of SSD storage

Cons:

- Metal case is heavier and less durable than plastic
- Lacks integrated USB 2.0 Mini-B data connection
- Small 16KB cache buffer per SSD controller

Ratings:

  • Presentation: 8.75
  • Appearance: 8.75
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.75
  • Value: 8.25

Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

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