Conclusions
Performance

Going into this review of the OCZ Apex series solid state drive, I had very little expectation on how the drive would perform.  I knew that previous MLC drives based on the JMicron controllers had fared poorly in a lot of benchmarks and real-world scenarios and even teased with the fact that this drive would have a pair of them inside didn’t really get me too excited.  That being said, I think the results from the tests we showed you here today are enough to change my mind and give the Apex series a warm reception.

The first obvious comparison for the Apex 250GB SSD is to the Intel X25-M 80GB SSD that has become the darling of the solid state market.  When it came on the scene it was simply worlds faster than anything else available and still will likely hold the crown of the fastest MLC drive on the market.  But the OCZ Apex drive, with its very unique dual-controller RAID-0 configuration, is able to compete in a way that no other JMicron-based drive has been able to thus far. 

In general, we found that the Apex SSD was able to outperform the Intel X25-M in terms of sustained write speeds though it was slower in sustained read speeds.  And even though the Intel drive was faster on the reads, it wasn’t always by a very significant margin and we found the Apex drive to be better than nearly all other storage configurations we tested against. 

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Your future lies with me…

So, is the OCZ Apex SSD the new king of the hill in terms of SSD performance?  No.  What it is a great performer that out paces every other low-cost MLC drive on the market using the JMicron controller; and even that should be enough to get a lot of attention.

Capacity and Pricing

Of course the other aspect in storage devices that we must take into a high consideration is its capacity and price; an incredibly fast SSD loses some appeal when you realize you can only put 20GB of data on it.  The OCZ Apex series of solid state drives will be available in three capacity levels:
  • 60GB (OCZSSD2-1APX60G)
  • 120GB (OCZSSD2-1APX120G)
  • 250GB (OCZSSD2-1APX250G)
You might be wondering why OCZ is using 60GB rather than 64GB and 250GB rather than 256GB designations: it’s really a function of the new JMicron 602B controller and its need to keep some cells “reserved” in order to help improve write performance compared to the original 602A-based drives.  So rather than get more complaints about an SSD only formatting at 59GB when someone paid for a 64GB drive, the new naming scheme addresses it up front. 

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The Intel X25-M SSD we used in our testing was the 80GB though now a 160GB model is available as well.  There are other 250/256GB SSDs available as well so the Apex drives will have some company at every capacity level.

As for pricing, the Apex drives are going to be a bit more expensive than some other similarly-sized drives but should be lower cost than the Intel X25-M drives it is competing with.  The 60GB model will retail for $209, the 120GB model for $379 and the 250GB model for $839.  Yes, that is a lot of cash for 250GB of storage but the real sweet spot right now is likely the 120GB version that sells for well less than half of the 160GB Intel X25-M price (currently selling for $889 or so).  If you have the budget for two then you could theoretically pair up two of those drives for 240GB of capacity at the same price. 

Final Thoughts

The OCZ Apex is a new take on the solid state drive that offers both high performance and the low cost of multi-level cell technology.  Does this drive have enough to completely unseat the Intel X25-M when it comes to raw performance?  Not quite, but it does offer enough performance and price/capacity benefit that I think a lot of users will find it more appealing in the long run.  If you wanted a new SSD for your laptop or desktop but were scared off by either the price or performance of other options, the OCZ Apex series is just what you are looking for.

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