OCZ Apex Series 250GB Solid State Drive Review
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OCZ Mixes up SSDs
I stated recently in my Twitter feed that by far the most interesting and controversial technology of the day is that of solid state drives. SSDs are both loved and hated by PC enthusiasts as they promise the world, often under deliver and then charge you an arm and leg for the results. The earliest solid state disks (and even some low cost ones for sale today) were downright horrible and are simply in production because they can sell them off the "sexy-factor" surrounding the world of SSDs. In recent months reviewers and consumers have gotten smarter when it comes to solid state drive technology, where it works best and where it doesn't and companies like Intel have pushed the levels of performance to new heights.
The Intel X25-M series really changed what many consumers thought of SSDs - until then most MLC (multi-level cell versus more expensive single-level cell) drives had been plagued with stuttering and other performance issues thanks to some less-than-stellar JMicron controller chips handling the I/O for the drives. Intel's custom-built logic was much improved and while the price was much higher than other SSDs of similar capacity, consumers were gobbling up the drives proving that the market was there for high quality drives. Needless to say the other drive vendors have been in "catch up" mode and have been hesitant to put out products that didn't stand a chance against the Intel X25-M series.
Even though companies like OCZ don't manufacture their own drives, they are still able to help engineer and design parts to resell. The new Apex series of solid state drives actually does us a JMicron controller, but a new version and in quite a unique way.
The OCZ Apex Series SSDs
We reviewed our first OCZ branded solid state drive back in April of 2008 - SSDs have come quite a long way since the day of that 64GB option running you $1100 and not performing much better than standard drives. The newest set of SSDs from OCZ takes a very different approach to the SSD dilemma by actually putting TWO controller chips inside paired together with RAID technology.
It is an interesting way to both increase performance and decrease write stutter issues that we were eager to judge the validity of.