Before we get into the meat of the review, let’s take a step back and level set some expectations and potential disclaimers. The purpose of the hard drive is to store data, and preferably one would like to be able to access and write that data as fast as possible, limiting the time it takes to copy files, load programs and boot Windows, among other things. There are some speedy traditional hard drives out there that do a great job of meeting this expectation, especially when in a RAID configuration. Most existing benchmark software was written with these drives in mind and scores do not always have real world use correlations. Using these to test SSD’s probably even further distances the scores from the real world user experience. In fact, there has been some controversy regarding results of some of the early reviews and how performance was judged. So, to be fair and provide the best information possible to you, the reader, included in this review are some subjective perceptions of everyday use in addition to the objective raw number benchmarks.
In addition, these devices are relatively new to the consumer world and have not had the benefit of development based countless user configurations over many years. Factors such as the motherboard chipsets, quality of cables and overall system speed can have a significant impact on performance. We may see updated firmware for various models come out over time to help tweak performance. In fact, the release of the Apex was delayed while OCZ worked out the best firmware solution so they could ship already updated. In summary, I’ll use the cliché but accurate phrase “your mileage may vary” disclaimer.
I’m sure there was a lot of eye rolling going on as soon as many of you read mention of the JMicron controller as it has, arguably unfairly, come under fire in many reviews as the cause of performance issues in earlier generation drives. The Apex uses the second generation version of the controller, and as mentioned, there are a host of factors that played into any performance issues, so place any biased feelings aside.
For this review I will be using Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit running on an Intel i7 920 CPU (@ 2.8GHz) with an Asus P6T Deluxe X58 motherboard and 6GB of OCZ Gold RAM. I will also be doing some tests with G.Skill’s Titan 120GB drive which basically uses the same configuration as the Apex drives so it provides a nice comparison.