TheONbutton Durham Computer Services

Remote IT Support and Computer & Technology Help in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh NC


Apex 1

It’s fair to say that we are still waiting for SSDs to take over the world.  That’s partly due to pricing and also because most laptops shipping with them aren’t yet showing the earth-shattering benefits originally hoped for.

All the way from the lowly Asus EEE PC 2G Surf to the MacBook Air SSD, hopes of instant response performance and wild improvements in battery life have not quite materialized.  Why is this?

There are several reasons which mostly boil down to ‘you get what you pay for’.  In the SSD world, not every offering is ultra fast and low power.  The ultra fast end of the SSD spectrum has until recently been hideously expensive to consumers and OEMs alike.  This explains why not only the EEE Surf but also the original MacBook Air SSD failed to demonstrate groundbreaking performance improvements over traditional hard disk variants.

So should we still wait?  Actually I say no.  Apex temporarily installedThe way to do this is to find a computer you like and then find a great SSD to put in it.  That way you can find an ultra fast SSD bargain at one of the many e-tailers striving for your business in this hammered economy.  Best of all you pick the specs, not the OEM – and that’s crucial with the wide range of SSDs available at the moment.  Many things which say SSD on the box sound exciting but are not actually anything spectacular.

With Windows 7 RC on the horizon I recently bought myself a 230MB/sec read OCZ Apex 60GB SSD for $149.  By comparison Ars Technica benchmarked the Rev A MacBook Air SSD at just under 50MB/sec.  My EEE and Acer Aspire One never even came close to 50MB/sec, let alone a wild 230MB/sec.  Until recently 230MB/sec reads have been simply unattainable.  After finding a free SATA port (as you can see my computer is a spaghetti of wires – do not mimic my setup) and the customarily breezy Windows 7 install, this thing simply flies.  Random file and application access is really really fast, even on my ancient single core Pentium 4.

It’s a great time to look for a fast drive, prices have fallen and some great spec SSDs are going cheap.  On a per GB basis they’re still very expensive, mine cost the same as having two 1TB spinning drives in a RAID setup.  But if you choose wisely the performance gain is huge.  I just hope the interior of your computer is a little more organized than mine!

Neil Berman


May 24, 2009 - Posted by | Computing, Hardware, Reviews | , ,


  1. Nope, my wire collection looks just like that. Do you know anything about it’s power consumption or it’s windows experience index? Nice blog by the way.

    Comment by Ruben Larsson | Jun 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. @Ruben: My Windows Experience Index is not representative of the true performance of the Apex as I have an old SATA-150 motherboard and the Apex would perform best with SATA-300. For the record the Apex gets a 5.9 rating on my system, I believe Windows 7 goes up to 7.9.

    BeHardware has tested the Apex’s power consumption to be 5.5 watts under load and 2.4 watts at idle.

    Thanks glad you like the blog, keep reading :-)

    Neil Berman

    Comment by theONbutton | Jun 1, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thanks! I also use the older SATA-150 so I guess the rating more or less applies to my setup as well. Seems a bit powerhungry though but at those speeds I guess it’s acceptable. Wouldn’t put it in my laptop though.

    Comment by Ruben Larsson | Jun 2, 2009 | Reply

  4. @Ruben: Yes you are correct, as with hard drives it is equally important to check the power ratings of SSDs before choosing a particular model for a laptop. All SSDs are not equal, even though many people believe they are all super-fast and low power :-)

    Neil Berman

    Comment by theONbutton | Jun 2, 2009 | Reply

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