Avexir S100 LED SSD Review

Avexir's attempt to crowdfund the S100 only netted $2,100 out of the $50K goal, but the company was still able to bring the drive to market. We finally have the first LED SSD with a fighter jet theme in for testing.

The Avexir S100 has been on our radar for quite a while. Avexir first introduced the S100 to the world on the company's Facebook page in the form of an image with the LEDs shining, and a few weeks later the company released CAD-generated concept images. The first real product image came from a crowdfunding effort that we wrote about here.

Avexir touts the S100 as the first SSD series with LED "breathing" effects. To our knowledge, this is the first SSD that features LED lighting, but it's not a feature for everyone. The company takes component lighting to a new level; many of the Avexir memory products use LEDs to such a degree that you purchase the products for the lighting just as much the memory. The S100 lighting isn't as prominent as some of the other products from the Avexir portfolio.

The lighting effect has a bit of a boyish charm to it, which makes the drive itself look really good, but that's the only real positive feature. The premium design effort made this drive much taller than competing SSDs, so it is outside of the 7mm Z-height (thickness) specification. The drive also uses an older flash processor from JMicron that has a difficult time competing with modern TLC-based SSDs from other manufacturers.

Technical Specifications

Avexir released the S100 series in 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities. At the heart of each SSD is a JMicron JMF670H controller. Last year we wrote a detailed look at the controller with several different types of flash and discussed its future in the market. For the most part, the JMF670H controller has come and gone. All of the major SSD manufacturers have replaced JMicron controllers with Silicon Motion, Inc.'s SM2256, SM2258 or Phison's S10.

Avexir chose Micron's L95B 16nm asynchronous MLC flash for the S100. Many entry-level SSDs used asynchronous flash during the SandForce Era, but it still occasionally appears in our reviews with low-cost products. Asynchronous flash suffers a lower write speed than synchronous multi-level cell flash, even if the fab manufactures it on the same process node.

We're testing the Avexir S100 240GB model, which shares the same specifications with the larger 480GB, while the 120GB model has a lower sequential write speed. The two high capacity S100 SSDs feature 550MB/s sequential read and 460MB/s sequential write speeds. Avexir doesn't list the random performance or endurance of this series.

Users should only purchase this SSD for desktop use. The extra design aesthetics that lend the S100 its unique look also add to the thickness of the SSD. Most modern SATA SSDs are 7mm tall, and many new notebooks and Ultrabooks require the slim design. The S100 is 14mm tall, which is twice the standard height of most modern SSDs. 

Pricing, Warranty And Accessories

We failed to find the Avexir S100 at online retailers at the usual outlets in the United States or Europe. At Computex, where Avexir hand-delivered our sample, the company told us the drive is for sale in Asia but we may see it ship worldwide in the future. Users know Avexir primarily for its memory products, but the S100 is only one of the three SSD series that it has brought to market.

The S100 240GB retails for roughly $100 in Taiwan, where it is widely available in computer malls. Unlike the US, where most shoppers order online, Taiwan has several PC-specific vertical shopping malls. Three years ago, I ventured to the largest mall, and it featured roughly 100 strip mall sized stores in an eight-story complex. The mall was bustling with activity as shoppers eyed components in glass cases, and there were even full systems on display that users could take for a test drive.

The S100 series sports a 3-year warranty that doesn't appear to have an endurance clause. The drives ship with a desktop adapter bracket, mounting screws and a nice SATA cable.

A Closer Look

The Avexir ships in a full retail box and includes a rich accessory package, which is a rarity with most new SSDs. Avexir included a desktop adapter bracket, screws for mounting the SSD and a high-quality SATA cable.

If you are shopping for this SSD, you are likely more concerned with the look of the drive than its performance. The Avexir logo on top of the SSD, and the plastic on the edge, light up with a slight pulse-like glow. Avexir sells the drive in five fixed colors. Those include green, orange, red, white and blue. Users cannot change the colors after purchase, so be sure to order what you need the first time.

The lighting effect comes from LEDs embedded in a special plastic "Light Guide" channel. The light has a slight pulse to it rather than just a static, steady glow. The drive would complement any of Avexir's Raiden-Tube Plasma Lighting memory products in a PC.

Inside the SSD

Shoving a light board into an SSD requires a custom PCB and a dedicated connector for the lighting. I suspect this is what took Avexir so long to get the S100 to market. The drive uses a custom PCB with the JMicron JMF70H controller, Nanya DRAM and eight Micron 16nm MLC flash packages.

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  • g-unit1111
    This would look amazing in an NZXT H440 / S340 or any case where they show off the SSDs. But in a case that hides the SSDs I kind of fail to see the point of a drive with RGB lighting.
    1
  • Glock24
    Why on earth does this exist? It has non-standard height, low performance for it' s price and probably low endurance. Also, who need LEDs on a SSD? I know aesthethics are subjective, but it looks like something I'll give to my 3-year old.
    1
  • Gam3r01
    There's a reason it only earned 2,100 bucks out of 50k.
    Still entertaining how a company asks for consumer money to make a product, dosent get any, and still brings it to market huh?
    1
  • Brian_R170
    Hopefully, the crowdfunding support isn't an indication of how much Avexir overestimated the market size for this product.
    0
  • mll0576
    Uhhh how can you review a LED ssd without pictures of it's ONLY feature that makes it stand out??? DUUHHHH
    -2
  • CRamseyer
    The first picture on the front page shows it lit up.
    0
  • mll0576
    Anonymous said:
    Uhhh how can you review a LED ssd without pictures of it's ONLY feature that makes it stand out??? DUUHHHH


    Anonymous said:
    The first picture on the front page shows it lit up.


    Then the photographer should be fired - u can hardly see it.
    -3
  • joex444
    No, that's just how stupid the product is.
    0
  • sillynilly
    Pretty on the outside, ugly on the inside. Sums up my last GF.
    0
  • Virtual_Singularity
    "If you are shopping for this SSD, you are likely more concerned with the look of the drive than its performance."

    Precisely. Sums it up right there.

    "Hopefully, the crowdfunding support isn't an indication of how much Avexir overestimated the market size for this product."

    Maybe not. But one can hope.
    0
  • Arch_Angelos
    hey
    0
  • geckokceg
    I bought 2 480GB ones off the kick starter. They both have write errors and fail smart test. I can't even get windows to install them. I have emailed there RMA and help line server times with no response. They do look cool in a NXZT s340. I went back to the Samsung 840 pro's I had they work great.
    0
  • milli
    'The S100's asynchronous MLC flash acts more like TLC when it is in steady state. The JMF670H controller is the likely source of the problem.'
    'You might expect consistent sequential write performance with the Avexir's MLC flash, but that wasn't always the case.'

    It's asynchronous MLC. I think it's been established thoroughly with the V300 that the culprit is much more the asynchronous MLC than the controller. Asynchronous MLC is just very slow, no matter the controller.
    0
  • Virtual_Singularity
    Anonymous said:
    'The S100's asynchronous MLC flash acts more like TLC when it is in steady state. The JMF670H controller is the likely source of the problem.'
    'You might expect consistent sequential write performance with the Avexir's MLC flash, but that wasn't always the case.'

    It's asynchronous MLC. I think it's been established thoroughly with the V300 that the culprit is much more the asynchronous MLC than the controller. Asynchronous MLC is just very slow, no matter the controller.


    But... the pretty, shiny, blinky lights! Surely those are what matter most!? =P
    0
  • CRamseyer
    It is shiny with blinky lights. Sometimes shiny things make us do stupid things. The other day I bought a 370Z Nismo because it was shiny and had blinky things. I knew it had a poorly designed clutch slave cylinder design but I bought it anyway. Two days into Nismo-bliss the CSC went out and my clutch is stuck to the floor. Thankfully it is under warranty. Don't let your SSD clutch stick to the floor. :)

    GECKOKCEG - send me a message on Facebook and I will forward a contact at Avexir that can get your RMA squared away.
    2
  • gunbust3r
    So it only light up an ugly blue and the part that looks like smoked plastic one would imagine is the light up part does not? Wow, just wow. Oh and it performs like crap...
    0