Portable Storage Carried to Excess

Walton Chaintech Apogee 64 GB

Apogee is Walton Chaintech’s brand for memory modules, and it is now also used for flash SSDs. The Apogee SSDs are available at 32, 64 and 128 GB capacity points, and are based on either MLC or SLC flash memory. We received a 64 GB 2.5” MLC model, which is the reason for the poor write performance. We measured up to 111 MB/s on reads, but as little as 27 MB/s on writes—that’s only a fraction of the 149 to 89 MB/s promised on the Walton Chaintech website, and it’s even less than what USB 2.0 can support. Chaintech says that the SLC versions are faster, stating 163 MB/s for reads and up to 142 MB/s for writes. We are skeptical, upon looking at the results for our MLC-based sample.

However, the 0.68 W to 1.8 W power consumption is very acceptable, and the drive comes with a second interface: you can also connect it via USB 2.0. This is the main reason why we included it in this little roundup, as it can either be used as a system drive, or as a portable storage device. Thanks to its low power consumption, the device runs on USB power. Its weight of 86 g is approximately 15% less than what a conventional 2.5” hard drive would weigh.

USB 2.0 Performance

SATA or USB 2.0: The Mini USB port lets you hook up this drive to a plethora of possible hosts. All you need is a suitable Mini USB to USB cable (which isn’t included with the drive).

We looked at the Apogee SSD as a multi-purpose flash SSD, rather than as a drive that would serve as a system drive. For example, you could use it in a hot swap bay as a fast drive for your personal files on your PC. In this case, you would, of course, utilize the fast SATA interface, which provides up to 111 MB/s of throughput, as mentioned above. Whenever you need to travel, you could remove the drive, and hook it up to your notebook or other PCs using the USB interface.

We talk about the Apogee's SATA performance in our most recent flash SSD roundup and focus on the USB performance here. The drive reads at approximately 30 MB/s, which is what we’d expect, but it only writes at approximately 15 MB/s when using USB 2.0. Flash-based SSDs can definitely do much better than this.

Walton Chaintech ships the Apogee Flash SSD SATA II in this nice black box.

The bottom side holds the product label.