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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.

Performance And Conclusion

PCMark 8 Real-World Software Performance

For details on our real-world software performance testing, please click here.

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The Avexir S100 240GB SSD managed to stay off the bottom of the real-world performance charts in every PCMark workload, but the drive landed near the bottom or in the middle of the chart during the majority of the tests. Heavier workloads allow the MLC flash to operate at higher-than-TLC performance, but that workload only makes up a small portion of daily activities.

We average the results of the tests and then present the data in this chart as throughput, so a higher number is better. The Avexir ranks right in the middle of low-cost 256GB SSDs, and the Plextor M6V and SanDisk Ultra II provide nearly identical results.

PCMark 8 Advanced Workload Performance

To learn how we test advanced workload performance, please click here.

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Earlier in the review, we mentioned the JMF670H controller uses an aggressive garbage collection algorithm. By quickly cleaning the dirty cells, the S100 can outperform the other products under some conditions. The S100 will recover faster than other SSDs when you transition from a heavy write workload to regular use. This test uses 5 minutes of rest time between each of the recovery passes. Many of the other drives need a longer period of time to shuffle data, so those products do not perform as well in the recovery stages.

Total Access Time

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The aggressive garbage collection scheme makes the S100 perform poorly in the heavy workload test. The drive is managing the flash, which is an internal background process that writes data, and it is also simultaneously writing the incoming data. Other SSD controllers use more than one (and sometimes even up to five) cores to handle the incoming data and background activity simultaneously.

Disk Busy Time

The disk busy time test reveals that the Avexir S100 240GB has to work longer than the other drives to complete very heavy workloads, but it manages to handle moderate workloads much better. It would be interesting to slap this drive in our notebook to measure power consumption, but sadly, it doesn't fit in our Lenovo Y700.

Conclusion

The Avexir S100 has always been a niche product; some will like it, and others will detest it, and that is even before we dive into the performance tests. We would like this drive a lot more if it shipped with a more powerful flash controller and synchronous MLC flash. It would have even been a better product with TLC NAND if Avexir used the right controller.

The JMicron JMF670H was never a great controller, and there is a reason why all of the other SSDs that used it have already moved to end-of-life status. Avexir paired a low-end controller with low-end asynchronous flash to save on component costs, leaving us to wonder how a company could make a product that looks this good and then stuff it with substandard components.

Avexir is not a very large company, so it does not have the long legacy of Corsair, Kingston or other large memory manufacturers. The company wants to be a premium brand, use premium components and sell them at premium prices. It's not that difficult to do with system memory; you choose quality components and get a great designer to tweak the aesthetics.

SSDs are different. The circle of component suppliers is fairly small and you have to scratch someone else's back to gain access to high-quality parts. Avexir doesn't move any high-volume products, so it has to source components from the spot market or simply take what vendors offer it. Many of the memory manufacturers have learned to team up with larger companies, like Kingston and Adata, to gain more SSD clout. The manufacturing cost is higher, but it is worth it because the quality of the components also increases a great deal.

The Avexir S100 is mainly just a pretty face with an ugly personality. Most of the people shopping for an LED-lit SSD will be gamers. Most gamers keep a lot of data on the boot drive, and that is the last workload that you should use with this controller and flash combination. At best, the Avexir S100 is an OEM SSD for systems that your non-gaming, internet surfing friend should use.

I have to admit that I was excited to get the S100. I've wanted to test one since the early CAD images hit the web, and I appreciate Avexir's effort and aesthetics, but I hope to see an updated version with better components in the future. 

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