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Published October 15, 2009
They have had a great deal of success with multi-level cell (MLC) drives such as the Vertex we reviewed a few months ago. Priced at $230 for a 60GB unit and $380 for the 120GB version, these drives deliver an excellent balance between performance and capacity at their respective price points.
At the other side of the spectrum, single-level cell (SLC) solid state drives tend to sell for more outrageous prices. For example, those opting for the SLC-based Vertex EX should be prepared to spend well over $1,000 for 120GB of storage. Even the smaller 60GB Vertex EX costs an astronomical $660, meaning that consumers are paying an incredible $11 per gigabyte.
That is a hard figure to swallow considering its MLC counterpart costs a more reasonable $3.80 per gigabyte and today's conventional 1TB HDDs are fetching as little as $0.08 per gigabyte.
However as you may have learned from our previous SSD coverage and comparisons, you cannot simply compare SSDs and traditional HDDs on a cost per gigabyte basis as they are two very different animals.
As far as SLC vs. MLC goes, there are some notable advantages to SLC memory, specifically performance and lifespan advantages that are inherent to the way each type of memory saves data (here's a brief introductory video, but in a nutshell if you want nothing but first-rate transfer speeds and are willing to pay the premium, SLC based drives promise to fit the bill.
OCZ has been working on making this technology a bit kinder on your bank account. Their latest 2.5" consumer drive is known under the Agility EX moniker, and is touted as the most cost-efficient SSD based on single-level cell memory with a cost per gigabyte at around $6.65 -- or 40% less than the Vertex EX.
The Agility EX series features read and write speeds of up to 255MB/s and 195MB/s, respectively, 64MB of onboard cache and several optimizations to keep the drive at peak performance. In addition to this, OCZ claims the Agility EX offers improved total cost of ownership due to its superior write/erase cycle endurance. But at $400 for just 60GB of storage is the Agility EX worth your hard earned cash? Read on to find out.
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