OCZ Agility 3 SSD review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 05/26/2011 01:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Final words and conclusion
The performance of the latest OCZ SATA 6G based products are each individually ridiculous really. Even the 'cheaper' Agility 3 has an incredible throughput, excels in IOPs performance and in fact remains excruciation close to it's bigger brother the Vertex 3. It is measurably slower though, but whether or not you'd ever notice that in a real-world usage situation we doubt very much.
Much like that Vertex 3 though the one thing that keeps popping back into my mind is the use of 25nm NAND flash memory. The write/program cycles before a cell dies has been reduced seriously. Still, even if I throw a heavy duty scenario at the drive, the SSD could last 5 years, maybe 10 years or even outlive me. But it remains an unknown factor and yeah 25nm NAND FLASH was designed to be cheaper to produce.
Next to that important difference in NAND Flash selection there's of the use of the series 2200 SandForce controller, and sure it's impressive. We stated this in all reviews as well -- don't get the impression that this SSD will read/write 500 MB/sec all the time and everywhere, it's the marketing behind these products that is dominating for a while now. These are the peak values, tests under very specific conditions with specific test applications. If the conditions meet specific requirements then that's where the drive can and without doubt will perform at that level. But two-three hundred MB per second, sure you can expect that, that's a fair real-world performance assessment. Now I can rant on and on about performance, but you have seen our tests, and well, I'll just let them speak for themselves.
The regular Agility 3 will be priced competitive, lower as the Vertex 3 series, right now we spotted these prices in EUR on the web, 60 GB 105 EUR the 120 GB costs 180 EUR and the 240 GB 400 EUR. Once availability goes up and there's decent volume available, we do expect these prices to fall even further.
Remember, this series 3 SSD deserves the right SATA III controller. Currently the best suited and performing controller is the native Intel SATA 6G controller to be found on all H67, P67 and Z68 motherboards. On the AMD side that's the AMD 800 and 900 series chipsets, though admittedly .. the Intel controller yields much higher peak numbers.
It's becoming a bit of a repetitive story with OCZ's SATA III (6G) range of SSD products, but it is as simple as this .. no product out there can match the performance (at this time) and being reasonably aggressive with the pricing, OCZ really might have a big hit in their hands with the Agility 3. Compared to a Vertex 3 I'd pick this one if the price is right, the difference in performance is something I could life with quite well, while saving some money.
So there you have it, the OCZ Agility 3 offers incredible performance at a more competitive price. The 25nm NAND Flash memory versus SSD lifespan, well the verdict isn't in just yet, but if you do the math based on very heavy consumer usage, it should not be worrying. That thesis flips around if you'd be planning to use it in a high traffic server or something. But even then it would probably last years.
If you are after pure performance in the storage segment then look no further, the Agility 3 series offers tremendous performance, and hopefully you can find it for a price that you find acceptable. An SSD is the best upgrade a modern PC can use, your operating system flies, there are no waits which you normally have with a HDD, there's no noise and hardly any power consumption.
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OCZ is about to inject an SSD into the market that is labeled Agility 3 SSD. What's the difference in-between Agility 2 and now 3 you might ask ? Well, two primary things really, controller and NAND flash memory type. Labeled with advertised speeds of of 525 MB/sec with write speeds of 500 MB/sec this product should be really interesting for many of you.
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