Friday , 28 November 2014
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OCZ Agility 3 240GB SATA 6Gbps SSD Review – SATA 3 Performance at a Great Price

Our review today is going to concentrate on OCZs latest release of the OCZ Agility 3 SATA 3 240GB SSD and do somewhat of a comparison between this and other drives to include OCZs own Vertex 3 and Vertex 3 IOPS.

The question fresh on everyone’s mind right now is definitely that of why would OCZ market another SSD with the same SandForce 2281 processor and similar configurations after just releasing the Vertex 3 MaxIOPS which was already very similar to the Vertex 3.

Simply put, OCZ is in a position that they believe the best choice for consumers is one where they can find a SSD that specifically suits their needs.  The meat and gravy of their concoction is the Vertex 3 which has a ton of success in only two months except for one area where they seem to be having a great deal of difficulty.  They simply can’t keep them in stock.  Their last entry was the Vertex 3 MaxIOPs and is geared towerds users that require greater transactional throughput, which, in human terms, means that these might those looking for server use but not quite being at that full fledge enterprise level.

Lets face it, the MaxIOPS was a nice entry because it does the same as the former ‘Gen 1′ Pro versions which had 27% over provisioning but without the massive overhead.  In fact, in doing our latest comparison check, the Vertex 3 MaxIOPS was listed at $20 cheaper than the Vertex 3.  And then along comes the OCZ Agility 3.

INTRODUCTION AND PRICING

The OCZ Agility 3 enters the market in 60GB, 120GB and 240GB capacities which means that OCZ has just struck another milestone, in that, this is the first 60GB SSD we have seen with the SandForce SF-2200 series processor.  This will be a welcome addition to many that believe that the SSD is great for a boot drive while the hard drive is there for storage and capacity.  Throw in the new mSATA integrated motherboards that utilize Intels Smart Response technology with small mSATA SSDs being used to cache large hard drives consumer offerings expand yet again.

The key to the Agility 3, however , is the price as we just did a quick check at early availability and found the 120GB version at $209 compared to the Vertex 3 at $299 and the MaxIOPS at $309.

Similarly, we found the 240GB Agility 3 at $509 whereas the Vertex 3 was $559 and, if you would believe it, we found the MaxIOPS at $549.  I consider my uses carefully if I was looking at a 240GB SSD but at a $90 savings there wouldn’t be a second thought with respect to the 120GB model.

Remember, these all have the same SandForce processor within and ‘similar’ specifications.

PERFORMANCE IMPLICATIONS

The difference between the Vertex 3 comes by way of performance with the Agility series having 525MB/s read and 475MB/s write for the new 60GB addition followed by 525MB/s read and 500MB/s write for the 120 and 240 capacities.  This is a drop from the Vertex 3 which advertises 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write for the 120GB and 550MB/s read and 520MB/s write for the 240GB version

IOPS take a hit as well with the 60GB specified at 10000IOPS read and 50000IOPS, the 120GB at 20000/50000IOPS and the 240GB at 35000/45000IOPS, all at 4k aligned.  The Vertex 3, on the other hand, boasts 20000/60000 for the 120GB and 40000/60000IOPS for the 240GB version.

So whats all of this mean to the common user that has no specifiic need to be consider and that just may be moving up from a hard drive?  Absolutely nothing!  Even the experts will not be able to tell the difference between the Agility 3, Vertex 3, V3 MaxIOPS or any other SSD in typical every day use. The reason for this is that the difference we see when moving from the hard drive to the SSD comes in the form of disk access speeds, for the most part, and small 4k random write disk access. We will get into a bit more detail later.

One thing we particularly enjoy seeing from OCZ now are complete product Data sheets as we have referred to with the Agility 3, Vertex 3 and V3 MaxIOPS.  We are very impressed with the transparency seen from OCZ as they account for such things as capacity calculations, performance and benchmarks in their Data sheets now and they even go so far as to describe test systems and their configuratiion of IOMeter 2008.  They even provide AS SSD benchmarks and, wait a minute….  Thats our job!

PHYSICAL COMPOSITION

The OCZ Agility 3 family is a ‘SandForce Driven’ family through and through as they utilize the ne SF-2281 processor.  The difference we will see from the Vertex 3 to the Agility 3, however, is that the Agility 3 utilizes 16 modules of 25nm Micron asynchronous NAND modules (8 on each side of the PCB) whereas the Vertex utilizes synchronous NAND which has better performance and is more expensive.

Each module is of 16GB capacity for a total of 256GB, however, present day SandForce drives (hint hint) utilize over provisioning to retain the performance and durability and, along with formatting, the available user capacity is reduced to 224GB.

Pg1 – Introduction, Price and Characteristics

Pg2 – Test Bench and Testing Protocol

Pg3 – Preliminary Benchmarks (ATTO, Crystal Diskmark and AS SSD)

Pg4 – HDTunePro Benchmarks

Pg5 – PCMark Vantage and Final Thoughts

FOLLOW OUR FORUM DISCUSSION

About Derek Tokar

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