OCZ Agility 4 256GB SSD Review – Workhorse Performance and Top Value

ANVIL STORAGE UTILITIES PROFESSIONAL (BETA)

You may not see this for long (and its definitely not common) but you get a freebee simply for reading!  Over the last little while, we have been assisting with beta testing new benchmark software called Anvil Storage Utilities which is an absolutely amazing SSD benchmarking utility.  Not only does it have a preset SSD benchmark, but also, it has included such things as endurance testing and threaded I/O read, write and mixed tests, all of which are very simple to understand and utilize in our benchmark testing.

The newer version automatically tests with 100% incompressible data as one might see in movies, photographs and music, whereas, the original release tested in compressible data as we see in ATTO Disk Benchmark.

INCOMPRESSIBLE

COMPRESSIBLE

If any benchmark was capable of showing the true abilities of the Agility 4 with respect to write performan, we knew Anvil would.  We aren’t disappointed seeing low 4k seek times of 0.04ms, write IOPS of 80,000 as well as the 4k transfer speed of 87MB/s, however, we also knew that the drives true colors would show through with respect to read performance and, regardless of the data type in use, they are a bit low.

PCMARK VANTAGE X64 HDD SUITE

The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete. The simulations are as follows:

  • Windows Defender In Use
  • Streaming Data from storage in games such as Alan Wake which allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action
  • Importing digital photos into Windows Photo Gallery
  • Starting the Vista Operating System
  • Home Video editing with Movie Maker which can be very time consuming
  • Media Center which can handle video recording, time shifting and streaming from Windows media center to an extender such as XBox
  • Cataloging a music library
  • Starting applications

OCZ AGILITY 4 256GB VANTAGE RESULTS

For those who have been patiently waiting to find out about the Vantage results that so many rely on, you are going to need to sit down for this.  It is nothing we didn’t expect and, in fact, it is the reason that we didn’t even include it in the original Vertex 4 review.  Thus far in testing the Indilinx Everest controller family, we haven’t been able to achieve good results in PCMark Vantage.  The Agility 4 was no different, having achieved a very low top score of 27591 points with a top transfer speed of 243MB/s while testing in Media Center.

This is no surprise to anyone who has been following SSDs, and certainly no surprise to OCZ, but it does make one wonder if the difference is observable.  Actually, that’s why we are a few days late in getting this report out, having had the SSD in our hands for a bit.  We wanted to see if, in the normal every day use of a laptop, there would be any noticeable performance difference from the typical SSD and there was not.

A fact not discussed much in SSD reviews is that, in typical computer use, the speed we see is provided by the significant increase in access times when moving from a hard drive to an SSD where we see a very visible difference between the two. On the other hand, to see any difference between one SSD and another in typical use, one would have to have one heck of an eye to notice the difference when it is measured in tenths of a millisecond.

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