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  • cactusdog - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Anand can you get hold of the new Corsair Force series 3, preferably the GT version to test?

    A lot of us are waiting for a non-ocz sandforce 6 GBs drive.
  • Reiker - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I agree! I would really like to know if there will be ANY 120Gb SF2k drive that is up to spar with the 240Gb version...

    Love the work you´re doing Anandtech!
  • Minion4Hire - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I'd like to see how much of a performance difference exists between the 60 GB and 240 GB Agility 3s. I don't need 240 GBs for my OS and my important apps, so I'd be more interested in two or three 60 GB drives in RAID 0.... assuming the drives aren't horribly crippled and I'm not bandwidth limited by my controller. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Yes, please. The Force drives look interesting.

    Also, in the opening you touched briefly on the importance of the 64GB drives, could you test them as well? Looking at the difference between the 240GB and 120GB drives, you can't help but wonder what the 64GB drives will end up like.
  • Dracusis - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Yeah, Anand's SSD reviews are the best, they really make me feel like I know what I'm buying into. Would love to see more SF-2200 series drives benchmarked and discussed. Some performance numbers/thoughts on the Agility 3 60GB & 120GB variants would be nice too as there's a lot of performance differences between the Vertex 3 120 vs 240.

    Having all the Corsair Force 3's new drives on here would be brilliant - It must take a hellish amount of time to do all of these benchmarks though.
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    A roundup of 60 GB drives would be nice: Agility 3, Solid 3, some Sandforce 2 (34 and/or 25 nm) and Crucial C300 and C400.

  • dhanson8652 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    +1 on the 60/64GB roundup. Definitely want to see those and the 120/128GB for any that don't fit like the X25V/M, Intel 320. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    What I don't understand is why we have reviews of the 240 GB Vertex 3 and the 240 GB Agility 3 and yet...

    The 240 GB Vertex 2 is nowhere to be found in the charts!
  • anonapon - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I'm really interested in a review of the Corsair Force 3, too, or of any new Sandforce drive which can play well with the IRST drivers, which the OCZ V3 doesn't seem to do with consistency. Reply
  • gayannr - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Does Intel Stand a chance ? Probably NO! :-/ Reply
  • theagentsmith - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Corsair Force F115 154 Euros (1.34€/GB)
    OCZ Vertex 2E 120GB 175 Euros (1.46€/GB) don't know if it's a 25nm model
    OCZ Agility 3 120GB 228 Euros (1.9€/GB)
    OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 259 Euros (2.16€/GB)
    Prices including VAT

    Sure these new generation is faster, but there is barely any difference in a every day scenario, definitely not a night and day difference like a mechanical HD and a good SSD, so I prefer to pocket the savings to buy a F115 to another PC :)
  • OCedHrt - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Are the numbers in the "OCZ Vertex 3 240GB - Resiliency - AS SSD Sequential Write Speed - 6Gbps" chart on page 9 wrong? They don't match the conclusion: "The 240GB Agility 3 behaves similarly to the Vertex 3, although it does lose more ground after our little torture session."

    A 2-3% drop on Vertex 3 versus nearly 15% on Agility 3 is hardly behaving similarly. And the Agility 3 barely recovers after TRIM.
  • Mr Alpha - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    For the TRIM test you fill the entire drive with incompressible randomly written data, and then TRIM it. It must take some time for the GC routine to actually clean up all those blocks. Does the time you wait before doing the after TRIM test affect the results you get? Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I think I understand what you're asking. You're wondering whether the time after the drive has been "deleted" and then left idle (for any amount of time) and thus allowed to engage in some amount of garbage collection, might be affecting the results. Certainly a possibility, which is why tests are run multiple times and averages reported.

    Great question, though. Thanks.
  • B0GiE - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I would like to see a 120Gb & 240Gb Shootout between the following:-

    Corsair Force Series 3
    Corsair Force Series 3 GT
    OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS
    OCZ Vertex 3
    OCZ Agility 3

    Pretty Please!
  • icrf - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Agreed. I'm particularly interested in a 120 GB SSD, probably SF 2200 based. I bought an OCZ Vertex 2 @ 60G drive for boot/apps last fall, thinking I could stay within that, and have failed, so that's moved to the laptop and I'm looking for a 120G drive for the desktop.

    If the Corsair drives can really keep their pricing, they sound the most appealing. Specs sound very Vertex-like with pricing very Agility-like. I just want to see how some of these smaller drives fare with fewer NAND to deal with.
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    The 240 GB Vertex 2! Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    "The original X25-M had 10 channels of NAND, giving it the ability to push nearly 800MB/s of data. Of course we never saw such speeds, as it's only one thing to read a few KB of data from a NAND array and dump it into a register. It's another thing entirely to transfer that data over an interface to the host controller."

    That's why I been saying they need to put a flash controller on the die. Imagine a dual sided DIMM with 8 NAND chips per side, each running ONFi 3.0 400MB/s. That's 6.4 GBps. zomg. It illicits a pavlovian response. 50 billion bits per second?

    If intel was really interested in capturing the portable devices market, they'd be doing this. The tablet and smartphone SoCs all have integrated lpddr controllers, and look how fast they are for being such low bandwidth and low power.
  • bji - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I wonder if it's practical to put the controller on the die. Flash dies are highly optimized for flash, not general purpose processing transistors. Flash is usually a generation or so ahead of CPUs in the lithography process used because flash is simpler in its layout than CPUs. Putting a controller on a flash die would imply using the same lithography processes used for flash to be used for processing transistors and I just don't think that's likely to be feasable. Of course, flash controller logic would likely be alot simpler than a full x86 core. But I don't think that changes the fundamental impracticality of using flash process technology to create controller logic.
  • bji - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Oh sorry I think I misunderstood you. You're talking about putting flash controllers on CPU dies, not on the flash dies, I think. In that case, I think that it's likely to be an inevitability. I predict that eventually permanent storage will look like DIMMs do now, like you said as sticks that you plug into slots in your motherboard just like you do for RAM now, and the controller will be built into the CPU to interface with them at high speed and operating systems will just see them as mapped to some memory range in the CPU address space. "Hard drives" will be a thing of the past, replaced by 'persistent memory'. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    A pair of 60GB Agility 2 costs a lot less and should mop the floor with these. We need sata 3 like we needed sata 2 in 2005. Reply
  • Arbie - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Other sites can provide useful comparative info on SSDs, but what really sets Anandtech apart is depth of knowledge and especially the custom test suites you have developed. They tell the story that I as a home desktop user need to know, and nobody else has anything like them. Reply
  • eric appla - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I wonder if OCZ did something to improve reliability. I have Vertex 2 and it is pain in the back part of my body. I have already third as I had to RMA two of them already and big reseller shops are reporting return ratios as high as 15% for OCZ vertex II series.
    I wish I never bought it really. Especially in combination with DELL laptop it looks like total fail.
  • bji - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Yeah I stay away from OCZ products because I have read far too many anecdotal stories like yours, especially in the reviews of OCZ products on newegg, to feel comfortable buying anything from OCZ. All manufacturers have a percentage of failed parts and that's to be expected; but OCZ always seems to have alot more reports of problems than other vendors. Until that changes for a while, I will not buy anything from OCZ. Reply
  • LuvKush - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I agree, we really want to see the corsair force 3 or GT's in action 120gb version and 240gb Thanks Anand. Been waiting for those reviews. Also is the 128gb M4 suffer the same fate as the ocz vertex 3 120gb version? as the nands are cut in half and lost performance too? I have the crucial m4 128gb and would love to know if the performance loss is as bad as the 120gb vertex 3 is to the 240gb vertex 3. Thanks again! Reply
  • StuffOfInterest - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I'd like to see the 60GB Agility benchmarked in a Z68 Smart Response Technology (SRT) configuration. The early tests of SRT showed quite a few tradeoffs between R/W performanc and capacity. Having a SATA-III drive right at the size max for SRT could provide for an interesting comparison against Intels 311 which was designed specifically for SRT. Reply
  • iwod - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Sequential read performance is lower than the Vertex 3. The 240GB Agility 3 performs more like a 120GB Vertex 2 than its 240GB sibling.

    Shouldn't it be 120GB Vertex 3?
  • iwod - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    It would be much more interesting to see how 60GB perform, especially against the Crucial M4 64GB SSD. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I don't understand why this isn't included in the charts, particularly the current "E" model with 25nm 64-bit NAND. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    In fact, there isn't a single Vertex 2 drive in these charts. It's bizarre.

    People would like to see how the 240 GB Vertex 2 fares against the Vertex 3.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    The devices shown in the table need to be kept small to keep the tables reasonably sized.

    Fortunately for you however, the bench section of the site allows you to setup your own comparisons. Anandtech doesn't appear to have ever benched the 240gb Vertex 2, but you can compare eg the 100GB vertex 2 to the 120GB vertex 3:
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    The 100 GB is pretty useless for comparison.

    The chart can certainly be larger, and the 240 GB Vertex 2 makes good sense for this review!
  • sequoia464 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Agreed on the Force 3, be nice to see them reviewed early. Still looking for that review on the Samsung 470's also. Reply
  • Stargrazer - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    It's a shame that most reviewers ("everywhere") still tend to only review the ~256GB versions, skipping the far more affordable (and thus far more realistic options for most users) ~128GB versions. I understand that you don't always have control over which versions you're sent, but there's *still* no review of the 120GB Intel 510, which means that there's also still no real comparisons to the Vertex 3 120GB's competitors.

    It becomes even more ludicrous when you look around the web for reviews of the Vertex 3 Max IOPS, and everyone is reviewing the 240GB version, concluding that "well, the Max IOPS version is a bit faster in some cases, but generally rather similar to the normal version". Well, *duh*! Given that the Max IOPS version uses 3xnm Flash instead of 2xnm Flash, you'd think that people would be interested in looking closer at the 120GB version, since that's the one where you'd expect the most significant differences. There's a potentially very interesting product out there, and all the "big" reviewers are ignoring it because they're too busy looking at the version that ("regular") people aren't going to buy (to the same degree) anyway!

    I understand that companies prefer that reviewers look at the bigger versions because they tend to be "better", but this is getting ridiculous. Have you tried looking for review sites that have reviews of all the "current" ~128GB SSDs? They're not exactly common.
    Seeing as there are lots of people out there that are far more interested in ~128GB SSDs than ~256GB SSDs, don't you think it'd be interesting if *someone* would actually show them what the playing field looks like?

    You're pretty much the most respected SSD reviewer out there. Is there any chance that you could make a stand and *demand* to also be given ~128GB versions if they want you to review the ~256GB versions? If they don't comply, just buy the ~128GB version for yourself, and refuse to review the ~256GB version.

    This lack of ~128GB reviews is getting rather frustrating...
  • jensend - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I wholeheartedly agree with this, and would add that other capacities at least down to 64GB need reviews as well. Everybody wants to send the reviewers their top-of-the-line stuff, but most folks in the real world aren't in a position to shell out $300 or more per SSD. I imagine different controllers have different scaling patterns- making a purchase decision based on reviews of high-capacity SSDs seems to me to make no more sense than making a decision about which low-end video card to get based on reviews of the single-PCB dual-GPU monsters.

    Please, Anand, make a concerted effort to include more lower-capacity SSD reviews.
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    To a certain extent tech sites are beholden to what they receive. When a new product is released, companies do want to show their best foot forward, so they send the best looking product. Add to that the time that it takes to run through a full test suite on each drive and you can imagine what it would take to review every iteration of every drive.

    Stay tuned though, AT's always trying to do as much as it can. Keep the comments coming.
  • Stargrazer - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - link

    I fully understand that it is in the manufacturers' best interest to show their products in the best possible light. However, this is not in the best interest of the *consumers* that want to buy ~128GB SSDs. As jensend says, it's quite possible (even probable) that different controllers scale differently, so since "everyone" reviews the ~256GB versions, there's simply no data available for comparisons (aside from the numbers posted by the manufacturers themselves). To make things worse, tests from different sites are often not directly comparable, so even if Site A reviews the ~128GB version of Drive 1, and Site B reviews the ~128GB version of Drive 2, you often can't even compare the test results. This means that it's often really hard to get comparisons of the drives you're interested in.

    A few weeks ago, I was looking for reviews of the ~128GB versions of the Vertex 3, the Intel 520, and the Crucial C300 (and possibly one more, I can't remember at the moment). I found *one* site that covered all of them. In French. And those were "big name" SSDs. In my eyes, that means that there was *one* review site at the time that had even an *adequate* (it was actually quite good too, even though I needed translation) coverage of ~128GB SSDs. The state of the consumer-focused SSD reviews is simply abysmal (the extreme case must be the sites that review only the 240GB version of the Vertex 3 Max IOPS. That's just... pitiful. In that case, the interesting shift in performance is for the 120GB version).

    Yes, that means that I consider AT's coverage of ~128GB SSDs to be *less than adequate* (to be adequate, you need to at least participate!). AT has an absolutely fantastic coverage of the theory behind SSDs, and it is *great* that they covered the 120GB Vertex 3, but without being able to compare it to its competitors, what good is that? All we can do is make educated guesses, and there's not even enough data to make a *good* one.

    That's sad, given that far more people seem to be interested in buying ~128GB SSDs than ~256GB SSDs (unless I'm mistaken in that assumption).

    And yes, running benchmarks on extra drives obviously takes time, but while SSDs have far more manufacturers out there than for instance the GPU business, sites tend to have no issues with covering lots and lots of different models from each GPU manufacturer. It seems like the workload should pretty much even out when you consider the actual number of products reviewed.

    Also, what do you think the reaction would be if review sites suddenly only covered the very high end GPU products out there? Unthinkable, right? So why is it apparently ok for SSDs?

    Bah. It's disgusting.

    You'd think that at least someone would attempt to have a good coverage of the smaller SSDs, just in order to get the page hits from the people who are interested in them. That should be quite a few people...

    Come to think about it, how sad is it that I feel the need to say that it's "great" that a site covers a 120GB model of a drive? Shouldn't that just be "normal"?
  • Stargrazer - Thursday, May 26, 2011 - link

    I found the french article I mentioned:

    They compare:
    The ~128GB versions of: the OCZ Vertex 3, Crucial M4, Intel 510, Intel 320 (that's the one I forgot), Crucial C300, Corsair F120, Intel X25-M and G.Skill Falcon2,
    As well as the 256GB versions of: the OCZ Vertex 3, Crucial M4, Intel 510, Crucial C300,
    and the 300GB version of the Intel 320.

    That's the only comparison I've seen of current-gen ~128GB SSDs.
    Other sites (including AT) just show small parts of the puzzle, if even that.
  • antcasq - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    What happen to OCZ Onyx 2? It supposed to be cheap (http://www.tomshardware.c...Force-MLC-TRIM,11390.h... however it was almost impossible to find it in the market and it was canceled (http://www.ocztechnology....s/end_of_life/flash_me...

    Now they want to sell us Agility 3? I rather buy the cheaper Onyx 2 if it really existed at all!
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    You might be interested, then, in the Solid 3 series. This seems to be the successor to the Onyx series, and is targeted at smaller sizes and costs. Reply
  • swaaye - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Well I guess we're in for a few year wait yet before SSDs get cheaper. Yikes. :) Come on brilliant process engineers!!! Reply
  • jb510 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    If I write 100 MB of compressible data to a SF drive does it use 100MB of space? Ie is it stored compressed or is that just for when it's going through the controller.

    If I compress or encrypt my entire drive on the fly (several utilities exist to do this) how does that affect performance?
  • tecsi - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    We need to include the $135 60GB and $230 120GB Agility 3s to review. The $500 240GB is clearly a great performing product. But expensive. We need to understand what performance hits, other than capacity, we would take by going with the lower cost devices.

    Presumably the 60GB and 120GB Agility 3s will ship in much higher volume, so it important to include them in the performance charts.
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    It is logical to expect that the difference in speeds between the 240 GB Agility 3 and the 120 GB Agility 3 will mirror that of the respective Vertex 3 drives, since the structural changes are the same (two die per device vs one die per device). In real world usage, this is likely to be noticeable in some instances but not groundbreaking. Reply
  • seapeople - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    You really must not have been very confident in your AnandTech 2011 Storage Bench if you didn't think you'd have to debut it by MAY.

  • MilwaukeeMike - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - link

    That block of text describing the Storage Bench has been pasted into a bunch of reviews. Read some others and you'll see it. I don't know when it first showed up, but it was a few months ago, maybe even last year. Reply
  • ssd123 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Too bad that OCZ is more interested in time-to-market than making reliable products.

    Check out their forums; there is no end of problems with their drives. I've personally experienced it with their Vertex 2 that would blow away my boot partition every 2 weeks or so. The replacement V2 drive they provided had the same problem.

    The solutions they propose to unlucky customers range from updating BIOS, changing registry settings and updating drivers. Often, none of these fixes end up making a difference.

    I love the performance of the OCZ drives, when they are working.

    Unfortunately they do not deliver on the basic requirements of storage devices: they need to read and write data reliably.

    I'm no Intel fanboy but I have to admit their SSDs are rock solid: they install like a regular drive and just work. No registry tuning, no driver issues, no bios problems.

    OCZ has a great forums and a very engaged online community that's more than willing to help; it's a shame that they are so busy...
  • sanguy - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - link

    We're in the same boat - we want to use Vertex 3 (and prior Vertex 2) for one of our applications that really benefits from SSD performance but the reliability and support OCZ provides is dismal.

    We're using Intel G2 and G3 drives and while not as fast as the Vertex 2/3 they have been 100% reliable with ZERO issues with several hundred of them deployed.

    So I love it when I see people bashing Intel - but I'd gladly give up a bit of performance for my storage to be non-volatile ;)

  • tecsi - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - link

    We need to see performance numbers of not only $500 240GB Agility 3, but also $135 60GB and $230 120GB.

    These are clearly economically options for boot/app drives in desktops.
  • tecsi - Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - link

    We need to know how the $135 60GB and $230 120GB Agility 3s fare vis-a-vis their larger, but much more expensive, $500 240GB brother.

    Both the 60GB and 120GB should provide ample capacity for a boot/app SSD.

    This would really complete the picture.
  • Nicolas Pillot - Friday, May 27, 2011 - link

    Seeing Vertex 2 120G and Agility 3 120G at the same price, which one should i buy ?
    BTW : no sata 3 motherboard at the moment, so choice shouldn't be based on it.
  • DanaG - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    I sure hope the Agility/Vertex 3 drives are more reliable than the Vertex 2 is. I had one fail two weeks ago, and then the replacement I got last Wednesday failed on Saturday. I believe it happened when we had a momentary interruption in power. The laptop and secondary-bay HDD are fine, and the drive kept working until I shut it down; once I did so, the drive became totally unresponsive.

    The drives also can't handle ATA Password properly:

    From the forums and Newegg's reviews, it looks like plenty of other people have similar issues. For comparison, I've had zero issues with my old Indilinx drive. I like the performance of the Vertex 2, but I don't feel confident in the reliability of any Sandforce drives now.

    Anand, can you please talk to the OCZ people about these sorts of things?
  • cactusjuggler - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    Firstly, I really appreciate AT's in depth reviews. That said, I absolutely agree with DanaG, and I don't see reviews addressing the reliability of these drives--particularly SandForce ones.

    I'm pricing out two new computers at the moment, and have been surveying the SSD landscape. If I made a buying decision purely on this review and others that focus on performance I'd already have ordered a Vertex 2 or the like, but after reading enough about failed drives, there's no way I'm buying anything with a SandForce controller for a good long time.

    Based on the sheer number of anecdotes I'm seeing I find it odd that reviews aren't even mentioning the issue of reliability. 6 out of 10 of the most recent comments on Newegg for the OCZ Agility 2 are complaining about outright failure (in some cases replaced drives also failed), or major problems using the drive.

    That sort of track record is embarrassing in a retail product, and really makes me wary about the reliability of the technology overall. Compounded with the apparent fact that data on a bricked drive is irretrievable in many (the majority?) of cases, and you really have to think twice about using one.

    Given all this it's kind of amazing, and downright laughable, that some of these drives are supposedly targeted at enterprise level customers.
  • rajeanand - Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - link

    For all those looking for a Corsair Force 3 review, the first on is now online:

    Seems performance is very similar to the Agility3 reviewed in this article, although the Force 3 reviewed in the article is a 120GB
  • curiousincal - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    Can tell me the preconditioning for the random read test and the preconditioning for the random write test used here?

  • johan008 - Thursday, January 26, 2012 - link

    Mine died after 4 months. OCZ used "unauthorized reseller or warranty not transferable" to stop all the claims. I was problem ticket no: 240 526 and it keep rising fast. See OCZ discussion forum before you buy as these SSD from OCZ are still very unstable. Reply
  • jdtwoseven - Wednesday, August 01, 2012 - link

    I've had three OCZ SSD products, including one of these Agility 3 240 gb SSDs, and I've ended up having to RMA each one of them. That is a terrible record of reliability for the drives. The amount of time that it took to get a replacement was also painfully slow. Not good. Buy a Crucial M4, which is what I did while I was waiting. The Crucial M4 is fast, and I've had no problems at all. Reply
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