Things move in real time around here. Just yesterday we published an article detailing the differences between SandForce's SF-1200 and SF-1500 controller. We also pointed out that the mass production firmware for the SF-1200 controller (v3.0.5) caps 4K random write performance on all drives except for OCZ's upcoming Vertex 2. The only problem (aside from the obvious) is I had no way of determining how much of a real world impact the lower 4K random writes would have on a SF-1200 drive. Until today that is.

The Agility 2 is OCZ's standard SF-1200 SSD, using the same firmware that's been made available to all of SandForce's partners. The performance of this drive should tell us what we can expect from all other SF-1200 drives on the market. My Vertex 2 sample won't be here until next week.  I also received a reference SF-1200 drive from SandForce to verify the performance results.

The drive just arrived this morning and I snapped some shots of (and took it apart) for a quick This Just In post before I got to testing. As a reminder, these posts are designed to give you all a glimpse into what is dropped off at our doorstep on a regular basis. The full review will follow.

Observations? OCZ bundles the 3.5" drive tray we've seen with a few SSDs now. The Agility 2 PCB has a silkscreened location for a super cap, which indicates that the layout/routing differences between the SF-1200 and SF-1500 are negligible. You can catch these details and more in the Gallery.

Update: Our full review is up!

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  • vol7ron - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    I can't wait to see the outcome. Could it be that affordable, high performance drives are upon us?

  • 'nar - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    With the kind of leverage Anand has with the industry, I am very pleased that he has taken on the SSD movement. I feel that I have gotten more answers than I would have had a less "famous" analyst had taken this on. Kudos Anand! Keeping me coming back for more. I was not ready to take the SSD plunge until I read these articles, now I've got the OCZ Vertex LE and am glad I did!
  • capeconsultant - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    I agree with Banditworks. What good is speed if I feel like I have to back it up every 5 minutes due to poor stability :)
  • Ol'Bud - Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - link

    I'm MrClarke,
    I haven't used an HDD in more than almost two years.

    This is the first one I ordered:
    OCZ Core Series OCZSSD2-1C128G 2.5" 128GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    Order #: 86561631
    Invoice #: 38140508
    Submitted: 8/15/2008 10:23:20 AM
    Customer PO: Mr.Clarke's PC

    Stop being afraid of the new technological advances and quit over analyzing the data,
    Step to the plate and take a swing and hope you get a home run with the one that you choose.
    All new devices go through a lot of testing and refining of their internal hardware components and their firmware.
    Only one SSD came out of a disk check empty reporting that it was no longer a GSkill 128 GB SSD But a JMicron loader.
    It just needed to get a new firmware flash and that's all it took to get it back to full status and ready to store data and be used as a Boot Drive if I wanted.
    I have had more trouble with Western Digital and Seagate drives than any of the SSD's.
    And that's tough for me to tell you because I own SEAGATE ( STX ) Securities.

    I own 3 GSkill128's,
    3 OCZ 30's,
    5 OCZ 120's,
    2 Imation 128's,
    1 Patriot Torqx 64,
    5 Patriot Torqx 128's,
    2 Patriot Torqx 256's,
    And now lately 2 Crucial C300's that are 128 GB SATA III SSD's because I bought a mother board that supports USB 3.0 and SATA III 6.0GB/s

    Here's a thought;
    Since I can now buy the SSD's in SATA III and they are backwards compatible with SATA II (because right now I'm on a Gigabyte board that is only SATA II and it is Being driven by a Crucial C300 SATA III );
    Why would I bother now to buy an SSD that is only supported by a SATA II Mother Board anymore?

    Let the Dollars make sense to you all.
    The value is now in buying these things that are for boards that you are going to buy next,
    And if you do not buy a SATA III Mother Board,
    You made an error in judgment.

    When I run the benchmark test " AS SSD " on these drives it is the results that are revealing the performance.

    No more Slow stuff for you if you step out and take the swing and get a home run by ordering your own SSD.

    One of my SSD's was in a machine in Johnstown, Pennsylvania;
    It was on loan to a friend who is a Hardware Master at and he was benching and overclocking and making some very big improvements to his previous scores done with conventional HDD's.
    His house burned down on the last Sunday of November2009 @0615 in the Morning,
    He got 4 others out of the house and got his face burned and his hair caught on fire and was fighting the fire with a garden hose when the Fire departments arrived at the fire.
    He's a Fireman,
    All his Hardware was burned to a crisp.
    He and I spoke on the phone and he told me he found my OCZ 30 GB SSD in the Debris and he washed it off with Cascade and dried it out and polished the SATA II Signal cable contacts and the power connections and it booted a mother board up the street at his cousins house where he was now living.

    He insisted on replacing it,
    as the Insurance company told him to do it.
    He sent an OCZ S2 60GB SSD,So now I own one of those also.

    If you want to Google the house fire Google it and look for house fire Bayush Street Johnstown,

    Pennsylvania and get a link to the Johnstown Tribune Democrat and you can verify it.
    Chimney leaked hot gasses into the attic and ignited the structure,total loss.
    House is being rebuilt and close to being ready for occupancy.

    So the story is about an SSD that still worked after being subjected to more abuse than any HDD could endure and come back from and still work.

    Don't over analyze the stuff and get scared of making a move in the right direction.

    Prices are coming down and will continue to do so.
    How do I know?
    I'm the tightest shopper you will ever meet,
    It has to be a real good dollar value and FREE SHIPPING for me to buy it.

    Central Point,Or. U.S.A.
  • maxhdrm - Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - link

    Actually use of SSD's in the corporate world is far and few between especially among fortune 500 companies. Computer purchases are typically long term contracts containing the minimal specs necessary for the average user/employee. SSD's have yet to become adopted on a large scale by the PC/MAC/Business communities and therefor deemed financially unnecessary.

    Very little encryption takes place for the average user because User group policies are put in place to prevent access to sections of networks deemed unnecessary for the user. Truecrypt is more of an industry standard then bitlocker and far more robust. This is something that developers in an R&D unit or executives might use but for the average Manager/Supervisor with any kind of MBA, they typically have know clue on how to utilize this technology. Corporations also reserve the right to remotely scan a users systems if deemed necessary so again encryption is less likely.

    With the advent of wireless/wired network solutions for home/office use like HP & Drobo why would anyone need to partiton any drive anymore? I find it to be an antiquated idea that has outlived it's usefulness. Even laptops that have a single drive can access these networks on the fly. Portable Flash (thumb) drives that can encrypt data are also a solution such as the Iron Monkey. There is also (albeit still debated) Cloud computing technology. This Technology alone is a far more financially sound option for corporate expenditures compared to upgrading systems to SSD's & Truecrypt licenses. In essence partitioning SSD's or any Drive is simply an idea best suited for the past. In any event encryption can be hacked using brute force attacks anyway.
  • naviscan2 - Sunday, December 5, 2010 - link

    Being quite new to SSD tech pros & cons, I need some answers, please:

    * how important is flashing the latest firmware first, (even if there isn't any posted yet)?

    * is overprovisioning necessary with SF122x newest controller? And if so, doing it while partitioning with Win7 is OK? (say skipping a 10GB of valuable space?)

    * is secure erasing with HDDErase 3.3 (before AHCI setting) still necessary?

    * Knowing how damaging unnecessary writes are to NAND, how safe for the life of my SSDs would be - say - putting two new SF1200 SSDs in RAID 0 ?

    * Ditto, how damaging would be Defragging my SSDs (I am a defrag maniac ...)

    My first SSD is (not installed yet): Patriot Inferno 60GB (part #PI60GS25SSDR)
    My Win7 rig shows a Win7 PI of 6.0 due to 2 WD Raptors in RAID 0, with the rest in PI of 7.6, thus the decision to try a boot SSD...

    Any answers and in any order will be highly appreciated!

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