Final Words

OCZ's Agility 3 is a mixed bag of performance. For typical desktop workloads and light usage, the Agility 3 looks a lot like a Vertex 3. It's only when you start mixing in data that's not easily compressed/deduped that the Agility misbehaves. As a general boot/application drive I'm pretty confident in the Agility 3's abilities, however those of you who work with (more than just play back) a lot of photos, video, music and file archives will want to spend the extra on the Vertex 3.

The Agility 3's viability in the market really boils down to its street pricing. The Vertex 3 is selling for considerably more than its original MSRP, assuming the Agility 3 does the same then I'm not sure I see a ton of value in the drive. However if the Agility 3 can keep to its MSRP, it may be a good alternative for those users interested in the Vertex 3 but put off by its price premium vs. the Vertex 2. Theoretically the Agility line should be able to hit Vertex 2 pricing (assuming the SF-2200 isn't much more expensive than the SF-1200) given that both drives use asynchronous NAND.

Drives just started shipping so unfortunately it's too early to tell how the Agility 3 will price in the market. If history is any indication the Agility 3 and Vertex 3 will be moving targets with the best buy depending on NAND pricing at any given point. Hopefully you understand the performance tradeoffs enough to know when to pull the trigger on the Agility 3 and when the Vertex 3 is a better deal. In short, if the prices are close go Vertex 3, otherwise the Agility 3 should be fine for most light/typical desktop usage.

I have to add that choosing a SF-2200 drive isn't particularly easy. Different configurations result in different performance levels even down to the number of chip enables per NAND device (not just the number of die). Now adding asynchronous NAND back into the mix definitely makes this harder.

TRIM Performance & Power Consumption
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  • 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 :)
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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

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