Brian

OCZ Agility 3 and Solid 3 SSD Discussion

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While the talk of breakneck SSD speeds often dominates the headlines, there's still a robust market of buyers looking for SSDs that perform well but are a little more gentle on the budget. The OCZ Agility 3 and Solid 3 are two options designed for this market. While less expensive, OCZ didn't skimp, both use a SATA 6Gb/s interface and leverage the new SandForce SF-2200 family of processors.

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Prices in Germany, although the new ones are not available yet:

Vertex 3 120 GB (reference point): 230€

Agility 3 120 GB: 220€

Solid 3 120 GB: 200€

Agility 3 60 GB: 120€

Solid 3 60 GB: 110€

Crucial M4 60 GB: 100€

I think the 60 GB Sandforces look pretty tempting! Especially with their write speed being much higher than the 100 MB/s of the small M4.

MrS

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So what's the actual difference between these? Same controller, cheaper flash and performance that's artificially limited in the firmware? Using fewer channels / modules per channel / die per module / whatever?

The Solid series used to have a different controller, and the Agility used to be like a Vertex but with cheaper flash. And for some reason, the Vertex was often cheaper than the Agility, at least in the UK, presumably something to do with volumes sold. So now they've got three tiers based on the same controller? Seems excessive.

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I'm not exactly sure of the details, we emailed but haven't heard back yet today. I'd guess it's a combo of all you listed above.

I do find it a little interesting they didn't use an Indilinx processor for the low-end, guess they're not ready yet.

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I guess the speed reduction comes automatically from using lower grade flash. They'd still need to use all channels, though, as otherwise the speed of the 60 GB models would have to drop far more than what is advertised.

MrS

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I'm considering buying one of these for use as a portable external boot drive. If storagereview benchmarks one of these drives it would be really useful to know what the power draw is under SATA2 (3Gbps), as 2.5" portable enclosures often run at 3Gbps and take their power from USB or eSATAp. The USB 2 specification allows for 500mA at 5v, so 2.5W, and the peak power consumption of this drive is 2.7W, presumably under SATA3. If the drive isn't aggressive with garbage collection it will presumably draw less power under SATA2, and so be within spec when used in an enclosure.

There also appears to be a (firmware?) issue with the Vertex 3 that causes big problems on Linux & Mac OS, so it would be good to know if this problem applies to the Agility 3 as well. Details of the issue are in this thread on the OCZ forums: http://www.ocztechno...d-on-Linux-boot

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