Specifications, Pricing and Availability
For the most part the OCZ Agility 2 matches the OCZ Vertex 2 when it comes to published specifications. There is one area that is not the same between these two hyper fast SSDs and it can be found in the programming. The Agility 2 does not have the 4K High IOPS programming that the Vertex 2 borrowed from the enterprise class SF-1500 SandForce controller. Calling the Agility 2 Low4K IOPS isn't the case since the SF-1200 controller, even in vanilla form is still very fast and is able to kick some serious 4K ass when compared to the drives we were reviewing last year. Today we will look at the performance of the Agility 2 and see how it compares directly with the Vertex 2.
For most of our SSD reviews I try not to go into too much detail about the common facts that go with many of these products. The Agility 2 is in a sense OCZ's entry level SandForce SSD and more mainstream users will be reading these pages so we should touch on these facts for a moment.
SSDs are now regarded as being superior to traditional platter drives because they have no moving parts that cause delays in the data path. The memory isn't like what you have in your system RAM but the you can understand that system memory is very quick since the data is asked for and given without the need for a platter to spin around and a head to move into position to retrieve the data. SSDs act like system memory but also retain the data that is stored even when power is removed from the drive.
The controller in an SSD is mostly responsible for the speed in which a drive can read and write data. Solid state drives are now categorized by their controller like platter drives are categorized by their platter speeds. Some companies actually try to hide what controller is in their products by not listing them, when shopping for an SSD you need to know what category your drive is, knowing your controllers helps you pick the fastest drives for the money. Prices on SSDs have changed greatly over the last three months and somehow the fastest drives available are now some of the lowest priced.
SandForce, the company that designed the controller in the OCZ Vertex 2 and Agility 2 originally designed enterprise drives that were suppose to cost considerably less than all other enterprise SSDs on the market. They did this through propriety technology that eliminated an expensive DRAM cache buffer and made it possible to use commodity NAND flash memory that wasn't as exotic as flash memory previously used in SSDs. SandForce's design was so good that a consumer version was born out of the enterprise drive. This has led to extremely low cost (for an SSD at least) consumer drives that are very fast. These SandForce consumer drives are now driving the costs down and literally making most other consumer SSDs obsolete in both price and performance.
As you already know, OCZ has many retail and e-tail partners. Newegg is one of the largest and they have the full range of Agility 2 drives from the 50GB early non-extended class to the drive we will look at today, the Agility 2 240GB. When it comes to pricing we were able to find both the 50GB and 60GB Agility 2 at Newegg for 179 USD and the 120GB for 319 USD. Our sample 240GB Agility 2 is now below the 600 USD price point and can be found at Newegg for 629.99 USD after a $20 MIR.