OCZ Agility 120GB SSD review

Posted by Wendy Robertson

 

Review: OCZ Agility Series 120GB MLC SSD
Reviewed by: Dee
Provided by: OCZ Technology
Model: Agility 120GB (OCZSSD2 – 1AGT120G)

OCZ Technology was kind enough to send us their latest "mainstream"
solid state drive for review, the MLC based 120GB Agility series. The Agility
series of drives have a 2.5 inch form factor, SATA2 connection and SATA power
connector. The Agility series can be fitted to a laptop with SATA hard drive support,
or as we have done for this review, the Agility series can also be fitted to a
desktop PC which supports SATA hard disk drives.

In this review we will test the performance and usability of
the OCZ Technology Agility series (MLC) SSD. Just a few months ago, we reviewed
the OCZ Technology Vertex series drive, and were very impressed by the
performance. The Agility series is based on the same Indilinx SSD controller
found in the Vertex series of drives, but uses different NAND manufactured by
Intel, so let’s find out how the Agility series drive performs.

OCZ Technology Company Information

I’m sure most CD Freaks members will be familiar with the
OCZ Technology brand name. OCZ Technology has been manufacturing high
performance, high quality PC memory and flash memory for many years.

More recently, OCZ Technology ventured into the SSD market
and has done more than most manufacturers to bring affordable and high
performance SSD drives to the mainstream PC user.

If you would like to find out more about OCZ Technology, you
can visit the OCZ Technology website.


Packaging

Box front

Box rear

Box inner packing

The OCZ Technology Agility series drives are packaged in an
eye catching mainly green coloured box. Inside the main box is a further box
and more robust packaging. The inner box is made from tough cardboard with foam
protection. The drive itself is housed in an anti static bag. There should be
no problem with the way the drive is packaged.

What’s inside the box

Now it’s time to take a look at the drive itself and what
the drive came shipped with.

The package contained the drive itself and instruction
booklet.

Now let’s take a look at the drive itself.

Drive top

Drive bottom

On the bottom of the drive we can see two labels: The main label
states the drive model number and capacity and that the drive was manufactured
in Taiwan. The second label has the drive part number and serial number. We can
also see the drive’s SATA power and data connectors.

Drive rear

On the rear of the drive we can see the SATA power and data
connectors. We can also see a two pin jumper terminal, which is used for
flashing a full version of the drive’s firmware.

Please note that, the flash jumpers are only required
when the kernel part of the firmware is updated. The drive can normally be
flashed with a normal firmware update, without the jumper or losing the data
already on the drive.

The casing of the drive itself is made of metal and has a
tough and high quality feel to it.

Now let’s head to the next page, where we look at the
drive’s features.

 


 

Inside the drive

120GB Agility PCB

Looking at the PCB of the Agility drive, the first thing we
notice is the drive is powered by the Indilinx Barefoot SSD controller. On
another chip we can see the drive’s 64MB of cache and that we can also see 8
MLC NAND flash chips manufactured by Intel/Micron.

Let’s take a closer look at the two main chips inside the Agility.

We can clearly see the main controller of the Agility is the
Indilinx Barefoot. The Barefoot utilises the power of an ARM RISC processor and
is highly regarded as one of the most powerful SSD controllers currently
available.

Above we can see the 64MB cache chip; the cache is configured
for write-back and helps to smooth the writing process.

Now let’s take a look at the NAND flash memory.

Our OCZ Agility review sample contained MLC NAND flash
memory, manufactured by Intel/Micron. The NAND flash memory used in the OCZ
Agility series of SSD drive’s are subject to change, and the NAND could be made
by other manufacturers later in the production run.


Specifications and features

We found the specifications of the drive at the OCZ
Technology website.


Drive maintenance features

MLC based SSD drives have an inherent problem, in that,
after use the performance will drop off. This mainly affects writing
performance, but you can also expect reading performance to drop off slightly
as well.

Why does this happen?

Sooner or later, every single cell in the drive will be
written to. When this happens a block of cells have to be erased, and any valid
data within the block has to be moved to a new block, before any new data can
be written to the drive. A traditional spinning HDD can simply overwrite a
sector, so doesn’t waste any time having to erase the existing data.

All SSD drives use "garbage collection" which as well
as taking care of drive ware levelling, also takes care of reworking the NAND
blocks to erase blocks that contain invalid (deleted) data. Some drives are
more effective at this task than others.

NAND Laundering

The nice thing about the Indilinx Barefoot SSD controller
is, the ARM CPU can be programmed with new features within the drives firmware.
From firmware version 1.30 and later. Indilinx has a feature called "NAND
Laundering", which is very effective at cleaning invalid blocks on the
Agility, and Vertex series of drives, thus ensuring that any performance drop
off is kept to an absolute minimum.

Indilinx Wiper

Indilinx Wiper is a utility for manually cleaning the
invalid (deleted) NAND blocks on the Indilinx based SSD drives.

How does this work?

Basically, it creates a large file on the drive, which fills
a large part, but not all of the free space on the drive. It then deletes this
large file and sends an (Indilinx exclusive) garbage collection command to the
drive, which then cleans all the deleted blocks on the drive, thus restoring
them to their "as new" state.

Indilinx Wiper can be downloaded
from the OCZ support forum.

Here is a screenshot of Indilinx Wiper in action. The time
taken to clean the drive can vary from a few seconds to several minutes,
depending on how fragmented the drive is.

Indilinx Wiper operates on the drive and cleans the drive
without overwriting any existing data on the drive.

ATA TRIM

ATA TRIM as an extension of the ATA command set. ATA TRIM
basically checks the file allocation table on the drive for deleted files. Then
reorders and erases blocks on the drive. The down side to ATA TRIM is, its
operating system dependent, and currently, only Windows 7 and the latest
distributions of Linux with the ext4 file system will support ATA TRIM.

ATA TRIM also requires the complete ATA stack to support
TRIM and also the SSD controller to support the TRIM command. The Indilinx SSD
controller inside the Agility and Vertex supports this feature, but as yet, is
not implemented in the firmware. This feature will be implemented in a new
firmware release when the ATA TRIM specification is finalised.

Sanitary Erase

Sanitary Erase is another tool offered by Indilinx for
cleaning their SSD drives. Sanitary Erase will wipe the whole drive clean, and
return the drive to as new condition. The problem with Sanitary Erase is that
it also wipes all data and the partition table from the drive. So use this tool
with care. 

Now let’s head to the next page where we will look at our
test PC and testing procedures…


Test machine

For this review we will be using a computer with the
following configuration:

Hardware:

The OCZ Technology Agility 120GB SSD was connected to an
SATA 2 port (ICH9R) on the motherboard of our review PC and all tests on the drive
were carried out with the drive connected to this connector.

AHCI mode was also selected for all drives in the BIOS of
our test PC, and all tests were carried out in this mode.


Test applications

To test the performance of the OCZ Technology Agility series
120GB SSD, we will be using the following test applications in this review.


Test procedures

We will start off our testing procedures explanation by
stating that we did not run many basic benchmarks on the OCZ Technology Agility
series drive. You may ask why we have run so few benchmarks?

SSD technology has moved so fast in the last year, that basic
benchmarks alone are now of very limited use, and don’t really tell us much
about performance and how the drive will behave in the real world. We have
therefore decided to show some basic benchmarks of the Agility drive, and will
compliment this with advanced benchmarks using IOMeter and AS SSD benchmark. We
will also show how the Agility performs in the real world with added real world
testing.

We should also state that all the tests carried out on the
OCZ Technology Agility series 120GB SSD were carried out on a fully functioning
operating system and applications installed on the Agility drive itself. So
these tests are not best case scenarios on a blank drive. These results reflect
the performance you can expect on a fully functioning Windows Vista
installation when using an OCZ Technology Agility series SSD.


Test drives

I would have liked to have also compared the OCZ Agility to
the Intel X-25M SSD, but I was not able to add this drive for testing.

The OCZ Agility SSD came supplied with firmware version 1.3


Drive preparation for running the tests

All the drives used in this review were in a "used
state
" with the exception of the OCZ Agility. To simulate a "used
state" on the OCZ Agility, we completely filled the drive with files then
deleted all the files, repeating this procedure five times.

As the two Indilinx based drives support the Indilinx
Wiper utility
, Wiper was then run before the start of each test.

Why use Wiper while conducting a review?

Wiper is officially supported by both Indilinx, and OCZ
Technology. The utility is freely available to OCZ Technology customers, on OCZ
Technologies official support forum. There are many reviewers who will argue
that they should test a drive as it comes out of the box, and Wiper isn’t
supplied in the box. That is a fair comment to make. However, we at CD Freaks
also believe in making our readers aware of every advantage they can gain from
any utility that can maintain the performance of any consumer electronics
product they purchase, or intend to purchase in the near future. We therefore
feel it is fair to use any utility that is officially supported by any
manufacturer in our reviews.

 

Where we use graphs in this article to display results, we
will use the following colours to make it easier, for our readers to see the
drive which we are reviewing.

 120GB OCZ Agility series SSD

 Comparison drives

 

Now let’s head to the next page, where we look at some
basic benchmarks…

Reading Benchmarks


HD Tune Pro

We present the graph below for comparison with other recently
tested drives.

From our limited number of test samples, we can clearly see the OCZ Technology Agility series 120GB SSD
is the fastest reading drive.


We present one more reading test to benchmark sustained
reading performance.

HDTach (long bench 32MB zones):

The result is pretty much in line with our HD Tune
benchmark.


ATTO disk benchmark

ATTO has become a standard tool for measuring the data
throughput of SSD drives. It measures the performance of reading and writing,
using different file sizes and block sizes.

Pretty impressive, the OCZ technology Agility series 120GB
SSD tops out with a maximum reading speed of 233.42 MB/s. Writing speed tops out
at an excellent 157.59 MB/s.


CrystalDiskMark 2.2

Crystal Disk Mark is quite a handy benchmarking application,
as it focuses on the file sizes that can cause a problem on a system drive.

No problems to report, and the basic 4K file performance is
very good.


HD Tune – Basic random access read

Random access reading performance is excellent.


Summary:

The sequential reading and writing speeds on the OCZ
Technology Agility series 120GB SSD are excellent and one of the fastest single
drives we have ever tested here at CD Freaks. The small file reading and writing
performance is also very good indeed.

Let’s head to the next page for our IOMeter test
results…..

 

I/O Performance

There is little point of having an SSD drive that has
blazing sustained reading and writing speeds, if the drive can’t handle reading
and writing of small random files. If you intend to use your new SSD drive to
store and run your operating system, then the drive must be able to cope with
the many small random files that Windows will write to the drive continually.
So we feel it is very important to test how many of these random files that a
drive can handle in one second. I believe that anything over 400 I/O’s per
second would be enough for most users running a consumer grade mainstream PC,
and should provide a smooth running system. But obviously, the more I/O’s that
a drive can handle, the faster the drive will feel and leave more headroom for
those huge multitasking sessions that users sometimes engage in.

The things that we should look closely at, are the total I/O
per second, average and max latency (response time in ms), and total MB/s.

Our first test involves creating continual 4KB files on the
target drive with IOMeter. We use a 4KB file size, as it is believed that
Windows will create and modify many of this size of file constantly in the
background during a typical Windows session.

We also tested using simulated OS boot patterns, and also a
Workstation simulation.


IOMeter 4K RW test – Total IOPS.

The OCZ Agility is slightly ahead of the OCZ Vertex, which
we were not expecting. A very good start. Also note how the OCZ Apex didn’t do
well in the test.

IOMeter 4K RW test – MB/s.

Once again, the Agility is the winner.  Of course we
expected this from the total IOP’s that the Agility delivered.

IOMeter 4K RW test – Average response time

Once again, the Agility wins, and the two Indilinx drives
are way out in front. Once again, the OCZ Apex did not show a good result.

IOMeter 4K RW test – Maximum response time

This time the OCZ Vertex wins, the Agility coming a close
second. Once again, the OCZ Apex is struggling.


IOMeter – boot simulation – Total IOPS.

The OCZ Agility and Vertex are very close this time, both
drives leaving the rest in their wake.

IOMeter  boot simulation – MB/s.

As expected from our previous result, the OCZ Agility and
Vertex are very closely matched.

IOMeter boot simulation – Average response time

We can see that the OCZ Agility just beats the OCZ Vertex,
but they are once again, very closely matched.

IOMeter boot simulation – Maximum response time

The OCZ Vertex once again has the lowest maximum latency,
closely followed by the OCZ Agility.


IOMeter Workstation 1 simulation – Total IOPS

At the start of the test run, the Agility is faster, but the
Vertex catches up near the end of the test run. Again, the OCZ Agility and
Vertex are way out in front.

IOMeter Workstation 1 simulation – MB/s

As expected, the OCZ Agility is slightly faster at the start
of the test run, with the OCZ Vertex catching up near the end.

IOMeter Workstation 1 simulation – Average response time

Again the OCZ Agility is the winner, but the Vertex is very
close behind.

IOMeter Workstation 1 simulation – Maximum response time

Again, the OCZ Vertex has overall the lowest maximum
latency. The OCZ Agility is once again, very close, and both drives are very
much ahead of the other comparison drives.


Summary

The OCZ Agility is the winner in our IOMeter test results,
but the OCZ Vertex is very close behind. Both these Indilinx based SSD drives
are way out ahead of our other comparison drives.

On the next page we will checkout performance using AS
SSD benchmark….

 

 

AS SSD benchmark is a new benchmarking tool, specifically
designed to test SSD drives. The application tests sequential reading and
writing performance, 4K random reading and writing performance.

AS SSD benchmark also tests 4K threaded performance. This is
very exciting, as this test is the first available test that I am aware of,
that simulates how a PC operating system actually works. A modern PC and OS,
such as Windows Vista does not just run a single thread at a time, it runs many
threads. The AS SSD benchmark "4K 64Thrd" tests run 64 threads
simultaneously throughout the test. If this result is good, then you can be
pretty sure the drive will perform extremely well as a system drive.

After the tests complete, AS SSD benchmark derives a total
score for the drive being tested. This is based on all aspects of the test
results, and gives an indication of how the drive is performing overall.

AS SSD benchmark offers two ways of viewing the results.

AS SSD benchmark –
MB/s view

AS SSD benchmark –
IOP’s view

AS SSD benchmark also does some simulated real world copy
testing. We will look at these tests later in this article.

To start with, we will show results from the default MB/s
view.

AS SSD benchmark – Total score

The OCZ Vertex is just ahead of the OCZ Agility, and both
Indilinx based drives are well ahead of the rest of our comparison drives.


AS SSD benchmark – Sequential reading performance

The OCZ Vertex is slightly faster than the OCZ Agility, but
they are closely matched. In fact, all our comparison drives performed well in
this test.


AS SSD benchmark – Sequential writing performance

This time the OCZ Apex is out in front, with its internal
RAID configuration, the Apex is very strong in this department. The OCZ Agility
is in third place in the test, but still performed very well.


AS SSD benchmark – 4K random reading performance

The OCZ Vertex is slightly faster than the OCZ Agility, but
they are very close. The Apex SSD has also performed well in this test.


AS SSD benchmark – 4K random writing performance

Again, the OCZ Vertex is slightly faster than the OCZ
Agility, but they are closely matched and well out in front of the rest of the
pack.


AS SSD benchmark – 4K (64 thread) Reading performance

The OCZ Agility is the fastest, with the OCZ Vertex close on
its heels.


AS SSD benchmark – 4K (64 thread) Writing performance

Once again, the OCZ Agility is slightly faster than the OCZ
Vertex, and both drives are well ahead of the competition.


AS SSD benchmark – Read access time

The OCZ Agility is slightly faster. All the SSD drives excel
at accessing data quickly.


AS SSD benchmark – Write access time

Once again, The OCZ Agility has the lowest access time, with
the OCZ Vertex close behind. This time the two Indilinx based drives are a good
deal faster than the other comparison drives.


Now let’s see the results from AS SSD benchmark (IOP’s view)

16MB read

The OCZ Vertex produces the highest read IOP’s, but the OCZ
Agility is very close behind.


16MB Write

This time the OCZ Apex SSD scores the highest, with the
Vertex and Agility also scoring very well.


4K Read

The OCZ Agility produces the most 4K read IOP’s, with the
Vertex close behind, and the OCZ Apex SSD has also done well.


4K Write

The OCZ Agility and Vertex results are both identical, and
far ahead of the comparison drive’s in this test.


4K – 64 thread – Read

The OCZ Agility has produced the highest amount of IOP’s in
this test, with the OCZ Vertex close behind, and way out in front of our other
comparison drive’s.


4K – 64 thread – Write

Once again, the OCZ Agility slightly ahead of the OCZ
Vertex, with both drive’s way ahead of the pack.


512 Byte – Read

Not surprisingly, all the SSD drive’s produce many more read
IOP’s than our traditional spinning HDD. The OCZ Agility producing the most
IOP’s in this test, with the OCZ Vertex close behind.


512 Byte – Write

Again, the OCZ Agility has produced the highest amount of
IOP’s in this test, with the OCZ Vertex also scoring extremely well.


Summary

This time, the OCZ Vertex is our outright winner in the
tests concerning MB/s, with the OCZ Agility a close second. In our IOP’s view
test, the Agility comes out slightly on top. Both these drives performed extremely
well during these tests.

Now let’s head to next page, where we look at application
and games loading performance…..

These tests are very simple tests, but very important to
some users of SSD drives.

We simply started an application or game, and measured the
time taken for the application or game to fully load and start.

Application loading times


Adobe Fireworks CS3

The OCZ Vertex was slightly faster than the OCZ Agility. In
fact, all the SSD drives performed well.


Corel PaintShop Pro 12

This time the OCZ Agility is slightly faster, and once
again, the SSD drives are much faster than the spinning HDD.

Games loading times


FAR CRY 2

The OCZ Vertex is slightly faster than the OCZ Agility. We
can also see that the SSD drives are the fastest, but the margin is not quite
as much with this game.


F.E.A.R. 2

The OCZ Vertex is once again slightly faster than the OCZ
Agility, but they are very closely matched. This time the SSD drives have more
of an advantage over the HDD drives.

Summary

No surprises here. Both the OCZ Vertex and OCZ Agility are
very closely matched, performance wise. In fact, all the SSD drives performed
extremely well in these tests.

Now let’s round off this article with some real world
tests on the next page….

 

It has become clear recently, that simply conducting endless
benchmarks on SSD drives is pointless. Real users may run a few benchmarks when
they first fit their SSD drive, but most users just want a drive that performs
well in the real world. They want their drive to work "out of the
box" and work fast and smoothly.

Most of the latest SSD drives can deliver very fast
sustained reading and writing speeds, but these alone tell you very little
about how the drive will perform in the real world.

If you intend to use your SSD as your primary system drive,
with an operating system and applications installed and running from the drive,
real world performance becomes much more important than fast sequential read and
write speeds.

In the following section in the review, we will use a
synthetic "real world" testing application (AS SSD benchmark) so we
can directly compare some drives from pervious reviews and use these results in
future reviews, but we will also use real world user testing, later in this
section, which we will explain in more detail later.

AS SSD benchmark –
Copy tests

Simulated
real world tests


Let’s start this page with some screenshots from all our
tested drives.

AS SSD benchmark – Copy ISO

The OCZ Apex is the fastest drive, closely followed by the
Vertex and Agility.


AS SSD benchmark – Copy Program

This time the OCZ Vertex is fastest, the OCZ Agility is not
far behind in second place.


AS SSD benchmark – Copy Game

The OCZ Agility is the fastest this time, with the OCZ
Vertex close behind.

Summary

Once again it is clear to see that the SSD drives outperform
the spinning HDD by quite some margin. This time however, there is no clear
winner between the OCZ Agility and Vertex drives. We’ll call it a draw.

Real world copy
tests


We will now conduct a few real world copy tests. These tests
simulate what real people do with their drives. We will be conducting writing
tests, using two large single files and a multiple file copy of various file sizes.

We should point out that this is not a scientific way of
measuring performance. These timings were taken with a stop watch; we have
however ensured that the reading drive is well able to supply a data stream to
our writing drive, which is high enough not to be slowing down the performance
of the writing drive.

We will once again be comparing the obtained results with
our comparison drive’s results. We will present the results in the form of
graphs.

Multiple file copy writing test

For this test we copied the Nero Burning Rom install folder
from our review PC to the D: drive (OCZ Technology Core series V2 RAID 0 array)
and then copied the contents to the OCZ Technology Agility series 120GB SSD and
our other comparison drives.

Our test copy contained 1,772 files of various sizes with a
combined capacity of 307MB.

The OCZ Vertex was the fastest drive when writing our “small
files” test, with the OCZ Agility hot at its heals.


Single large file writing test (4.37GB)

For this test we used a single DVD5 ISO file which had been
copied to the D: drive of our review PC. The file was then copied to the OCZ Technology
Agility series 120GB SSD and our other comparison drives.

The OCZ Vertex was once again the fastest drive, and the OCZ
Agility was once again close behind.


For this test we used a single DVD9 ISO file which had been
copied to the D: drive of our review PC. The file was then copied to the OCZ
Technology Agility series 120GB SSD and our comparison drives.

No surprises here, the OCZ Vertex was once again the fastest
drive, and again beating the OCZ Agility into second place, closely followed by
the OCZ Apex SSD.


Summary

Our copy tests show that the OCZ Vertex is the fastest drive
when it comes to writing files. The OCZ Agility is a very close match though.

Vista start-up and closedown


For these tests, we simply used a stop watch and tested the
amount of time taken for a full installation of Vista to boot to the “Vista
welcome” screen and then timed how long was taken to close the PC down from the
Vista “shutdown” option in the start menu.

In the case of the start up test, the timings were started
once the RAID card had initialised. We do however point out, that the RAID card
has to initialise before any of our tested drives could start to boot the
operating system.

The OCZ Vertex is once again the fastest, but the Agility is
very close behind, and any difference in performance here is marginal.

Installing applications


Installing applications is possibly something you don’t do
that often. But should you replace your system disk, then you will most likely
have to re-install your applications. Most of the SSD drives I have tested up
until now are quite slow at installing applications, most likely because their
I/O performance was quite limited.

For these tests, we picked some popular applications and
copied the entire contents of the CD or DVD media to our Core V2 SSD RAID 0
array. We did this to make sure that the reading speed of our CD/DVD reader would
not hamper the performance of the target drive.

We then installed these applications onto our comparison HDD
drives, which were all running mirror image installations of our Windows Vista
Home Premium 64bit installation, and timed the amount of time taken to install
the application with a stop watch on each of the drives.

Windows Vista service pack 1 (64bit)

For anyone who has installed this service pack, you will
know how time consuming it is. The PC has to re-start several times during the
installation. So any time savings here is a big bonus.

The OCZ Vertex is slightly faster than the OCZ Agility, but
once again, the difference is marginal.


MS Office 2007 Professional (full install)

MS Office is another of those applications that make you
cringe at the thought of re-installing it.

Let’s find out how our drives coped with the MS Office 2007
full install.

And again, the OCZ Agility is marginally slower than the OCZ
Vertex; both drives are however, way ahead of the competition.


Kaspersky Anti Virus 2009

Kaspersky Anti Virus 2009 is not a big application, but none
the less, it is a popular one. So let’s find out how our drives dealt with
installing this application.

Our drives made short work of installing Kaspersky Anti
Virus 2009, and once again, the OCZ Agility and Vertex were way out in front,
with the Vertex marginally faster.


Adobe Fireworks CS3

Adobe Fireworks CS3 is another popular package. Let’s find
out how our drives coped with installing this application.

Most drives will struggle with this application, but once
again, the OCZ Agility and Vertex took this task in their stride, with the
Vertex being slightly faster than Agility.

Summary

Once again, the OCZ Agility is beaten into second place, and
once again, by very small margin.

Real user – Multitasking tests


For this test we will use a real user (the reviewer) to run
two simple multitasking tests, to check the OCZ Technology Agility series 120GB
SSD.

We would like to point out, that this is not in the least
bit scientific in its method or approach. But we would also like to point out,
that neither are most PC users, and we also feel this is more useful as a guide
to real multitasking performance, than running a benchmark.

Light load – multitasking test

The light load multitasking test consists of the following
applications all being run at the same time.

We will simply carry out these tasks like any normal PC
user. We will watch and listen for any problems with system freezing or
stuttering in Internet Explorer and listen to our playing audio tracks for
glitches in the sound.

We ran the light multitasking test on the OCZ Agility SSD
for 10 minutes. No problems to report. The system remained stable and smooth,
with no hint of stuttering or freezing.


Heavy load – multitasking test

The heavy load multitasking test consists of the following
applications all being run at the same time.

We will simply carry out these tasks like any normal PC
user. We will watch and listen for any problems with system freezing or
stuttering in Internet Explorer and listen to our playing audio tracks for
glitches in the sound.

Because the above test will place a heavy load on the CPU,
we would expect some slowdown in the applications we are using, however, any
freezing or stuttering whatsoever would be classed as a fail.

We ran the heavy load multitasking test for the time taken
to encode our MPEG2 file (around 25 minutes). There was some slowdown in system
performance as expected, but absolutely no hint of system freezing or
stuttering, and our track list of 10 songs played perfectly.


Summary

Our real world tests, although not scientific in nature, we
feel are more realistic than simply running benchmarks. What is clear from our
tests is, the OCZ Agility is not quite as fast as the OCZ Vertex, but
performance wise, they are so very closely matched.

This concludes our review. To read the conclusion, click
the link below….

 

Conclusion


Positive:

Negative:

Conclusion:


Let us summarise the most important positive and negative
points below:

The
main positive points:

The OCZ Technology Agility series drives are good, in fact,
extremely good. Reading access times are lightning fast and applications load
in an instant, making the Agility series of drives ideal as the operating
system drive with all the user’s installed applications.

IOP performance is excellent, and the drive is completely
stable. There is no hint of stuttering whatsoever.

Noise levels from the drive is null; there are no moving
parts so the drive is completely silent.

The
main negative points:

Price is still a stumbling block to purchasing an SSD drive,
and the recent rise in the cost of NAND memory isn’t helping matters.

The Wiper utility isn’t supplied in the box. We feel it
should be, or at least documentation in the box, with information on where the
Wiper utility can be obtained.


To sum up, this is what we
would say:

It is inevitable that the OCZ Agility will be directly
compared to its big brother, the OCZ Vertex. The OCZ Agility pushes the Vertex
very close in the performance stakes. In fact, in some instances it’s faster
than Vertex. Overall, the OCZ Vertex is still marginally faster. I do have to
say though, that despite running the OCZ Agility and Vertex side by side, it
was impossible to tell which one was the faster, they both felt very much the
same, very slick and stable.

That only leaves pricing and warranty.

As I write this article, the OCZ 120GB Agility is priced at
£229.99 (€270.03) inc VAT and the OCZ 120GB Vertex is priced at £294.99 (€346.34)
inc VAT at Overclockers in the UK. So at present, the OCZ Agility is £45 (€52.83)
cheaper. However, the OCZ Vertex has a 3 year warranty, while the Agility has a
2 year warranty. So I guess it about evens itself out.

Our parting sentence is

“The Agility series SSD drives are great performers”.

The performance and usability of the OCZ Technology Agility
series 120GB SSD drive was so good, that we decided to award the drive our CD
Freaks “Editor’s choice” award.

The OCZ Technology Agility series 120GB SSD is currently
priced at £229.99 (€270.03) inc VAT at Overclockers
in the UK.

You may comment on this review below.

Thanks to:


EFD Software for
providing the fully licensed versions of HD Tune Pro

Simpli Software
for HD Tach

Alex
Schepeljanski
for AS SSD Benchmark