Review: OCZ's new Agility SSD is true to its name

The economy solid-state disk strikes the right balance between performance and price

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Performance tests

The Agility SSD comes in 30GB, 60GB and 120GB capacities. I tested the 120GB version (Model No. OCZSSD2-1AGT120G).

OCZ lists the 120GB model as having a maximum performance of 230MB/sec. sequential read and 135MB/sec. sequential write speeds, and a sustained write rate of up to 80MB/sec.

For my tests, I used a Dell Latitude D830 laptop with a 2.4-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor running Windows XP Professional SP2. I tested the drive performance using ATTO Technology's ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.34, and Simpli Software's HD Tach v3.0.4 benchmarking utilities.

Note: While I was able to successfully test both read and write performance with the ATTO app, I didn't measure write performance with HD Tach, because that test affects applications on the drive. But it is useful in providing average and burst read speeds along with CPU utilization and random-access times.

OCZ's Agility drive was true to its name. It was very agile, with some impressive I/O performance numbers. The ATTO tests revealed that the Agility SSD had a 144.5MB/sec. top sequential write speed and 238MB/sec. sequential read speed. HD Tach offered up vastly different numbers: 189.9MB/sec. average for data reads and 178.1MB/sec. burst speed. The test also showed an 11% CPU utilization rate and a 0.1 millisecond random-access time. I was particularly impressed with the ATTO write results, but regardless of which test you go with, this drive returned very respectable performance.

(For comparison purposes, OCZ's older Apex SSD drive had a 153MB/sec. average write speed and a 233MB/sec. average read speed using the ATTO benchmarking software.)

I then transferred a 1GB file made up of videos and digital photos from the desktop to the hard drive, which took about 7 seconds. Again, that's very fast.

ATTO Benchmark test results
ATTO benchmark test results
HD Tach benchmark test results
HD Tach benchmark test results show consistent throughput performance at 178MB/sec.

I also used battery-testing software from BapCo to see whether the SSD had an effect on the Dell's battery power. It revealed 138 minutes of power, not vastly different from other high-end hard disk drives and consumer SSDs. The same battery benchmarking tests on a Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB hard disk drive showed that the battery lasted 132 minutes. And when using an OCZ Vertex Series SATA II SSD, it lasted 137 minutes. So the Agility offers an additional minute of uptime -- a negligible difference, in my view.

Durability

OCZ claims that its SSD is shock resistant up to 1,500Gs. In comparison, a Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB HDD can withstand up to 350Gs while operating -- and 600Gs when powered off -- before sustaining damage or a drop in performance. Given that these drives are meant for laptops, that's important to keep in mind.

For what it's worth, the Agility drive comes with a claim of a 1.5-million-hour mean time between failure rating (I don't yet trust MTBF ratings for SSDs) and a two-year warranty.

Conclusion

Given the choice, I'd definitely pass up the slightly less expensive Apex drive for the Agility. This is partly due to personal experience: I recommended an OCZ Apex SSD to a co-worker earlier this year. He installed it in a 13-in. MacBook, only to have the Apex die within a couple of weeks. He got a replacement, which worked fine -- until he tried to install it in a new 17-in. MacBook Pro, which didn't recognize the drive. OCZ finally sent him an Agility SSD as a replacement, and everything went swimmingly.

Overall, I think that OCZ has gotten the combination of price, performance and reliability just right with the Agility SSD. With a better controller, added cache and affordable price, this should be a very strong contender for anyone looking to get their first laptop flash drive.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon