|OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 21 June 2011|
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Closer Look: OCZ Agility 3 SSD
SSDs are quickly gaining popularity because they work equally well in PC, Linux, or Apple Mac computers. Likewise, they install into both desktop and notebook platforms without modification. For this article Benchmark Reviews is testing the 240GB OCZ Agility 3 SSD, which is specified to reach speeds of 525 MB/s for sequential reads and 500 MB/s sequential writes. The AGT3-25SAT3-240G model we've received for testing is built using the SandForce SF-2281 SSD controller and Intel-Micron async-NAND flash components.
OCZ offers three capacities for the Agility 3 series solid state drive: 60GB, 120GB, and 240GB. Performance specifications increase with capacity, as a result of larger integrated buffer. All of the OCZ Agility 3 models share the same part numbers, with a capacity designator trailing the end: AGT3-25SAT3-60G for 60GB for 60GB, AGT3-25SAT3-120G for 120GB, and VTX3-25SAT3-240G for 240GB. With respect to OCZ's Agility 3 series, the 240GB version is expected to be the most popular of the two capacities because it offers the best performance specifications.
The OCZ Agility 3 SSD is best suited for performance-orientated personal computers, but could also work well for SOHO computer workstation systems. SandForce SF-2200 series SSDs have been designed with a focus on high-performance operational and data transfer speeds, and includes 256-bit encrypted data protection and improved NAND wear-leveling through their proprietary DuraWrite technology. Although OCZ Agility 3 SSDs do not offer an integrated USB Mini-B port, which appeared on some early-generation SSDs, the retail market offers several different 2.5" SATA enclosures that utilize the SuperSpeed USB-3.0 standard for high-performance portable file transfers.
OCZ understands that once installed, the SSD will be hidden away from view inside a notebook computer or desktop workstation, so they've remained conservative towards the design of their solid state drive appearance. The top half of the drive enclosure is given a black textured finish, which does not show fingerprints or smudges like a gloss surface would. A glossy label is attached to the top of the SSD enclosure, denoting model and capacity.
Standard 2.5" drive bay mounting points are pre-drilled and threaded into the OCZ Agility 3 SSD chassis, which allows for quick upgrade or addition into any existing notebook and other compact computer system. Unfortunately, OCZ does not bundle a drive tray adapter with this kit, which comes included free with the premium Vertex 3 series. The mounting positions matched up to the drive bracket on my notebook computer, and after only a few minutes I was booting from a restored Windows 7 System Image without a hitch.
Unlike most Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage products, SSDs are nearly impervious to impact damage and do not require (or benefit from) any kind of special vibration dampening or shock-proof enclosures OCZ utilizes a standard two-piece metal enclosure for their Agility 3 series SSDs, which reveals the internal components after removing four small counter-sunk screws located along the sides of this solid state drive. The seam along the side is covered with a 'Warranty Void' label, which OCZ attaches to warn consumers against taking apart their product. By removing the SSD cover it will also remove your consumer protection with it, but Benchmark Reviews takes the risk for you and reveals the internal components in our next section.
If you're familiar with previous-generation OCZ storage products, you'll notice that looks for the Agility series havn't changed beyond the product decal. While its outward appearance is similar to many other solid state drives, the functionality and value packaged inside are considerably unique. Now that you're acquainted with the basic exterior features of this SSD, it's time to peek inside the metal enclosure and inspect the SandForce SF-2281 internal components...