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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3
Closer Look: OCZ Agility 3 SSD
SandForce SF-2281 SSD Controller
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
PCMark Vantage HDD Tests
OCZ Agility 3 SSD Conclusion

OCZ Agility 3 SSD Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

NOTE: Solid state drive owners experiencing stability issues with their product are encouraged to use the latest OCZ SSD firmware available.

SandForce SSDs have taken the market by storm, which has helped companies like OCZ to expand their reach deep into the high-performance storage hardware segment. Not only are these SandForce-driven solid state drives extremely fast, but more importantly they're capable of SLC-level operational performance I/O and NAND durability. The OCZ Agility 3 SSD builds from the powerful SandForce SF-2281 solid state processor, which brings innovation to the SSD industry by prolonging MLC NAND flash module lifetime and delivering RAID-like data redundancy. When one SandForce product is physically identical to another, the overall value depends on price, warranty, and customer support. If you're price shopping, a quick stroll through our Storage Section reviews will reveal how other SSD options compare.

Our performance rating considers how effective the OCZ Agility 3 solid state drive performs in operations against direct competitor storage solutions. For reference, SandForce specifies the SF-2281 with 500 MB/s read and write, which OCZ increases this to 525 MB/s read and 500 write maximum speeds for this SSD model. In our storage benchmark tests, the 240GB OCZ Agility 3 SSD performed at or above this speed, and many other SATA-based SSD's. Our test results proved the OCZ Agility 3 was good for delivering 557/524 MBps peak read and writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark SSD speed tests. Everest Disk Benchmark produced 495/466 MB/s, confirming the Agility 3 among the fastest MLC SSD's Benchmark Reviews has tested to date.

The 240GB retail kit AGT3-25SAT3-240G that OCZ sent us for testing is advertised to deliver 80,000 maximum combined IOPS. Using a SandForce-provided configuration for our own Iometer operational performance tests, we used a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O's per target that measured 70,861 combined IOPS performance. In this test, the formatted OCZ Vertex 3 MI SSD leads all other SATA-based storage devices benchmarked with this configuration, and positions itself between the SandForce-driven PCI-Express options. In the 4K 32QD tests with AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark, the OCZ Agility 3 SSD nearly topped our charts and leads among the best high-performance consumer storage devices. With the results we've received in our tests, hardware enthusiasts can expect extremely high operational performance and storage functionality for demanding applications and extreme I/O environments.

Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Like their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, Solid State Drives are meant to place function before fashion. Anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. OCZ has created a back-to-basics look with the black textured finish and green branding on their Agility-series SSDs. As solid state storage controllers become faster and more advanced, heat dissipation through the enclosure walls may demand that chassis designs become more beneficial than they previously needed to be. This isn't the case yet, and a metal chassis suits SandForce SSDs nicely.

SSDs are not prone to mechanical failure, but if any Agility 3-series solid state storage product does happen to fail during the 3-year warranty period end-users may contact OCZ Technology via their company website or extensive support forums. Fortunately, there's also a toll-free telephone number (800-459-1816) for free technical support and customer service questions. OCZ has been proven to be one of the best companies in the business when it comes to customer service, and replacement parts are often sent with priority delivery.

As of late June 2011, the following models and prices were available:

Models: 60GB: AGT3-25SAT3-60G, 120GB: AGT3-25SAT3-120G, 240GB: AGT3-25SAT3-240G
Prices: 60GB: $130 Amazon/$135 Newegg, 120GB: $230 Amazon/$230 Newegg, 240GB: $485 Amazon/$480 Newegg

On paper, the OCZ Agility 3 SSD looks a lot like the Vertex 3 series. The Agility 3 uses asynchronous NAND flash components, while Vertex 3 uses synchronous parts and comes with a drive adapter tray. All of our benchmark test results kept them both very close, and synthetic performance was similar between 240GB SSDs. Statistics and specifications have an interesting way of making things seem competitive, but price is usually the determining factor. At the time of this writing, the OCZ Agility 3 series was not far off from premium Vertex 3 pricing, which makes it difficult to consider the Agility series as OCZ's mainstream product line. It's also important to keep in mind that the 240GB Agility 3/Vertex 3 models yield the very best performance of their series, and lower-capacity models don't compare respectively.

Based on the SandForce SF-2281 SSD processor, the OCZ Agility 3 solid state drive delivers native TRIM garbage collection and basic SMART support with impressive 557 MB/s transfer speeds. More importantly, SandForce DuraClass technology adds their proprietary RAISE and DuraWrite features not available to other SSDs, and the end result is a product that could last up to five times longer with less wear on NAND flash modules. Considering the level of performance we've experienced with the OCZ Agility 3 SSD, it's easy recommend this solid state drive to high-performance computer hardware enthusiasts and hardcore power-users. The blazing fast transfer speeds and outstanding operational performance earn the OCZ Agility 3 SSD our Silver Tachometer Award.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award for Quality Recognition

+ Delivers nearly 71K IOMeter IOPS performance
+ Outstanding 557/524 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
+ TCG OPAL security with 256-bit AES encryption
+ SandForce SF-2281 processor supports TRIM, SMART, and RAISE
+ DuraWrite technology extends NAND lifetime
+ Top-level enthusiast operational I/O performance
+ 3-Year OCZ product warranty support
+ 60/120/240GB high-speed SSD storage capacities
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life

Cons:

- Some manufacturers offer five-year warranty
- Expensive enthusiast-level product
- Lacks 3.5" drive tray adapter kit

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.25
  • Appearance: 8.75
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.25
  • Value: 7.25

Final Score: 8.8 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.


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Comments 

 
# RE: OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3Robert17 2011-06-22 14:12
Good review Olin.
I note in your rating under "cons" that you say "some manufacturers offer 5 yr warranty"; in the section for specifications OCZ lists "5 yr consumer life cycle". Is there something I don't understand? Is there or is there not a 5 yr warranty?
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# Only 3-Year WarrantyOlin Coles 2011-06-22 14:18
ocztechnology.com/ocz-agility-3-sata-iii-2-5-ssd.html
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# Fix the imagecubebomb 2011-06-23 11:16
The title and the image are different

#i.imgur.com/2qaBU.png
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# RE: Fix the imageOlin Coles 2011-06-23 11:19
Sure enough, they are. I'll fix that right now.
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# conssadegh 2011-07-27 09:45
why dont you mention to the weak firmware & frequently hang & freeze of this bad new ssd & just advertising this!!!!!!!!!!
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# RE: consOlin Coles 2011-07-27 09:53
Did my benchmark result give you the impression that this SSD had weak firmware? Did I ever mention freezing or crashing?

I can't just make things up out of thin air; I only report what I experience first-hand.
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# RE: RE: consReza 2011-08-03 11:20
I agree with @cons!
I had a Corsair Force 3 series (120Gig) that uses this controller and for one week i tested this and re-installed windows thinking it was a driver problem or mobo or something else. I realized it was the Disk.
It didnt last more then 1-2 day or sometimes 1h before Windows froze. Also the installation refused to create the System partition on it for some reason when i had a second disk connected.
so yes this controller is very bad and i recommend people staying away from it until its confirmed its fixed.

I now use an Intel 510. It worked right away. System partition no problem, stability = rock solid.

You can find more info about my nightmare and what i tested here:
##tomshardware.co.uk/forum/294888-12-corsair-system-freeze#t2002139

Tomshardware (@jaquith) was extremely helpful and gave lots of useful tips on the matter but sadly this is a hardware issue rather then software.
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# Makes Me CryGrrr Power 2011-08-01 23:09
Loved the speed and convenience of my Agility 3.... until it crashed, and wouldn't be detected on boot. A cold power-out reboot fixed this, but this happened at least once every 24 hours.
I sent it back. Within 48 hours of my second one, the same thing. OCZ recommended upgrading the firmware. Tried it. Wouldn't work. They recommended another whole bunch of steps, but frankly, I'd just like to buy something and have it work. I already built my own system, I don't want to spend hours or days messing with this stuff.
Tried system with a different drive, worked fine. Ran my SSD in a friend's system- same result. Sent it back to my supplier.
Received a replacement. Installed it on Sunday, crashed last night. I will never buy an OCZ product again.. sorry guys.. :(
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# RE: Makes Me CryOlin Coles 2011-08-02 08:00
Thank you for reporting your experiences with this product!
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# RE: Makes Me CryReza 2011-08-03 11:21
Read what i said above and

##tomshardware.co.uk/forum/294888-12-corsair-system-freeze#t2002139

The problem is the Disk and not your pc sadly :(
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# RE: OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3David Ramsey 2011-08-02 08:05
Gee, mine's working great. So far.
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# Machine dependent freezing....Neil 2011-09-09 01:08
Installed Ubuntu on a 60gb OCZ agility ssd installed in a Compaq mini cq10 netbook, then transferred the drive to an Acer Aspire L350. Worked fine for a day but had one or two unexpected reboots, not specifically related to playing a movie that I noticed. I don't recall if a video had been running at the time, but I was just highlighting files to copy from an external WD Passport drive at the time it first rebooted. Seemed to work excellent for several hours after that, without any other signs of problems.


Put the ssd into my netbook. Worked fine for the entire duration of visiting a friend and copying about 30 gb of files to it. Put the ssd into my Acer .... Worked fine for a few minutes, but crashed about thirty seconds to a minute into watching a video. Reboots, then same again each time. Seems to work fine until I start watching a movie. Tested whether it was just that video that caused the reboot, but it wasn't the case. Other videos did the same. So I installed a different video player. I still hung after about thirty seconds or so with a different player. Took it out of the Acer and connected it to a sata to usb adapter, with external power source..... Worked long enough to copy off the movies to the other drive. Still seems to be working as an external drive, and for the netbook, but the real # is that I bought it specifically for the acer....


I think I'm going to use it where it seems to want to work properly, namely in the netbook, and start pricing an Intel 510. I've seen other similar good reviews of the 510 to what Reza mentioned above, but I didn't bother to look into it before taking the ssd leap of faith with OCZ. I was hoping the bad press OCZ has been getting was just a vocal minority. I might be joining them.....


Something about the Ubuntu installation just doesn't like the ssd running in my Acer, but has no problems with the netbook. Next thing to try would be to reinstall with the drive in the acer, but a live usb of Ubuntu won't boot on the acer, and I don't have a cd drive at the moment, nor an install disk.

I'm going to have to get an external CD drive, and a burnt copy of Ubuntu Live before I can try that.....
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# Machine dependent freezing....Neil 2011-09-09 01:34
Ignore, or delete that last comment....

The acer just rebooted while playing 30 seconds of a video from a regular hdd. Different copy of Ubuntu, different drive... leaves only the Acer itself to blame.

Guess that I'm not going to be shopping for an Intel 510 until after I get a new machine.....

The process of elimination solved that mystery. The ssd is still working fine.

You'd think that would be good news....
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# RE: OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3David 2011-10-14 09:53
I have an Agility 3 60GB. I've had it in my acer slim desktop for the past 12 hours and I've not had a problem. I'm currently running Windows 8 Developer's Preview build 8102 (official pre beta release) I'm pretty happy with the performance of even faster booting due to the OS and the SSD. I'll eventually get around to installing win 7.
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# RE: OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3Howard 2012-02-13 02:54
Just pulled the trigger on buying the 120GB version of this drive. I was waiting to get my first SSD when the price went to $1.00 per MB. After reading the thorough review, (thanks Colin) and the posted feedback, I hope I'll be one of the satisfied ones. I will be doing a fresh, Windows 7, install on older hardware and will check and update the firmware immediately. I had read something on another site about the SATA driver on the motherboard and plan to get the latest BIOS and drivers as well. Thanks for the review and feedback.
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# RE: RE: OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3Howard 2012-02-13 02:58
Sorry, Olin, for the misspelling of your name!
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# RE: RE: RE: OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3Olin Coles 2012-02-13 07:24
It happens a lot, Howard... I curse my parents. OCZ recently published a firmware update, so it could be the last update we see for this drive for quite a while (which is a good thing). I really think you'll enjoy the SSD!
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3Howard 2012-02-13 09:07
Olin,
Thanks for the reply! I am really looking forward to the drive. I have a question, if you don't mind. I am currently running XP and am planning to install the new SSD to my systemas a second drive, temporarily, to perform the firmware update before installing Windows 7 on it. From what I read on the OCZ website it states that you can't perform the update running XP. I created an Ubuntu Linux CD and tried it out. When I downloaded the Linux firmware update instructions it looks like it is not very user friendly, (no GUI,) and may be beyond my comfort level. As a firmware update is not supposed to lose data, should I install Windows 7 on the SSD first and then upgrade the firmware? Any downside that you can think of? Thanks again for your great review of the drive and any assistance you can provide.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3Olin Coles 2012-02-13 09:16
As much as I love and miss Windows XP, I admit that it's not the best fit for a SSD. I highly suggest Windows 7, if not for the added TRIM garbage collection and improved AHCI support, at least have it for DirectX 11 graphics support in games. As for the firmware update, the Linux version is actually pretty easy if you follow the instructions. Please visit the OCZ forum for more details and firmware update guides.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: OCZ Agility 3 SSD AGT3-25SAT3Howard 2012-02-13 09:23
I don't plan to use the SSD on XP, only to upgrade the firmware and then load 7. If it's important to upgrade the firmware before loading 7, I will follow your advice and try to muddle through the Linux steps and see what happens. I had read about trim, etc, and know that it is not supported in XP. Defrag turned off as well! Thanks again!
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# Easier if SSD is not the boot driveBruce Bruce 2012-02-13 09:22
Are you hooking the OCZ Agility up as a secondary drive in a running system? I've had the best luck doing it that way....
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# RE: Easier if SSD is not the boot driveHoward 2012-02-13 09:26
Bruce Bruce, Yes, but only to upgrade the firmware. Then I am planning to do a fresh install of Windows 7 with a standard drive to hold programs and data.
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