Originally Posted by Zon2020
Well, unless you're scared off by the Sandforce SF-2281 issue, all of those other than the Petrol (which uses an Indilinx controller) should be just fine.
I think all the others are 2281 based units and ought to work about the same as any other 2281 based unit. Speed will vary some by type of memory, but reliability should be about the same. I think there are about a gazillion Agility 3s in circulation.
Tomshardware and most other review sites I have seen basically agrees with this. Most of the Sandforce drives perform much about the same as another- with the only exception or factor being the type of memory used.
The Agility uses a cheaper memory, which accounts for it's very low everyday price. (I bought one for $48)
Real world though.. it's probably tough to tell much difference between a $59 Agility3 and any other SSD of the same size. This would suggest the value at that price. In fact - some important benchmarks sometimes favor Sandforce based SSD drives over other controllers - The Agility is certainly a solid value. It's price is low and it's performance is not relative to it's price tag.
Above this, OCZ makes the Vertex3 which is supposed to be a step up from Agility but still uses the same controller. The major difference I believe is the memory. Architecturally the Agility 3 is identical to the Vertex 3. You get the same controller running similar firmware, and as a result post similar peak performance stats.
But the Vertex3 does indeed outperform it in benchmarks. If it's not the controller causing this, and it's not the firmware - then it's the NAND. The Agility 3 (and Solid 3) both use asynchronous NAND.
Equipped with asynchronous NAND, the Agility 3's max performance is limited to 50MB/s per channel compared to 200MB/s per channel in the Vertex 3. The Vertex 3 doesn't come close to saturating its per-channel bandwidth so there's a chance that this change won't make much of a difference. To further tilt things in the Agility 3's favor, remember SandForce's controller throws away around 40% of all of your data thanks to its real time compression/deduplication algorithms - further reducing the NAND bandwidth requirements. When a Vertex 3 pushes 500MB/s that's not actual speed to NAND, it's just how fast the SF controller is completing its tasks. In a typical desktop user workload without too much in the way of incompressible data access, the Agility 3 should perform a lot like a Vertex 3.
I have a MAX IOPS Vertex3 which also uses the same controller- but the NAND is different (better)
Not wanting to be completely married to Intel NAND production, OCZ wanted to introduce a version of the Vertex 3 that used 32nm Toshiba Toggle NAND - Rather than call the new drive a Vertex 3 with a slightly different model number, OCZ opted for a more pronounced suffix: MAX IOPS.
Like the regular Vertex 3, the Vertex 3 MAX IOPS drive is available in 120GB and 240GB configurations. These drives have 128GB and 256GB of NAND, respectively, with just under 13% of the NAND set aside for use as a combination of redundant and spare area.
The largest NAND die you could ship at 32/34nm was 4GB - the move to 25nm brought us 8GB die. What this means is that for a given capacity, the MAX IOPS edition will have twice as many MLC NAND die under the hood.
In terms of performance and SSD hierarchy it looks something like this:
#1. Top shelf = second-gen SandForce SSDs with Toggle NAND
#2. Samsung 830 SSD 256 GB and second-gen SandForce SSDs with Sync ONFi NAND
#3. Crucial m4 256 GB and OCZ Vertex 4 (not Sandforce controllers)
#4. second-gen SandForce SSDs with Async ONFi NAND (like Agility3)
Crucial M4's remain a good option for anyone that does not want a Sandforce controller in their SSD Drive. They perform well and sell for low street prices.
If your concerned with budget first- the Agility series probably performs real world very similar for a slightly lower price.
If your concerned with performance and also budget a Sandforce with Sync NAND is probably as cheap or cheaper than a Crucial M4 and a bit quicker. Real world it's not significant probably, but technically it's true.
If your not really concerned with budget as much as performance- Look for Toggle NAND and Sandforce second gen controllers. These drives are among the fastest drives available today in any given GB size segment.
Last note: I believe many of these Crucial M4's were purchased to be resold via Amazon and Ebay. I noticed the reduction in prices there- as well as more sellers. No doubt the $99 newegg offered was probably a bit under the normal wholesale price for these models.
I am not sure how many they offered though. It's possible they only had like 25 available at that price- and just wanted to spike some traffic on the site.
They came back in stock quickly afterwards- so it's not like NewEgg sold out of stock. I mean you can buy one right now for $125.
I think they limit how many per special sale price to limit losses.
It's a good value. No doubt people jump on it. The 120GB Vertex3 was also $99 recently and I tried to grab one and apply my customer appreciation 15% but the damn sale also went out of stock before I could jump on it. I would have loved a $85 120GB Vertex3
One thing is for sure though.. seems like SSD's are coming down in price. I like that.