For the last few years, OCZ's consumer SSD lineup has primarily consisted of two models: Vertex and Agility. The history of these two goes all the way back to 2009 when OCZ realized that they can differentiate their SSDs by equipping them with different quality NAND. In first and second generation Vertex and Agility SSDs, the difference between the NAND was the manufacturer and process node. First generation Vertex used strictly Samsung NAND, whereas Agility opened the doors of cheaper prices by using Intel and Toshiba NAND. Back then, Samsung was in control of the SSD and NAND market, which allowed them to price themselves higher than others. With second generation Vertex and Agility, OCZ switched to SandForce's SF-1221 controller and Vertex 2 used Micron NAND, while Agility 2 used Intel NAND. 

The Vertex 3 and Agility 3 finally brought some clearer differences. The difference was no longer the manufacturer, it was the actual NAND interface. 25nm IMFT NAND and ONFi 2.x brought us synchronous logic and transfer speeds of up to 200MB/s. However, manufacturing ONFi 1.0 NAND is cheaper, which is why IMFT has continued to manufacture slower asynchronous NAND. After all, there are many products that don't benefit from the faster interface, such USB 2.0 memory sticks. Once again, OCZ saw that there was a niche for slightly cheaper and slower SSDs with asynchronous NAND. This time around OCZ wasn't the only one, though, as there are numerous other SandForce SSDs with asynchronous NAND (Mushkin Chronos, Corsair Force 3 and Patriot Pyro to name a few). 

With the Vertex 4, OCZ switched to Marvell silicon, rebranded it Indilinx Everest 2 and built their own custom firmware. Vertex 4 used synchronous NAND which meant that there was room for an Agility 4. As expected, a month after the release of Vertex 4 OCZ launched Agility 4 with the same Everest 2 controller but with asynchronous NAND instead. 

NewEgg Price Comparison (8/31/2012)
  60/64GB 120/128GB 240/256GB 480/512GB
OCZ Agility 4 $65 $100 $190 N/A
OCZ Agility 3 $62 $90 $175 $330
Plextor M5S $70 $85 $200 N/A
Crucial m4 $73 $110 $210 $400
Intel 520 Series $100 $132 $230 $500
Samsung 830 Series $85 $119 $230 $570
OCZ Vertex 3 $70 $85 $180 $500
OCZ Vertex 4 $65 $110 $190 $530

Pricing is very close to the Vertex 4, which is similar to what we saw between the Agility 3/Vertex 3. 

As always, the pricing table is just to give us some idea of pricing. Prices change on a daily basis, hence it's advisable to follow the prices for a few days before pulling a trigger. NAND pricing can be extremely volatile, often resulting in heavy discounting.

The Agility 4 and Test Setup
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  • Qapa - Sunday, September 2, 2012 - link

    Yes, please do it :)

    Italic / special background color / anything

    (just also indicate that at the start of the article)
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, September 6, 2012 - link

    Yes, good idea. I generally assume most of the text on the performance pages of a SSD article is boilerplate and just skip it. I was surprised to find unique bits of information on the performance pages.
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, September 1, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the review! I'm kinda missing the power consumption part though. :D
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, September 1, 2012 - link

    Nevermind, just saw the other comment about it. Hope you can add it in the future though. :)
  • ajp_anton - Sunday, September 2, 2012 - link

    "Pricing is very close to the Vertex 4"
    I'd say. It's identical, except for the 120GB one. With the Ag/Vx 3, the Agility is actually more expensive at that size.
    Are you sure you got that table right?
  • CaedenV - Sunday, September 2, 2012 - link

    All the sudden I am not so sad about using the Agility 3's for my system drive. Agility 4 came out shortly after I purchased my first Agility 3 and I was kicking myself, but now it looks like it was not too bad of a move.
  • SanX - Sunday, September 2, 2012 - link

    "But at normal prices, the m4 or 830 for a little more would be a much better purchase..."

    830 consumes 2 times more - hell 5+ Watts - then all others in the market
  • claysm - Monday, September 3, 2012 - link

    But is 5 watts really that much? 830 ftw even if it's 15 watts more.
  • erple2 - Monday, September 3, 2012 - link

    In a desktop environment, no, it doesn't make a significant difference. However, the mobile market is where every extra watt will make a significant difference in battery life. I've been considering buying an ssd for my laptop for a while, and the high power usage in the 830 is why I've taken that one out of the running.
  • Wanou - Monday, September 3, 2012 - link

    back in 2000, OCZ was known for their bullshit marketing selling DRAM.
    Then, they sold PSUs.
    I bought one for myself... Guess what ? It was bullshit: Expensive for no more than a cheap crappy PSU in a classy box.

    When OCZ started making SSDs, I thought:" I will never buy one from them".

    But the Vertex 1 and after, the Vertex 2 looks so good, I bought one. And another. And another for my mother, another for my dad...
    They all worked great and are still working !
    So, I decided to get every PC where I'm working with a vertex 2 SSD. We are using huge mailboxes (Several Gb). So it was damn fast.
    May I say that It was just AFTER OCZ switched silently to 25nm ?
    Two friends of mine bought also one VTXE.
    When the first one bricked, it was bad luck
    The second started BSO before dying. Bad karma.
    The third locked Windows and was not detected on reboot.
    As for the 4th, the 5th, the 6th, the 7th...
    Each time, the bricked VERTEX 2E SSDs were replaced by Agility drives.

    I've switched to Samsung 830. So far, with more than 20 SSDs installed during the last 4 month, I've not suffered from ONE defect.
    Today, i'm waiting for the replacement SSDs for my 8th in row FAILED OCZ VERTEX2.

    One product can fail.
    But when you get 8 failed products on 16 products coming from 2 batches and 2 different sizes (90/120Gb), you should take care and stop using the -still working- remaining ones.

    And never buy OCZ Again.

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