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OCZ Agility 2, 60 GB

 

OCZ is known for its extensive range of SSD products. The company seems to have made a point of releasing a new model on a monthly basis. Following the sensational Vertex 2, we now welcome the Agility 2 which is based on the same SandForce controller and offers the same storage capacities. As far as we know, these two models differ in their flash memory chips only. We will be able to compare them now as the Vertex 2 is also included into this review.

Our Agility 2 has firmware version 1.11.

OCZ Colossus, 120 GB

 

We have to reference our earlier review again. We once tested a Colossus LT and now we’ve got its full-featured rather than lite version. As opposed to the rest of the SSDs, the Colossus series comes in the 3.5-inch form-factor and incorporates several Indilinx Barefoot controllers (two in our sample and four in larger-capacity models) combined into a RAID0 array. The latter fact prevents this SSD from supporting TRIM.

Our sample’s firmware is version 1.000.

OCZ RevoDrive, 120 GB

Here is one more SSD which is based on a pair of controllers but the key feature of the RevoDrive is its form-factor. It is designed as an expansion card with PCI Express x4 interface. It’s easy to understand the replacement of SATA with PCI Express: the four PCIe lanes ensure a peak data-transfer rate of 1000 MBps into either direction, which is far above the capabilities even of the newest SATA interface version. This huge bandwidth is given to two SandForce controllers combined into a RAID0 array on a Silicon Image 3124 chip. By the way, this RAID controller has four channels and there is a seat for a daughter card on the RevoDrive. Having two more SATA channels and two SandForce controllers, the daughter card can be used to transform the RevoDrive duo into a RevoDrive x2 quartet.

There is one thing we don’t like about this SSD’s design. The interface of the Silicon Image 3124 is PCI-X rather than PCI Express. We can make guesses as to why this controller was chosen (perhaps it could be obtained from suppliers immediately and in large quantities or it might just have a highly appealing price), but the fact is that the SSD developer had to install an additional Pericom chip as a bridge between the PCI Express and PCI-X interfaces.

This SSD design cannot support TRIM but promises unprecedented speeds: up to 540 MBps at reading and up to 400 MBps at writing. We like the way this SSD is identified by the OS: as a Silicon Image 3124 controller with two disks connected to it. Thus, you can access the RAID controller’s BIOS if you need to. There are no special problems with booting up from this SSD. You can install your OS on it just like on any other RAID controller.

OCZ Vertex 2, 120 GB

  

The last runner today is called Vertex 2. We’ll use it for comparing to the others (although we don’t think the race of SSDs based on identical controllers is going to be very exciting) as well as for checking out the new firmware. During our first tests of this SSD we used firmware version 1.0, but now it is 1.1. We are most interested to see what changes the new firmware brings about.

 
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