OCZ has successfully updated its entry-level SSD series using its own controller Everest 2. Drawing on its SandForce experience and combining the high-performance controller with asynchronous flash memory, the company has come up with a competitive product in the entry-level segment.
However, if we look deeper into the matter, we can easily see that the Agility 4 is not such a well-balanced product after all. On the one hand, it is equipped with the high-speed SATA 6 Gbit/s interface, a fast controller and a large cache buffer. But on the other hand, the internal bus connecting the controller and flash memory is, obviously, a bottleneck that prevents the SSD from performing much faster. As a result, it can only deliver high performance at write operations where the controller's internal logic and cache buffer mask the low bandwidth of the flash memory. When it comes to reading, the Agility 4 is no faster than other entry-level products.
So, it turns out that the Agility 4 SSDs aren’t that much better than SandForce-based SSDs with the same asynchronous flash. In everyday applications, which do more reading than writing, the Agility 4 isn’t going to be any faster than OCZ Agility 3, Corsair Force 3, Kingston SSDNow V+200, etc. However, we still intend to rank the new product from OCZ higher just because it is indeed much better in certain scenarios (that involve writing large amounts of data). Moreover, its performance doesn't depend on the data compression rate.
The price factor must also be taken into account, considering the positioning of the Agility 4 series. And it is this factor that OCZ can use to make the Agility 4 a bestseller. Using OCZ's own controller, inexpensive flash memory and unified hardware design, the new SSDs can be easily the most inexpensive SATA 6 Gbit/s products on the market. In this case, there would be no doubts about their superiority over the competition.
Some time ago we started to fill in a summary table with test results of various SandForce-based SSDs. Now that there are other controllers available, we want to add them into that table as well. So, the updated table contains the basic hardware information about the tested SSDs and allows to quickly determine the general position of a particular model among its competitors in terms of relative performance: