SATA III SSD Round-Up: OCZ, Corsair, Patriot, Crucial
Pictured here are the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS edition and more affordable Agility 3 solid state drives. OCZ has been fiercely active in the solid state storage market. The company offers products targeted at virtually every market segment. These two drives represent their top-of-the-line (Vertex 3 Max IOPS) and high-performance mainstream (Agility 3) desktop-class SSD products.
The OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS edition is somewhat of a cross between the enterprise-class Vertex 3 Pro and standard Vertex 3 we showed you here and here. The OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS edition drive sports the same 32nm Toshiba MLC NAND found in the Pro model, but like the standard Vertex 3 the Max IOPS drive lacks the expensive Super-CAP, that provides the drive with short-term power in the event of an outage. The drive you see here is a 240GB model outfitted with 16 pieces of NAND, but 120GB drives with half that number are also available. There is a total of 256GB of flash memory in the drive we tested though (128 in the 120GB drive); the unused space is provisioned for wear-leveling, error correction, etc.
Although built around the same controller as the Vertex 3 Max IOPS edition, the OCZ Agility 3 is a different sort of animal. The Agility 3 is paired to 25nm Intel / Micron MLC NAND flash memory and uses a different PCB. The drive you see here is also a 240GB model, but other capacities are available as well.
Both of these drives use MLC flash memory, have TRIM support, and offer SATA III interface speeds, thanks to their SandForce SF-2281 controllers.
Before continuing, we should point out that a number of users have reported issues that cause BSODs or system hangs with these (and some other SF-2000 based) drives, but in all of our testing, through multiple firmwares, and drive types, we have not experienced any issues. Should you want one of these drives, just be sure to install the latest firmware and secure erase it before finalizing your setup. And it couldn’t hurt to make sure your motherboard’s BIOS and your storage drivers are up to date, and that you’re using a new, SATA III-compatible cable. Just some things to keep in mind.