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There are two ways to look at the performance of the new Sandforce controller.
On the one hand, it's a game changer. By clearing a path to empty pages in the memory cells for new data to barrel through, the SF-1200 turns the read/write performance metric for common tasks upside down.
Both the Agility 2 and the Vertex 2 can lay down files into storage faster than any other SSD we've seen so far.
There is a big 'but' coming.
The write performance is only one statistic out of many. In read speed tests, which are more important for boot times and the majority of tasks that count in every day use, the Agility 2 is fast but not a clear winner.
Kingston's V+ series and even Crucial's much cheaper realSSD are competitive to the point that they're often marginally ahead.
You could easily, and in fact we will, argue that the differences here are academic. In the read tests that really matter, the movement of lots of small files, there's no difference at all.
The overall balance of performance marks the Agility 2 out as by far the superior drive.
Time for big 'but' number two, though, and this time it comes from OCZ's own overly well endowed product line.
The Vertex 2 is based on almost identical technology to the Agility 2, but marginally faster throughout. If you shop around, though, the two drives are available for almost identical cash. In fact, the 60GB Vertex 2 is £10 cheaper at two stores at the time of writing.
Which puts us in the odd situation of really liking the Agility 2 and acknowledging it as a step forward for SSDs in general, but unable to really recommend it.
Buy the Vertex 2 instead. OCZ will presumably be just happy either way.
Up until now, SSDs have had one sided performance, reading files very quickly but being much slower to write data down onto the drive. Thanks to the new SF-1200 controller, the Agility 2 is has almost symmetrical read/write performance in sequential tasks.
With no real world price advantage over its marginally faster stablemate, the Vertex 2, however, it's hard to think of a reason why you'd choose this instead of its smarter sibling.
A superb drive, but no reason to buy it over the faster Vertex 2.