The test system used in this review was an HP 8200 Elite. The computer came equipped with an Intel Core i5-2400 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz memory, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3250312AS 250GB SATA 6 Gb/s hard drive, NVIDIA Quadro FX580 512MB PCIe graphics card and an Intel 82579-LM gigabit network card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Enterprise.
To test the performance of the OCZ Agility 3, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark 3.0, HD Tach RW 220.127.116.11, ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46, HD Tune Pro 4.61 and Iometer. For comparison, I've also included test results from the Plextor PX-128M2S.
As I mentioned earlier, the Agility 3 is based on SandForce's SF-2281 controller. Like other SandForce controllers, the SF-2281 features a technology called DuraWrite, which uses data compression to lower write amplification and extend the life of the drive by reducing the number of program-erase cycles. This data compression also plays a big part in the controller's performance. The more the data can be the compressed, the faster an SSD like the Agility 3 is able to read and write. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see the considerable performance difference between incompressible (0%) and compressible (100%) data. This will come up a number of times in this review.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
According to OCZ, the 120GB Agility 3 is capable of reading at 525MB/s and writing at 475MB/s when connected to a SATA 6 Gb/s port. The drive didn't come close to these numbers using CrystalDiskMark's default (random) test data. However, with the highly compressible 0x00 (0 Fill) data, the Agility 3 was able to read at 464.5 MB/s and write at 431.2 MB/s.
HD Tach RW 18.104.22.168:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the Agility 3's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
OCZ Agility 3 120GB
Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the Agility 3 had average read and write speeds of 326.5 MB/s and 314.5 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 316.2 MB/s.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the Agility 3's sequential read and write speeds. The tests are run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the Agility 3's read speeds topped out at about 536 MB/s and its write speeds at 444 MB/s.