A lot of us tend to look at SSD reviews and drool over those super-fast boot times and extremely mind-boggling read and write speeds. Current mechanical hard drives cannot hope to catch up and their only benefit is the increased storage space you get on one platter. So if you’re in the market for a new SSD, or if you’re looking for something new to fantisize about this Friday, here’s the OCZ Vertex and Agility 4 families for you to look at 🙂

Previously in the SSD market, Kingston used to be the go-to brand as they had the best prices, better value for money and offered up great performance. Today OCZ is that brand in South Africa and is generally what most people recommend for new builds and for people looking for an upgrade,  but extra GPU or CPU power won’t help them. I’ve always, always wanted a SSD to play with since they first launched. Even when I knew about the drawbacks to the technology in its current form back then, playing with one wouldn’t have been such a bad thing.

Today SSDs come with longer warranties that most mechanical hard drives and perform better, faster and use less electricity. There’s a wide range of sizes ranging from the barely useable 30GB to the extremely expensive this-costs-two-kidneys-and-and-arm 512GB drives which aren’t worth the money spent on them at all. Well, that’s unless you consider the 30,000km services to a Range Rover Sport pocket change because then the price doesn’t matter.

Starting off in the baby range, the Agility 4 64GB ships with read and write speeds of 300MB/s and 200MB/s respectively. The drive is powered by OCZ’s in-house Indilinx controller which has none of the drawbacks when working with incompressible data like other controllers do. There’s still a speed deficit of around 30-40MB/s when working with incompressible data, but its nothing like the drops Sandforce drives exhibit in benchmarks and real-world tests. The Agility 4 range tops out with the 256GB drive with read and write speeds standing at 400MB/s for both. Both drives have 5-year warranties and native TRIM support. With the latest Intel RST drivers, you can even put two of these together in RAID 1 or RAID 0 to enjoy better performance while keeping TRIM active.

The bigger brother in the family is the Vertex 4 drives, starting off with the 64GB model. Read speeds are boosted up to 460MB/s and writes are up to 220MB/s, thanks in part to better-performing NAND cells and also due to different firmware which unlocks the capabilities of the regular Agility 4 drives. If you’re wondering, you can’t flash the Agility 4 into a Vertex 4 – other people have tried and failed. Also sticking to a 5-year warranty, the drives support 256bit AES encryption and  an ATA Security mode, critical for use in a business environment where the drive and its information may be stolen.

The Vertex 4 tops out with the 256GB model, sporting reads of 550MB/s and 465MB/s in write benchmarks. Its worth nothing that OCZ’s updates have already increased the read and write speeds for incompressible data and the latest beta 1.5 firmware for Agility and Vertex 4 drives larger than 128GB are given an impressive speed boost. Thanks to OCZ’s improvements to their drives, over time you would be able to see your investment pay for itself in performance.

Are you buying a SSD anytime soon? Which one are you going for?

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