At first glance the Agility 3 looks like any other OCZ SSD that we have seen; a black casing with a sticker on the front and a brushed metal backplate. But if you look more closely, you will notice that there is a slight difference. Previous OCZ SSDs had a full black shell that the internals sat in. With this new Agility, we see that the brushed metal backplate now extends over and covers the left and right edges of the drive. I didn't think much of this until the other day when I remembered reading this article over at TweakTown a few weeks ago. I revisited the article and learned that the TweakTown guys were having fitment issues with newer OCZ SSDs in a Lenovo notebook. I do all of our SSD testing in a desktop system so it won't affect me here but if you have a Lenovo notebook you plan to put this in, this is something to note.
I spoke with OCZ about this issue and was told that Lenovo has more strict standards when it comes to drive size. Because of this, OCZ is planning to move back to their original metal SSD case sizes by the end of this month (June 2011). OCZ will assist customers in replacing old drives with new models should an issue arise on your end.
I removed the rear cover to gain access to the internals. Here we can see that the Agility 3 is using a SandForce SF-2281 series which is the same thing we saw on the Vertex 3, although the model number on the chip is slightly different. The drive uses the same firmware as the Vertex 3 as per OCZ's download page.
The 16 memory modules are labeled 29F128G08CFAAA which indicate 25nm Micron chips. This varies only by a single letter from what we saw on the Vertex 3, which were 29F128G08CFAAB. The difference between the two is synchronous and asynchronous modules. The Vertex 3 uses synchronous while the Agility features asynchronous. From what I have been able to gather in general about the two types of memory, synchronous is faster and more expensive than asynchronous. We will see how much this impacts performance during our benchmark testing shortly.
As mentioned, there are 16 memory modules in total - eight on the front and eight on the back. Each chip has a 16GB capacity for a total physical capacity of 256GB although the drive is only advertised as 240GB. This figure drops down to 224GB once formatted in Windows. The additional inaccessible pre-formatted space is reserved for Over Provisioning and is actually significantly lower than the 22% we found on the Vertex 2.
Let's move ahead and see how the Agility 3 stacks up against the Vertex 3.