OCZ's Agility 3 solid state drive is classified in their high-performance category just under the Vertex 3 and Vertex 3 Max IOPS drives. It offers better performance than the value-minded Solid series and in some tests, performance was on-par with the Vertex 3. Other tests, however, illuminate the performance gap between the two high-performance STAT 6Gb/sec drives. Perhaps the most telling test was our real world transfer test, where the Vertex 3 was nearly 10 seconds faster than the Agility 3.
The reason for the performance gap has to do with the type of memory that OCZ selected for the Agility 3: asynchronous instead of the synchronous found on the Vertex 3. Asynchronous is cheaper and as we have seen here, is a good bit slower in certain circumstances. This would be all fine if the two drives were priced accordingly, however that isn't really the case today.
A 240GB Agility 3 sells for $489.99 at Newegg while the Vertex 3 can be had for only $10 more. At this capacity, I see no reason to buy an Agility 3 over the Vertex 3 only to save $10. The gap widens a little more at the 120GB capacity; a $30 savings on the Agility 3 over the Vertex 3, but even then, I'd likely spend the extra money for the faster drive. Finally, a "value" model 120GB Solid 3 is only $5 cheaper than a 120GB Agility 3. I'm thinking that these tiny price gaps are a result of these being new drives and hopefully we will see the gap widen over time.
This, of course, is not to say that the Agility 3 is a bad drive. SandForce arguably makes the best SSD controllers on the market and the SF-2281 controller inside the Agility 3 is no slouch. The drive is backed by a 3 year warranty, supports RAID configurations and has native TRIM support.
But the choice to go with slower memory to cut costs isn't currently reflected on the open market. I'd like to see the Agility 3 drop in price a good bit over the Vertex 3 to make it a more solid choice.
OCIA.net awards the OCZ Agility 3 240GB our Silver Seal of Approval.