Mainstream SSD Shootout: Crucial v4 vs. OCZ Agility 4 256GB

By on August 28, 2012, 1:06 AM

It's been a great year for prospective SSD shoppers as prices are finally becoming more practical for system builders and consumers alike. Scrolling through our reviews from last year, most of the higher capacity models were prohibitively expensive for "mainstream" enthusiasts.

By mid 2012, SSD prices fell through the floor, costing approximately half as much as last year. Granted, that's still nowhere near as economical as standard hard drives, so companies have continued to offer affordable solutions in addition to their high-end series to drive sale volumes.

Such is the case with OCZ and the Agility 4, a budget-minded counterpart to the Vertex 4 that employs cheaper NAND flash memory. In similar fashion we recently saw the arrival of the Crucial v4 series. With both the Agility 4 and Crucial's v4 priced at just under $200 for 256GB models, it seems we have the makings of a value-driven shootout...

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 35

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cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I never thought of weak performance as being a pro. LOL

Editor note: Fixed .

FLWrd said:

One of the graphs (AS SSD Benchmark Access Time) is nearly useless because of the huge difference between the best and worst score. It would have been better to present it with a logarithmic scale, cut of the Hitachi at the double of the second worst, or delete it altogether.

ajua said:

You didn't include results for the SanDisk Extreme SSD 240GB which has great speeds and is selling in between $165-$180 as I write this.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

One of the graphs (AS SSD Benchmark Access Time) is nearly useless because of the huge difference between the best and worst score. It would have been better to present it with a logarithmic scale, cut of the Hitachi at the double of the second worst, or delete it altogether.

Sorry I don't see how this is nearly useless at all, you just need to be able to read as the figures are all there. I do not see why we would remove some drives in some tests rather than just include all drives in all tests.

You didn't include results for the SanDisk Extreme SSD 240GB which has great speeds and is selling in between $165-$180 as I write this.

The SanDisk Extreme SSD 240GB is just another SandForce SF-2281 drive and we already included the Intel SSD 510 Series and Kingston HyperX. Also we base most of our prices off what can be found at Newegg.com and right now the SanDisk Extreme SSD 240GB is retailing for $215.

Guest said:

Long story short...the Crucial drive is an Edsel according to the review. Then again the Agility was also surprisingly low in performance compared to the Vertex 4, also from OCZ. Considering that the prices are similar I would have expected somewhat similar performance within the same brand. If I do pick something up soon for an upgrade it won't end up being either of these it appears.

Guest said:

There is almost every week a sale in the Agility 4 256GB. Last week newegg had it on sale for $159.90 after a $20 mail in rebate.

Guest said:

With OCZ 256GB Vertex 4 at $200, I'm not sure why I would even look at the other two.

Jim$ter said:

OCZ has never been reliable for me..I've had Vertex 1 and 2....we then got a crucial and it seems very reliable and just as fast in real world use.. Will never use an OCZ due to it's unreliability. Look on newegg and amazon at the reviews and the slightly better performance is not worth the $$ or hassle. OCZ Is the worse in my book.

Guest said:

Regardless of performance, I'll never use an OCZ drive again.. three (OCZ) drive failures over the span of a few weeks left a pretty bad taste in my mouth.

Seventh Reign Seventh Reign said:

8 out of every 10 OCZ SSD will fail within 2 months. The other 2 will last 65 days.

JC713 JC713 said:

The v4 just suffers because of its 3gb/s interface. it is made for budget buyers who want an ssd for the hdd price

JC713 JC713 said:

With OCZ 256GB Vertex 4 at $200, I'm not sure why I would even look at the other two.

The Samsung 830 has Samsung's own custom controller for that price at the same capacity. Go figure.

Guest said:

I wonder if they were using the latest firmware on the Agility 4 SSD. OCZ has been going a really good job releasing new firmwares that squeeze out more performance on the drives.

Beyond the comparison of these two, this is reassuring that the Vertex 4 is the SSD to get, atm.

Guest said:

I love my Agility 3 drives and I don't care what bad things people say about OCZ. Their customer service, RAM and SSDs have been top notch for me so far.

Glad to see the prices dropping, wonder why they are dropping though... with HDDs becoming more expensive due to floods and SSDs becoming popular, the demand growth should be faster than the supply growth. What am I missing?

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The v4 just suffers because of its 3gb/s interface. it is made for budget buyers who want an ssd for the hdd price

No its nearly the same price as its big brother (the M4) and the performance is shedloads lower. It doesn't max out Sata 3GB so you can't say thats why it suffers. It suffers because its made of cheap parts that don't add up to a good value product. Strange move from Crucial.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

8 out of every 10 OCZ SSD will fail within 2 months. The other 2 will last 65 days.
I'm glad to see not everyones statement holds true. How can anyone make a statement saying OCZ drives have a 100% failure rate?

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

My Agility 2 has been an excellent SSD.

Has the gaming, multi-tasking and OS boot time speed of a Vertex 2, with no problems and great support from OCZ.

Been 14 months, not a single issue.

Anyone complaining about thier reliability are usually people with no leg to stand on or any evidence to support thier claim and choose to ***** because thier upset thier more expensive SSD is getting smoked; and they paid more per GB. Most sandforce issues were PEBKAC.

howzz1854 said:

My Agility 2 has been an excellent SSD.

Has the gaming, multi-tasking and OS boot time speed of a Vertex 2, with no problems and great support from OCZ.

Been 14 months, not a single issue.

Anyone complaining about thier reliability are usually people with no leg to stand on or any evidence to support thier claim and choose to ***** because thier upset thier more expensive SSD is getting smoked; and they paid more per GB. Most sandforce issues were PEBKAC.

so you're saying all the 1000+ reviews out there on amazon and newegg are all people who have no leg to stand on and don't know what they're doing and like to bag on OCZ for producing a great product? I am sorry, I see where you're coming from, but this just doesn't make sense. in cases where you have some people complaining about a product and its failure rate that bring down the overall rating of a product, which I can understand. but when you have an overall majority of people having the same issue of failure and complaining about the product, which defines the overall low rating of a product, that's a different story. if I see I product on Newegg or Amazon that has 4 stars, while some bag about its shortcomings, I can easily overlook the few bad review and knowing that the overall majority of the product "should" be good. but when I see a 2 star overall rating on a product where majority of the customers complain about the same issue, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the majority of the product has a problems.

I think you're one of the few who happen to have a perfect product that actually works the way it should, and you lucked out on that. but that doesn't mean the majority out there are WRONG.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

if I see I product on Newegg or Amazon that has 4 stars, while some bag about its shortcomings, I can easily overlook the few bad review and knowing that the overall majority of the product "should" be good. but when I see a 2 star overall rating on a product where majority of the customers complain about the same issue, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the majority of the product has a problems.

I think you're one of the few who happen to have a perfect product that actually works the way it should, and you lucked out on that. but that doesn't mean the majority out there are WRONG.

Which would also bring into question how many consumers haven't reported whether being positive or negative. For personal reasons(I'm not the card bearer), I've not been able to rate the products I have received. I'm willing to bet that people with negative experiences are more likely to report back.

howzz1854 said:

if I see I product on Newegg or Amazon that has 4 stars, while some bag about its shortcomings, I can easily overlook the few bad review and knowing that the overall majority of the product "should" be good. but when I see a 2 star overall rating on a product where majority of the customers complain about the same issue, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the majority of the product has a problems.

I think you're one of the few who happen to have a perfect product that actually works the way it should, and you lucked out on that. but that doesn't mean the majority out there are WRONG.

Which would also bring into question how many consumers haven't reported whether being positive or negative. For personal reasons(I'm not the card bearer), I've not been able to rate the products I have received. I'm willing to bet that people with negative experiences are more likely to report back.

it's true, and it's a well known fact that people tend to report negative reviews more often, and are less likely to report positive ones. but on an overall scale of picture. you're looking at a overall rating/review of two products, one with thousands of negative reviews and one with thousands. it just reinforces the positive conviction of the positive reviews. the product must be really great for someone to put up a positive review, and we're not talking tens of hundreds, we're talking thousands. I personally do not own either, but I do know that OCZ SSD drives are well known in the community as the least, if not one of the least reliable brands based on feedbacks from others.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Nice to see the Kingston HyperX 3K consistently at the top of the charts!

Question: Am I topping out at 177MB/s in writes running Crystal Disk Mark because my HyperX 3K is only 120GB?

Glad to see the prices dropping, wonder why they are dropping though... with HDDs becoming more expensive due to floods and SSDs becoming popular, the demand growth should be faster than the supply growth. What am I missing?

You're missing the truth. HDD prices are basically back to pre-flood levels already. When I got my 1TB WD Green before the flooding it was $64cdn, and now it's $69, and the 1TB WD Blue only $79.

Tanstar said:

8 out of every 10 OCZ SSD will fail within 2 months. The other 2 will last 65 days.

I've had mine for 9 months. No failures.

Tanstar said:

The v4 just suffers because of its 3gb/s interface. it is made for budget buyers who want an ssd for the hdd price

But it isn't significantly cheaper and certainly isn't hdd price.

Zecias said:

if I see I product on Newegg or Amazon that has 4 stars, while some bag about its shortcomings, I can easily overlook the few bad review and knowing that the overall majority of the product "should" be good. but when I see a 2 star overall rating on a product where majority of the customers complain about the same issue, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the majority of the product has a problems.

I think you're one of the few who happen to have a perfect product that actually works the way it should, and you lucked out on that. but that doesn't mean the majority out there are WRONG.

Which would also bring into question how many consumers haven't reported whether being positive or negative. For personal reasons(I'm not the card bearer), I've not been able to rate the products I have received. I'm willing to bet that people with negative experiences are more likely to report back.

it's true, and it's a well known fact that people tend to report negative reviews more often, and are less likely to report positive ones. but on an overall scale of picture. you're looking at a overall rating/review of two products, one with thousands of negative reviews and one with thousands. it just reinforces the positive conviction of the positive reviews. the product must be really great for someone to put up a positive review, and we're not talking tens of hundreds, we're talking thousands. I personally do not own either, but I do know that OCZ SSD drives are well known in the community as the least, if not one of the least reliable brands based on feedbacks from others.

The third gen OCZ SSDs have a reputation of frequent failures. But I've heard that the 4th gen is much better because they use everest controllers rather than the buggy firmware of the sandforce controllers.

The v4 just suffers because of its 3gb/s interface. it is made for budget buyers who want an ssd for the hdd price

But it isn't significantly cheaper and certainly isn't hdd price.

They are significantly cheaper than they were last year. Last year the prices averaged more than $2 per GB and you were able to get $1 per GB with sales and rebates. Now the averaged ~$1.70 per GB and I've seen some SSDs for less than $0.5 per GB with a rebate.

howzz1854 said:

You can find Crucial M4 256 on amazon for just a tad less than $200 now, that's less than a dollar per GB. I might just pull the trigger soon, more towards this holiday season.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

My 512GB Vertex 4 (which is even faster than the 256 included in this review) has not given me any problems yet either... but you can bet if it craps out I'll be crying very loudly.

Twixtea said:

8 out of every 10 OCZ SSD will fail within 2 months. The other 2 will last 65 days.

I have one for a year and have no problems.

Update firmware maybe?

Guest said:

I think you missed the most important number: 1.5, as in 1.5 gb/s. I use an HP/Compaq NC4400 laptop at live music/dj/kj gigs. It's small (doesn't distract), powerful enough (2ghz duo) and cheap ($135.00). Drive speed is becoming important because I am starting to use softsynths. I'm stuck with a 1.5 gb/s interface. If I want to go the SSD route I don't have many options and so far the V4 seems to be the best and cheapest.

I suspect the V4 was actually intended for laptops with 1.5 gb/s interfaces and the only reason it has a SATA II interface is because it's a technological non-issue to do both. You can think of it as a "retrofit" design with a really good price. Given that perspective, the comparison with a SATA III drive is informative but misses the point.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

So you think it is worth saving $10 to buy a far inferior product? It wasn't made for the 1.5Gb/s bus because almost no one uses it anymore and even less are going to invest $100 plus in an SSD for such an old computer. Particularly given you can buy a decent Core i3 laptop brand new for less than $400.

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IanMark IanMark said:

Why is it that writers do reviews with apples and oranges?

The Crucial M4 is a SATAll drive and the OCZ Agility 4 drive is SATAlll. Why not compare a Corvette ZR1 and a Corvette Z06 and say the Z06 is not as fast?

Do you actually get paid to write stuff like this?

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Odd logic :eek: . It's the v4 by the way and it was released around the same time as the Agility 4 for roughly the same price. Both are budget SSDs, the v4 is the budget option to the m4 and the Agility 4 is the budget option to the Vertex 4. Sorry but to me it makes sense to compare them regardless of the SATA spec.

Why not compare a Corvette ZR1 and a Corvette Z06 and say the Z06 is not as fast?

Do I really need to say why? That analogy doesn't even apply here .... But okay.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I just thought I should update this thread with a little info on our experience with the Crucial v4 drive. The drive has an issue that causes the system to pause for a few seconds every now and then. Crucial has not issue a firmware update that solves this and there are quite a large number of v4 users reporting this problem over on the Crucial forums. We have been running the drive in an office PC for about 4 months now and the system pause happens once every few days, so not a lot but it is still annoying.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

I've had mine for 9 months. No failures.

2 Vertex 3's for over a year now... working flawlessly!

Guest said:

I wish I had read this article back in January when I purchased my Crucial V4. It failed last night in the middle of a backup process. Drive no longer recognized by any of the three computers in the house. It went from working to nothing but a huge frustration literally overnight.

what a piece of trash!

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I wish I had read this article back in January when I purchased my Crucial V4. It failed last night in the middle of a backup process. Drive no longer recognized by any of the three computers in the house. It went from working to nothing but a huge frustration literally overnight.

what a piece of trash!

Yep a bad product indeed. Just a few months after using it in a system we ran into constant system pauses. Now our sample v4 drive no longer works either, though the data on it wasn't lost. It only copied about 10-20GB at a time before crashing. We binned it about 3 months ago.

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