The OCZ Agility EX is hands-down the best performing SSD we have come across based on the Indilinx Barefoot controller thanks to the use of SLC NAND memory as opposed to the more common MLC. The most noticeable performance advantages that SLC flash memory provided were seen when working with small data as every single benchmark showed big speed gains for the Agility EX.
Besides outclassing all tested SSDs based on the Indilinx Barefoot controller, the Agility EX was also faster than the Corsair P128 drive, which uses the latest Samsung controller.
We were a bit surprised to see the steep performance drop when running HD Tune Pro, specifically in the 1MB and random write tests where it achieved the lowest scores at 133 and 100 MB/s respectively; versus 191 and 151 MB/s for the Corsair SSD. Things improved for the Agility EX while measuring both read and write performance with HD Tune Pro when it came to smaller files, beating the competition by modest margins.
While there's no denying the Agility EX is a remarkably fast solid state drive, the real concern we have surrounds its value. At ~$6.65 per gigabyte, OCZ's Agility EX is far from cheap, and with just a 60GB model available consumers are not getting a great deal of storage either.
The drive is 45% more expensive per gigabyte than the Vertex Turbo, which means that the 120GB version is only a fraction more expensive and offers double the capacity. Of course the Agility EX was considerably faster than the Vertex Turbo in most of our benchmarks, so you'll be faced with the decision of whether or not to throw value and capacity right out the window in favor of performance.
That said, as far as SLC NAND-based SSDs are concerned, the Agility EX actually offers the best value around. Priced at $400, it compares favorably against Intel's X25-E Extreme, which costs $380 or $800 for the respective 32GB and 64GB versions. G.Skill offers a 64GB SLC drive priced at $420 but its specs can't compare to those of the Agility EX, and OCZ also has the Vertex EX priced at around $660 for the 60GB model.
So besides offering great performance the Agility EX is the most affordable SLC SSD on the market today. Still, we are not sure that its price premium over MLC drives can be justified unless you are looking for mission-critical reliability. Even when taking into account the lifespan advantages, by the time an alternative MLC based storage solution like the Vertex Turbo is ready to give up the ghost we expect SSD technology to be both considerably faster and more affordable.
This means saving up to 45% per gigabyte on a MLC SSD to sacrifice relatively little performance now might actually be the smartest choice you could make for the future.