For the past nine months, Intel's X25-M G2 has been the solid state drive to beat, and manufacture as it might, rival OCZ hasn't been able to mass produce a SSD capable of matching its fantastic all-around performance. The original Vertex 2 Pro might have done the trick, but the company scrapped it after the speedy SandForce SF-1500 controller was found wanting, and only 5,000 of the 270MB / sec, 15,000 IOPS drives were ever produced. But now, OCZ's back with SandForce's cheaper SF-1200 chip, and surprise of surprises, the drives it power are even faster -- at least on paper -- than before. The new Vertex 2 and Agility 2 SSDs boast maximum sequential read speeds of 285MB / sec and 275MB / sec writes, and can perform those all-important 4K random writes at up to 50,000 IOPS on a Vertex, or a very respectable 10,000 IOPS for the budget Agility line. The company expects both drives to ship in the next few weeks in usable capacities of 50GB, 100GB and 200GB (provisioning an extra 14GB of overhead for each 50GB of storage) with 400GB SSDs planned further down the road. Now then, OCZ, how about that price tag?

Update: Though we believe Intel's X25-M G2 is still considered the front-runner in the consumer space, it is worth noting that OCZ's new SSDs still have catching up to do in order to match the superb numbers generated by the more expensive enthusiast drive, the Crucial RealSSD C300. We'll have to see which incumbent OCZ is actually competing with (if not both) when it announces price points. [Thanks, SSD!]