Patriot wildfire 120gb: Patriot Wildfire 2.5″ 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) PW120GS25SSDR

Patriot Wildfire 120GB review |

Performance Analysis

AS-SSD’s incompressible data is the worst-case scenario for SandForce-based SSDs, so it’s good to see the Patriot Wildfire account so well for itself in this test. The sequential read speed of 519MB/sec matched that of the OCZ Vertex 3 240GB, as did the sequential write speed of 246MB/sec.

The sequential write speed is still a long way off the 550MB/sec sequential write speed claimed by Patriot, and is also less than the 294MB/sec we saw from the Vertex 3 with its old firmware. With the new firmware applied, the Vertex 3 was even slower than the Wildfire. This seems to be a trend of the ‘fixed’ firmware (see our note on page 1 for more details).

The Wildfire’s performance does differ, and quite substantially, from the Vertex 3 240GB when it came to random 4KB incompressible performance though. With its v2.09 firmware, the Vertex 3 has dropped random write performance in preference of random read speed, particularly under heavy multi-threaded load.

With 4KB single-threaded random reads, the Wildfire managed a speed of 20MB/sec, which is a little slower than the Vertex 3. The 4KB single-threaded random write speed of 106MB/sec was much better, proving the Wildfire’s claims of improved random performance. In the same test the Vertex 3 with its latest firmware produced just 100MB/sec.

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In the 64-threaded 4KB random read and write tests, performance was very different between the two drives too. The difference between the old and new versions of Vertex 3 firmware was interesting, as it dropped a wedge of 64-threaded 4KB random write speed performance in favour extra read speed.

Meanwhile, the Wildfire bears more in common with the Vertex 3 as it first shipped, with a 64-threaded 4KB random read speed of 189MB/sec and a write speed of 200MB/sec.

In the ATTO benchmark, which uses compressible data, making it a best-case scenario for a SandForce based SSD, the WildFire displayed much the same performance as the Vertex 3. With a 1,024KB sequential read speed of 545MB/sec and a 1,024KB sequential write speed of 505MB/sec, the Wildfire performed exactly as we’d expect a SandForce SF-2281 SSD to in this test: crazy fast.

However, the updated Vertex 3 edged the Wildfire out in these headline benchmarks. Its read speed was 2MB/sec faster while its write speed was 8MB/sec faster.

TRIM Performance

The new Vertex 3 firmware has also improved TRIM support. The Vertex 3 initially suffered a decrease in sequential write speed after use, from 290MB/sec to 240MB/sec. However, this latter speed seems to be a SandForce drive’s nominal sequential write speed now, with the Wildfire reporting much the same performance after heavy use as it did fresh out of the box.

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It’s tough for SSD partners to differentiate their products from those of their rivals. Apart from the branding and shiny casing, each SandForce SF-2281 drive is going to be inherently similar. The job is nowhere near as straightforward as making a GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB graphics card unique, for example

Patriot should be given credit then for aiming for the top of the market, looking to match OCZ’s Vertex 3 MAX IOPS drive thanks to its 32nm Toshiba NAND. However, this switch of NAND raises the price £30, and we saw little extra performance for this price premium.

Perhaps the Wildfire’s greatest challenge is how active Patriot will be regarding firmware updates. In the past, Patriot has released firmware updates for its drives, but as OCZ is SandForce’s preferred partner, its drives will typically receive updates before the rest of SandForce’s partners. While we’ve found SandForce SF-2281 based drives to be perfectly stable regardless of firmware version, we’d imagine those willing to spend £230 on 120GB of storage will also be the sort of person that wants their new purchase to be its best.

Regardless of its firmware update schedule though, we’re not convinced by the Patriot Wildfire. A Vertex 3 120GB can be had for £30 less, with similar hardware and performance, that’s the drive we’d opt for.

1 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB Review2 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB Test Setup3 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB AS SSD — Incompressible Data4 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB ATTO — Compressible Read and Write5 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB TRIM and Conclusion

Patriot Wildfire 120GB review |

Written by

Harry Butler

July 27, 2011 | 13:22

Tags: #patriot-wildfire #patriot-wildfire-120gb #sata-6gbps #ssd

Companies: #patriot #sandforce

1 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB Review2 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB Test Setup3 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB AS SSD — Incompressible Data4 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB ATTO — Compressible Read and Write5 — Patriot Wildfire 120GB TRIM and Conclusion

Patriot Wildfire 120GB Review

Manufacturer: Patriot
UK Price (as reviewed):£229. 99 (inc VAT)
US Price(as reviewed):$299.99 (ex tax)

With the SandForce SF-2281 SATA drive controller having proved itself to be the performance king of this generation of 6Gbps SSDs, plenty of SSD manufacturers are forging agreements to produce drives based around the chip. At present OCZ, Corsair, ADATA and Patriot have all signed up, with more to come, but it’s the latter we’re interested with today, as Patriot’s 120GB Wildfire aims for the very top of the SandForce tree.

The OCZ Vertex 3 240GB matched the SF-2281 drive controller with Intel 25nm MLC NAND, but like the Max IOPS version of the Vertex 3, the Patriot Wildfire makes use of 32nm Toshiba MLC NAND.

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According to Patriot, the switch to older 32nm NAND should see random read/write performance increase slightly, but it also sees a slight re-jig of the drive’s NAND layout. This is because 32nm NAND dies top out at 4GB, whereas 25nm MLC NAND supports up to 8GB per die. This means that whereas the Vertex 3 240GB used 16 16GB 25nm MLC modules (with two 8GB dies per module), the Patriot Wildfire 120GB uses 16 8GB 32nm MLC modules (with two 4GB dies per module). As the SF-2281 drive controller addresses eight separate NAND channels, this means the Wildfire, despite its switch the 32nm, still places two NAND modules on each channel.

Despite boasting 128GB of NAND, the Wildfire, like most SandForce SSDs, is slightly more over-provisioned than non-SandForce drives. With a formatted capacity of 112GB, 14 per cent has been handed over to spare area.

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The switch to 32nm NAND also sees the price of the drive increase, as production yields for 32nm are lower. This sees the Wildfire retail for £230, or £2.05/GB. This is £30 more than the similarly sized Vertex 3, but roughly the same as the Vertex 3 120GB Max IOPS, which also makes use of 32nm NAND.

Other than the difference in NAND, the Wildfire is still a SandForce SF-2281 drive, and so retains the performance caveats of that controller. Making use of SandForce’s DuraWrite technology, the drive actually writes less data than it’s given by performing on-the-fly data compression, saving NAND write cycles and providing a key performance advantage.

However, this advantage is most useful when dealing with uncompressed data. Heavily compressed data, such as video, photo or music files — and in some cases game files — read and write at a slower speed. Patriot rates the drive’s peak sequential speeds as 555MB/sec read and 520MB/sec write under optimum conditions.

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A word on firmware

As we published our Vertex 3 240GB review, a storm was brewing in the world of SandForce SSDs. A small number of OCZ Vertex 3 users reported continual BSODs, and Corsair was forced to recall a number of its Force 3 drives which were based around the same SF-2281 controller. Apparently this was for an unrelated problem to those suffered by OCZ customers.

OCZ told us that the issue affected less than 1 per cent of users, and we ourselves never experienced any of these issues.