Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, January 9th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Patriot_Pryo_SE_Review/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Over the last few months we have examined Patriot’s high-end Wildfire SSD, along with their more cost effective Pyro model. Both of these SSDs were based on the SandForce SF-2281 processor and supported fast speeds via the SATA 6Gbps support. However, each drive utilized a separate NAND design which meant the performance difference between the two was so vast, anyone looking for bleeding edge performance really had to shell out for the Wildfire. This no longer needs to be the case however, as Patriot now has a new drive on the market designed to fill the gap between the Wildfire and Pryo.
The new drive is the Pryo SE (Second Edition) and like its predecessor is based on the SandForce controller. However, the design has been tweaked as the Pyro SE utilizes 25nm synchronous MLC NAND flash memory, as opposed to asynchronous. This should improve the drive's performance when it comes to transferring files of incompressible data, thus improving the performance over the standard Pyro drive. The Pyro SE offers read and write speeds of 500+ MB/s, and delivers IOPS at up to 85,000 (4K random write).
Patriot was kind enough to send us both their 120GB and 240GB Pyro SE models. While both utilize the same design and offer similar performance, the 240GB model has an MSRP of $449, while the 120GB model retails for a more modest $204. Also, since we have two drives on hand it gives us the chance to rn the drives together in RAID to really unleash their potential.
||60GB, 120GB and 240GB capacities|
Max Read: up to 525MB/s
Max Write: up to 500MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 45,000 IOPS
Maximum 4K Random Write: 85,000 IOPS
||MLC NAND Flash|
||SATA 6Gbps / Backwards compatible 3Gbps|
||Slim 2.5" design|
|dimensions||99.8 x 69.63 x 9.3mm|
||0°C ~ 70°C|
||0°C ~ 55°C|
||-45°C ~ 85°C|
||2.7W Active, 1.5W Idle|
||Up to 1500G|
|compatibility||Windows 7, Vista, XP, Mac OSX and Linux|
||2 million hours|
Like the Patriot Pyro, the Pyro SE is packaged in a box that displays the drive through the front. The front panel also highlights the memory type used in the Pyro SE, its SATA interface, storage capacity and form factor. As you can see from the image below, both the 120GB and 240GB models use the same style of packaging.
On the back of the box you'll get a run down of the drive features printed in various languages. The back panel also lists the drive's warranty period, model number and so on. The Pyro SE SSD itself is secured into a clam-shell casing with a plastic liner to prevent the drive from moving around inside the box. Like the Pyro, the Pyro SE does not come with a 3.5" to 2.5" drive bay convertor. This is quickly becoming a non-issue however, as most modern cases either have native support for 2.5" drives, or include an adapter to install at least one SSD.
Both of the Pyro SE drives come in the standard 2.5" metal enclosure and have a black and orange product decal on the front. Both drives are made of quality materials, so there should be no chance of the inner contents getting damaged from electrostatic or a fall. The reverse side of the drives have yet another product sticker that lists the drives' capacity, serial number and ROHS compliance. Patriot takes prides in noting that it assembles its drives in the U.S.
All the drives in the Pyro SE series are powered by the second generation SandForce SSD controller (SF-2281), and supports the 6Gbps SATA III interface. The drives also use 25nm MLC NAND synchronous flash memory, and support read and write speeds of 550MB/s and 520MB/s, respectively. In addition, the Pyro SE features excellent 4k file write performance of 85,000 IOPS for the 120GB and 240GB models, while the 60GB model is capable of up to 80,000 IOPS. For the most part, these specifications are in keeping with the original Pyro series, but the synchronous memory should further improve the performance of the SE series.
The SandForce SSD controller also offers native TRIM support for garbage collection in supporting operating systems such as Microsoft Windows 7, as well as Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with 32 commands and all the exclusive DuraClass technologies we have come to expect from SandFroce drives. Even though the Patriot Pyro SE is based on the SATA 6Gb/s interface, it is backwards compatible with SATA 3Gb/s and SATA 1.5Gbs interfaces. The drives also supports ECC paired with RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) for enhanced reliability, and as mentioned earlier garbage collection which essentially works as an internal defragmentation tool to keep the SSD clean of unused data.
The images below are of the bare printed circuit board, showing a layout similar to that used on previous generation SandForce drives. There are a total of sixteen 25nm multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory chips. The NAND has a cost-effective design by utilizing 25nm synchronous MLC Flash, which increases the performance of the drive but adds an additional premium. The memory modules on the PCB are arranged in rows of two on both sides of the board, and each NAND chip has a capacity of 8GB or 16GB, depending on the drive. Also, the over-provisioning for these models is around 6%, so the final storage capacity will be slightly under the listed capacity of the drive.
Windows 7 Boot & Shutdown
The title of this test says it all. To test the start up speed we enter the boot manager prior to entering Windows and select the drive we are currently testing. Once we have selected the drive we record the time it takes from the time we hit "Enter" in the boot manager, until the desktop has appeared and the LAN is connected.
The Shut Down test is also recorded via a stop watch, but for this test we shut down all applications and test the time it takes for the system to fully power down after we hit the "Shut Down" button.
Both the boot and shutdown tests see the Pyro SE off to a good start. The Pyro SE was able to have our test computer up and running in around 25 seconds. However, when the drives were setup in a RAID 0 array, the boot time dropped to just 19 seconds. That's impressive, and the fastest boot time we have recorded to date. The shutdown time was also quite good with this model, as it was able to go from the desktop to the no power state in just 5 seconds.
Call of Juarez
This time, the score used is not the benchmark score, but rather the time it takes to load.
Far Cry 2
It's the same principle for Far Cry 2's built-in benchmark.
The Pyro SE drives also did quite well in the load time tests. Both drives were able to load Far Cry 2 and Call of Juarez in just about 15 seconds, which puts them right in line with the other SATA 6G SSDs. However, RAID also continues to show real world performance gains, as both Call of Juarez and Far Cry 2 loaded a few seconds faster when the drives were teamed together.
HD Tune Read
HD Tune is an application for benchmarking hard drives. The first benchmark we run with HD Tune consist of testing the drives read performance. Once the test is finished we record the average, maximum and minimum transfer levels.
HD Tune Write
The second HD Tune test we run deals with the write speeds of the drive, and like the read test we are recording the average, maximum and minimum transfer levels.
In terms of read and write performance, the Pyro SE drives are not the fastest models we have tested. Still, they are noticeably faster than the first generation Pyro drive and of course they still destroy any standard mechanical hard drive.
Futuremark PCMark Vantage
PCMark is a benchmarking suite from FutureMark, who also make the renown 3DMark. It includes many tests to calculate overall system performance including hard drive performance. The hard drive suite performs tasks such as scanning for viruses, streaming, recording and more. It is a fairly good indicative of general real-world performance.
Futuremark PCMark 7
PCMark resembles a lot to the 3DMark suite from FutureMark, except the fact that it includes many other tests like hard drive speed, memory and processor power, so it is considered as a system benchmark and not just a gaming benchmark.
Just like the previous benchmark, the Pyro SE drives do not end up as the fastest in our testbed, but they are still faster than their predecessor. They also blow away the performance of the Seagate HDD we tested for comparison.
Futuremark PCMark 7 System Storage Suite
PCMark 7 System Storage Suite measures the performance of a PC's storage unit by running multiple test types. In all the benchmark tests the drives Windows Defender, video editing, adding music, gaming, importing pictures, media center and starting applications performance.
As we have seen in the previous tests, the synchronous NAND helps give the Pryo SE a leg up in comparison to the original Pyro, but the drives are still slightly slower than Patriot's WildFire which uses higher quality flash memory.
SiSoftware Sandra 2009
Sandra, by SiSoftware, is a tool capable of benchmarking about every component found inside a computer. In this case, we are using the physical disk tool, which measures read and write performance of a given drive.
Both the Pyro SE models performed great in our Sandra 2009 storage performance test. The 240GB Pryo SE was actually able to slightly surpass the WildFire in the read test.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
The ATTO disk Benchmark, developed by a company of the same name, measures the storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. The images below are as followed: 120GB Patriot Pryo SE, 240GB Patriot Pyro SE, RAID 0 Patriot Pyro SE, Patriot Wildfire, Patriot Pyro, Corsair Force GT.
Both the Pyro SE drives delivered impressive performance across the board in our ATTO benchmark. The RAID performance was just amazing, as the speeds were nearly double the performance of a single drive.
This test consists of copying our standard 100MB, 500MB and 1GB folder also used in our WinRAR test from one partition to the other, thus requiring reads and writes. The chronometer is started as soon as the "paste" button is clicked and is stopped whenever the window indicating the copy status disappears.
When it came to copying our custom files, the Pryo SE drives were just as fast as the other SATA 6G models. RAID again demonstrated a real-world performance improvement, as it was able to transfer an entire gigabyte of data in just 4 seconds.
While most other storage benchmarks are designed with mechanical hard drives in mind, AS SSD, developed by Alex Schepeljanski, is built specifically for solid state drives. The application measure sequential and random read and write performance as well as access time. The performance charts below are as followed: 120GB Patriot Pryo SE, 240GB Patriot Pyro SE, RAID 0 Patriot Pyro SE, Patriot Wildfire, Patriot Pyro, Corsair Force GT.
Both the 120GB and 240GB models showcased excellent performance in AS SSD, but it was the results from the RAID configuration that impressed us the most with a sequential read of 949.34MB/s.
Patriot’s SandForce SSD lineup is already quite impressive, as both the WildFire and Pyro performing flawlessly for their respective price points. However, adding the Pyro SE to the lineup allows Patriot to offer a drive that performs nearly at the same level as the WildFire, but at a lower price point. This offers potential buyers a better value without them having to sacrifice too much in the way of performance.
In our tests, the latest Patriot SSDs did indeed land right between the original Pyro and the WildFire. This is to be expected, as the synchronous NAND allows the Pryo SE to transfer files faster the original Pyro. Since the WildFire uses higher quality NAND than the Pyro SE to begin with, it is still going to enjoy the best overall performance. It really all comes down to the price. If all you’re after is bleeding edge performance then the WildFire is going to be the sure bet, but if you’re looking for excellent performance in a more cost effective package, the Pyro SE is going to be a better fit for your needs (and budget).
In addition, the Pyro SE comes with all with all the features we have come to expect from second generation SandForce drives. These include native TRIM support, garbage collection, ECC and high IOPS performance. On top of these though, the newest crop of Pyro SE drives include the latest 3.3.2 firmware patch, which fixes the dreaded BSOD issue. Even though this issue was extremely rare and only happened under certain circumstances, it is nice to see that Patriot has adopted the latest firmware so quickly.
The Pyro SE series also scales incredibly well when implemented in a RAID 0 array. Our testing indicated that when teamed together, the drives could reach read speeds of 930Mb/s which is just insane. At this speed, the two drives virtually saturate the entire SATA 6Gb/s interface. The RAID 0 configuration also delivered better real world performance, allowing the drives to load into games faster as well as transfer files quicker. So if you can afford it, setting up two of these beasts in a RAID array will produce amazing results.
Overall the Patriot Pyro SE series is an excellent SSD based on the SandForce design, and even while the price is still hovering around $2 per gigabyte, the performance is top notch.
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