Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Patriot_Pyro/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
The second generation SandForce controllers are still relatively new, but that hasn't stopped it from quickly becoming the new darling of the SSD market. Multiple manufacturers are steadily adding SF-2200 driven SSDs to their lineups, and just over the past month we have examined three new SF-2200 drives from various companies.
The success of the SandForce processors are due to their ability to maximize the throughput of the SATA 6Gbps interface with balanced read/write speeds, and deliver performance that nearly reaches the limits of the bus type. All the drives entering the market using the new processor are capable of reaching maximum read and write speeds of over 500MB/s, and also have an extremely impressive random 4k write performance of up to 85,000 IOPS. A year ago this level of performance was only achievable when using multiple drives in a RAID array, a set up that is more expensive than the average consumer could afford.
The latest drive on the market to utilize the second generation SandForce controller comes to us from Patriot, based on the SF-2281 processor and is dubbed the Pryo. This drive is able to support read speeds of up to 550MB/s, write speeds of 515MB/s, and 85,000 IOPS 4K random write performance. The Pyro is available in 240GB, 120GB and 60GB capacities, but unlike many other SandForce drives currently available, the Pyro will come aggressively priced.
||SATA III 6Gb/sec|
||120GB, 240GB, 480GB|
|Patriot Part #||PP120GS25SSDR (120BG)|
The Patriot Pyro comes packaged in a sleek retail case that displays the drive through the front and also lists the memory type, SATA interface, memory capacity and form factor. The color scheme of the box matches the Pyro, using the same black and orange colors that are found on the drive.
The back of the packaging instead uses a solid black panel that lists the drives features and specifications. Inside the packaging the Pyro SSD is secured into a clam-shell casing with a plastic liner to prevent the drive from moving around inside the box. Unfortunately the Pyro does not come with a 3.5" to 2.5" drive bay convertor, a cost saving measure used to keep the price down.
Looking at the Pyro we can see that it comes in a standard 2.5" metal enclosure and has a black and orange product sticker on the front. Tuning the drive around you will find yet another product sticker, but noticeably missing from the enclosure are any warranty voiding stickers. This could simply be a result of our SSD being a review sample, as opposed to the standard retail product.
The Pyro uses the SandForce SF-2200 series SSD processor paired with MLC NAND flash for best performance, value and reliability. The drive also utilizes the SATA 6Gbp/s interface and is capable of reaching maximum reads of 550MB/s, and write speeds of up to 515 MB/s. Like other second generation SandForce controllers, the Pyro features incredibly fast 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.
In addition, the SandForce SSD controller offers native TRIM support for garbage collection in supporting operating systems such as Microsoft Windows 7, 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 is based on the SATA 6Gb/s interface it is backwards compatible, making it fully compliant with SATA 3Gb/s and SATA 1.5Gbs interfaces.
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 asynchronous MLC Flash, which reduces the total cost of the drive. 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, giving the drive a maximum rating of 128GB. However, through over-provisioning of 6.3% the actual storage capacity available to the end-user will be 120GB.
Patriot Pyro 120GB, Corsair Force GT 120GB & Patriot Wildfire 120GB
OCZ RevoDrive 50GB & OCZ Agility 2 60GB
Patriot Torqx 128GB, Corsair Force 120GB
Patriot Zephyr 128GB
Since the drives were tested on two different platforms, we made sure that our benchmarks were not processor-bound, hence they are not exactly the same as in the OCZ Agility review.
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.
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 here for Far Cry 2's built-in benchmark.
The Patriot Pyro loaded both of our test games extremely fast, and so far we are not seeing much a real-world difference between the various type of flash used by the SF-2000 driven SSDs.
HD Tune is an application for benchmarking hard drives. This time, both the read and write tests will be run.
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.
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: Patriot Pyro, Corsair Force GT, Patriot Wildfire, OCZ Agility 3, OCZ Agility 2 and the OCZ Revodrive.
The results here show the Pyro was closer to the OCZ Agility 3 in performance as opposed to the Force GT or Wildfire. Both the Agility 3 and Pryo share a similar architecture though, so the performance is right where we would expected it to be.
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.
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.
The Patriot Pyro performed well in Sandra, but we continue to see the models with more expensive NAND perform better in the synthetic tests.
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. Once again, the performance charts below are as followed: Patriot Pyro, Corsair Force GT, Patriot Wildfire, OCZ Agility 3, OCZ Agility 2 and the OCZ Revodrive.
In ATTO the Pyro again proves itslef to be a extremely fast drive.
Patriot's first entry using the second generation SandForce SSD processor was the Wildfire, which was designed for optimal performance via expensive 32nm toggle NAND. The Pyro however, takes a more cost effective approach by using a less expensive 25nm NAND asynchronous design. The lower cost of the on-board memory reduces the MSRP of the drive considerably, which makes it a more value oriented drive. Even while the overall cost of the SSD is reduced, the Pryo is still able to support sequential and random data transfer rates of up to 550MB/s reads, 515MB/s writes and blistering fast 4K random write performance of up to 85,000 IOPS.
In other words, the Pyro is less expensive than some other SSDs on the market yet it still performs considerably well. In fact, the average consumer that is using their SSD for standard computing tasks such as web surfing, gaming and image/video editing would hardly notice any performance difference between the Pryo and more expensive drives. The only time a noticeable difference can be discerned is when dealing with large amounts of data that is not easily compressed. For anyone that is constantly dealing with a lot of compressed reads and writes, it would be a good idea to spend the extra cash and get a drive such as the Wildfire, which would better handle these types of operations.
The success of the Patriot Pyro is ultimately going to come down to the price, and at just over $200 we think it is priced to sell. Less than a year ago, SATA 3Gb/s drives were selling for well over $200, so the fact the we can now get drives that are pushing transfer rates at the upper end of the SATA 6Gb/s interface is impressive to say the least.
The only complaint we have with the Pryo is that it doesn't come with a 2.5" to 3.5" drive bay convertor, but since most modern cases are able to accommodate 2.5" devices through tools of their own, this shouldn't be an issue most most users. The lack of a convertor actually helps keep the price lower than other reasonably priced SSDs such as the Agility 3, which come sans convertor anyways. The 120GB model we looked at in this review will have an MSRP of $209 at launch, while the 60GB and 240GB models will be priced at $119 and $449, respectively.
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