Author: Carl Poirier
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/patriot_inferno_120/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
A little while ago, Corsair shattered the benchmark scores here at Neoseeker with its Force 120GB solid-state drive, easily beating the Patriot Torqx 128GB that had previously held the crown. It was very clear that SandForce-based SSDs were much more superior than the competition, both in terms of performance and write amplification symptoms.
Patriot returns to Neoseeker with another solid-state drive. At first glance, the Inferno seems to be very much like the Force; it is also SandForce driven, is offered in the same capacities and has the same promised speeds. One thing that clearly differentiates both offerings though is their appearance; the Inferno, as can be seen through the package, is bright red and has an equally colorful sticker.
Specifications are courtesy of Patriot
As you can see, the Patriot Inferno looks very nice in bright red, and in this sense it certainly lives up to its namesake. Patriot certainly wouldn't want you to forget that they've jumped onto the SandForce bandwagon, as emphasized on a sticker.
How can it be so glossy when it has the same casing as the other drives, which looks to be made out of anodized brushed aluminum? The secret lies in the extra coating that has been applied to it -- varnish.
There is nothing special at its back though. The standard stuff is there, including the small "Warranty void if removed" stickers.
Putting the screwdriver through these two stickers reveals that the drive uses the same memory chips as the previous tested SandForce driven drive, which are manufactured by Intel. They are the 29F64GD8CAMD8 chips.
Finally, a 2.5" to 3.5" drive bay adapter is included so that it can be made to fit in any case, as well as some pamphlet including the drive specifications.
So will the Patriot Inferno burn everything on its path? Testing will provide the answers!
The Patriot Inferno 120GB is going to be run though the same benchmarks as the other solid-state drives previously reviewed. The platform is configured in AHCI and SATA II mode for all drives. Here is today's guinea-pig, along with the best two contenders:
Patriot Inferno 120GB, Patriot Torqx 128GB, Corsair Force 120GB
Patriot Zephyr 128GB, OCZ Agility 2 60GB
This test consists of copying Neoseeker's standard 100MB, 500MB and 1GB folders also used in the 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.
In the first test, the Inferno scored the same as all other drives. Only the Agility 2 could stand out of the bunch.
Windows 7 Boot & Shutdown
The title of this test says it all. The countdown starts as soon as "Enter" is pressed in the boot manager, until the desktop has appeared and the LAN is connected.
At boot, the Inferno is in the middle of the crowd, outdone by the Agility 2 once again. It does score very well at shutdown, though.
Call of Juarez
This time, the score used is not the benchmark score, but rather the time it takes to load.
Here the SandForce driven Patriot drive establishes a clear lead.
Far Cry 2
It's the same principle here for Far Cry 2's built-in benchmark.
Once again, it scores the best time in game loading, though not so much over most of the other drives.
HD Tune is an application for benchmarking hard drives. This time, both the read and write tests are run.
The Inferno does not come out on top in HD Tune. It does however have a great average and maximum read speed, and the best average write speed.
What is measured here is the write performance loss due to the write amplification. SandForce's DuraClass technology achieves a write amplification factor below one, so the write speeds should not suffer compared to some other drives which need a utility to be run on them to get the same performance. Since the HDTune write test writes everywhere on the drive, running it twice in a row will force the drive to write on used sectors. The numbers reported in the following graph are the performance loss from the first run to the second, in percentage.
As expected, both SandForce driven drives exhibit no performance degradation. Not having to worry about restoring the drive to its top performance from time to time is very great.
Futuremark PCMark Vantage
PCMark is a benchmarking suite from FutureMark, which also makes the renown 3DMark suite. It includes many tests to calculate overall system performance including the hard drive. The test for the latter performs tasks such as scanning for viruses, streaming, recording and more. It is a fairly good indicative of general real-world performance.
Now this is impressive. The Inferno solid-state drive gets dangerously closer to the 30k mark, which is well above what the previous leader had achieved.
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 measures sequential and random read and write performance as well as access time. The first screenshot is for the Patriot Inferno, the second one is the Corsair Force, the third one is the OCZ Agility 2, and the last one is the Torqx.
This time, it falls a bit behind the Corsair Force. The write speeds are slower by a few MB/s, however the access time seems to be a tad quicker. The difference is minimal, though, and overall it ends up in second position.
Sandra, by SiSoftware, is a tool capable of benchmarking about every component found inside a computer. In this case, the physical disk benchmark is run, which measures read and write performance of a given drive.
This time, the Inferno trumps all other drives in both the read and write speeds, although not by much.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
The ATTO disk Benchmark, developed by a company of the same name, measures the storage system's performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Once again, the first graph shows results from the Patriot Inferno, the second is the Corsair Force, the third is OCZ's Agility 2, and the last is the Patriot Torqx..
Once again, the scores are very much like the previously tested SandForce driven solid-state drives. Both are beaten however by the Agility 2.
Looking at the results, the Inferno scores even better than the previous SandForce-based solid-state drive tested, in general. It only really faltered in the Windows 7 boot test, where it was behind by one mere second slower, and the AS SSD benchmark which reported a tad lower overall score. There were pretty impressive numbers otherwise, especially in PCMark Vantage and Call of Juarez. So overall, it just further widens the performance lead of SandForce over the competition in the SATA II department.
Another great thing about the Inferno is that Patriot has taken the time to revitalize its apperance. With its varnished vivid red surface, it does not look like all the other standard black boxes on the market.
The package also contains what is needed to mount it in a desktop chassis, using a 3.5" drive bay. Many models also do, for example the Corsair Force and OCZ Agility 2, however some others do not, like the Zephyr, also from Patriot.
Currently priced at $290 (not counting the $25 MIR valid until the end of September), it does compare well to the offerings from the other manufacturers, for example, the Corsair Force 120GB that was used as a comparison retails at $286. So for an extra $4, one gets performance one small notch faster, as well as a much better look. There are however much cheaper alternatives based on the SandForce controller and featuring the same capacity, such as the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe, retailing at $260. For now, after the MIR, the Inferno is an awesome deal.
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