Author: Chris Barry
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Friday, April 30th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/s/patriot_zephyr_128gb_ssd/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
When upgrading a computer, the last thing that comes to mind is usually the hard drives. In fact most users won't add another HDD unless they are running short on space. However, there are a few users that want their next upgrade to give them faster boot times. What do these people do? Purchase an SSD of course.
Solid State Disks have been out for a while now, and there is still a lot of speculation on there use. Not because they offer poor performance, on the contrary they perform extremely well. The reason many users speculate on the worth of an SSD is due to there cost, and relatively small size. The largest SSD I've seen available on the market is 1TB, however, to claim ownership of this drive you'll need to fork over about $3,500. For a 500GB drive you'll need to spend upwards of $1,000, and for a 128GB drive you'll be looking at around $300.
Most users obviously won't be picking up the larger sized SSD's, which means most of these drives will be used to hold the operating system and a few frequently used programs. To some users, this makes sense. To others, SSDs are completely out of the question until they become more affordable. So what exactly can $350 get you, in terms of SSDs, from Patriot memory?
If you're willing to fork over the cash, you'll be able to pick up the 128GB Patriot Zephyr. This drive features low power consumption, silent operation, shock and vibration resistance, and of course has TRIM support. The drive also comes with a three year warranty, which many users may appreciate. How exactly will this little drive perform? Let's find out!
Like most SSDs, the Patriot Zephyr comes in a sleek 2.5" form factor. The top of the drive is made of brushed black aluminum, which gives a very aesthetically pleasing look. At the center of the drive is a Shiny sticker letting us know the drives capacity, what the drive is called, and that it was manufactured by Patriot.
In terms of accessories the Patriot Zephyr didn't come with much. In fact, the only thing included with the Patriot Zephyr was a very brief user guide. This means there is no 2.5" to 3.5" bay converter which could cause problems for some users. However, I'm sure most users will be able to figure out some way to make their drive fit!
Flipping the drive over reveals that Patriot really doesn't want you taking it apart. The back of the drive is a nice shiny silver, and it is protected by a sheet of plastic. This way the drive will stay shiny until the user receives it. When peeling this protective plastic off you'll notice not one, but two warranty void if removed stickers. Although, I don't know many people that would actually want to take apart an SSD!
In terms of connectivity the Patriot Zephyr uses a SATA 1, or 2.0, interface. Next to the SATA connectors you'll notice four jumper pins. Jumping the first two pins will set the drive in Firmware Upgrade mode. The second to jumper pins allow you to enable/disable the SATA 2.0 support. The drive defaults with SATA 1 support.
Now that that's out of the way, let's put this drive to our tests!
Patriot Zephyr 128GB
Patriot Torqx 128GB
OCZ Agility 60GB
Since the drives were tested on two different platforms, we made sure that our benchmarks were not processor-bound. Hence why they are not exactly the same as in the OCZ Agility review.
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.
The Patriot Zephyr did extremely well in the File Copy benchmark. It managed to outperform the Torqx by 1.3s, however, both drives performed extremely fast.
The title of this test says it all. The countdown starts as soon as we hit "Enter" in the boot manager, until the desktop has appeared and the LAN is connected.
The Patriot Zephyr came in second on our charts in both of these benchmarks. The Torqx managed to boot eight seconds faster then the Zephyr. However, the Patriot Zephyr was outperformed by the Torqx by only one second in the shutdown time. That being said, a 28 second boot is nothing to complain about.
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.
I was a little disappointed to see the Patriot Zephyr's read speeds. It performed 60MB/s slower then the OCZ Agility, and 75MB/s slower then the Patriot Torqx. The drive did however outperform the standard HDD by 40MB/s.
HD Tune is an application for benchmarking hard drives. This time, both the read and write tests will be run.
We once again saw the Patriot Zephyr struggle in our HD Tune benchmark. This is slightly disappointing considering how much the drive costs. It did, for the most part, outperform the standard HDD so it wasn't all bad.
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 first screenshot is for the Patriot Zehpyr, the second for the OCZ Agility and the third for the Patriot Torqx.
This benchmark gave the Patriot Zephyr the smallest total score of the three drives. Our Zephyr was outperformed by both drives in the Read benchmarks, however, it performed slightly better in the write benchmarks. It actually managed to tie the Torqx in the Write score.
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 first screenshot is for the Patriot Zehpyr, the second for the OCZ Agility and the third for the Patriot Torqx.
The Patriot Zephyr was once again reported as the lowest performer. The drive maxed out at 150MB/s, whereas both of the other drives came in above 200MB/s. It's relatively hard to complain about the Zephyr's speed because it did perform very fast. However, I would have liked to see it score slightly closer to the other drives.
I've never been a huge fan of SSDs, simply because of there price and size. However, I cannot say that they don't perform well. In fact, if you do fork over the cash, you'll notice a huge difference in performance. As prices get lower enthusiasts may want to start considering an SSD for their next upgrade.
The Patriot Zephyr did not perform too well compared to the other two SSDs in our charts, but it did perform extremely fast when compared to our HDD. That being said, the drive will cost around $350 (according to Amazon). For the same price you could pick up three 1TB drives. This means you'll have to choose: do you want speed, or a lot of storage space?
The Patriot Zephyr itself utilized a 2.5" Form factor, but did not come with a 3.5" adapter. This could pose a slight challenge to users looking to use this drive in a desktop computer. The drive is TRIM ready, and can utilize a SATA 1 or 2 interface. The drive will also off you low power consumption, silent operation, as well as shock and vibration resistance. If you do decide to purchase this drive, Patriot will throw in a three year warranty which should give any user some extra piece of mind.
As far as recommendations go I'd say anyone looking to fork over a large some of cash for an SSD should consider the Patriot Zephyr. However, in the end going with this drive may be a difficult choice, mainly because faster SSDs can be purchased for less money. Hopefully this Zephyr will start to pop up in stores for less then what Amazon is now charging -- then it might be worth another look. Until then we'll have to wait and see.
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