Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD Review
Along with a long list of competitors, Patriot has decided to jump into the high end SATA 6Gbps SSD market by using the SandForce SF2281 controller. In keeping with their nomenclature – and their fondness for all things fire related – they dubbed their latest creation the Wildfire. This is supposed to be their direct successor to the “wildly” popular Inferno series while acting as a more expensive and higher performance alternative to the Pyro series. Today we are going to put Wildfire 120GB version under the microscope to see what makes this drive special and make no mistake here, it really is special.
When the Wildfire was first announced many rumors began swirling and the enthusiast community was abuzz with speculation. As with nearly every rumor most – including the possibility that Patriot was going to disable RAISE- were quickly proven to be incorrect. However, one rumor was spot on: unlike many manufactures, Patriot has decided to take a slightly different approach to things on the internals of this drive. Most SSD manufactures have been opting for 25nm ONFi 2 and 25nm ONFi 1 NAND to distinguish their “mid-tier” from “high performance” SandForce SF2281-based drives. Patriot is on the other hand has equipped the Wildfire with 8 chips meeting the DDR Toggle Mode 1.0 NAND specification.
The last Toggle Mode NAND based drive we looked at (OCZ's Vertex 3 MaxIOPS) and it simply blew us away with bleeding edge performance numbers. To this day it still is the gold standard by which all other SSDs are judged so this bodes well for the Wildfire.
Patriot has also taken an interesting approach in terms of pricing as well. Currently, the Wildfire 120GB can be found for as little as $280. Now that may sound like a bitter pill to swallow but with the MaxIOPS 120GB going for somewhere north of $285 before rebates, this drive’s price is actually quite aggressive.
Opening up the Wildfire we can indeed see that the interior architecture isn’t laid out like your typical SF2281 based 120GB drive. One entire side of the PCB (eight) is completely bereft of any NAND modules. All eight NAND chips reside on one side and the SF2281 controller itself is housed on the other side of the board. This means the 8 NAND chips are the same capacity and similar type as the ones found in the 240GB Wildfire and the aforementioned MAXIOPS as well.
The eight ICs are Toshiba branded Asynchronous Toggle Mode 1.0 MLC NAND. While Toggle Mode 1.0 NAND which has a slightly slower interface speed of 133MB/s compared to 200MB/s for ONFi 2.x NAND. This is still more than enough to saturate the 8 channel SandForce controller's abilities which top out in the mid 500MB/s range on reads (or about half of what this NAND's interface can provide). As such, having “only” eight chips may not hurt the sequential read speed of this device but low-end file performance may be another thing all together.
As with the previous Inferno model, Patriot includes a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter.
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