Patriot 64GB Torqx SSD Review

ccokeman - 2009-07-15 18:34:17 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: August 23, 2009
Price: $219

Introduction:

The hard disk drive is an integral part of the computer. Over the years, the hard drive has increased in size but were slow to increase in performance. Spindle speeds were upped to 5400, 7200, 10,000 and even 15,000 RPM in the effort to make sure the drive could access the data stored as fast as possible. Some of the latest drives deliver great performance, but there is always room for improvement. As more and more people moved from desktops to portables, another glitch kept popping up; hard drive failures due to movement and dropped laptops. With no moving parts to fail, solid state drives (SSDs) looked to be the way to go with incredible access times and high read rates that far outshined the performance of the mechanical drives. Coupled with the ever increasing need to get the most battery life from portable systems, the SSD looked to be the heir apparent.

Patriot has been making solid state drives for a while and now have three distinct series; Warp, TORQX and KOI. The Patriot TORQX with a part number of PFZ64GS25SSDR is the 64GB variant and the one I will be looking at today. Features include sequential reads up to 220MB/s, sequential writes of up to 135MB/s, shock resistance to 1500 G's and vibration resistance to 20 G's with low power consumption. Let's see what the latest solid state drive from Patriot has to offer.

Closer Look:

The Patriot Memory 64GB Torqx drive was delivered in the full retail packaging. The blue and white design is appealing and not over the top. The front panel displays the Patriot Memory and Torqx logos prominently. A short specification list is below the window that displays the drive. In the bottom right-hand corner, the fact that patriot supplies a 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch drive bay adapter is an added bonus, as most companies dont currently include this adapter. Certainly a nice touch. Items of note on the rear include the mention of the 2 year warranty, the product part number PFZ64GS25SSDR, and the features listed in multiple languages.

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Opening the packaging you will find two blister packs inside. One contains the Torqx drive, while the other contains the manual, mounting screws and the 2.5 to 3.5 inch adapter bracket so the Torqx drive can be used in a standard 3.5 inch drive cage. A much needed addition, as mounting an SSD in a desktop PC required an additional purchase if you were not fortunate enough to own a chassis with 2.5 inch mounting brackets.

 

 

Let's dig a little deeper into the TORQX to see just what it is made of.

 

Closer Look:

From the outside, the Patriot TORQX does not look that imposing. The top of the drive contains information about the connectivity and size of the drive; this one being 64GB in size. The bottom side is covered in clear plastic and contains threaded holes to mount the drive onto the 2.5 to 3.5 inch drive adapter. The sides feature threaded mounting holes as well for added flexibility in mounting. Of course, you also have the tamper proof sticker that let's Patriot know you have ventured inside the drive, voiding your warranty. Just recently, Patriot has taken the step of increasing the warranty from 2 year to an industry leading 10 years. This gives you some serious peace of mind when it comes time to make an investment in SSD technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The connections available on the TORQX are limited to the SATA power and data connections, plus the 2-pin jumper connection used to update the firmware. When I received this drive, there was already a firmware update and TRIM utility available on Patriot's website for this drive.

 

The drive easily comes apart for inspection and the casing is constructed of two pieces, the main case and bottom cover. Inside you will find the PCB that holds the NAND flash memory modules. On top of the PCB is the Idilinix "Barefoot" Controller and 64MB cache buffer that helps remove the stuttering so commonly mentioned on earlier drives. Since this is a 64GB drive, the front side of the PCB does not contain any of the NAND memory chips. Instead, the back side holds all the memory. These modules are made by Samsung and are part number K9HCG08UiM.

 

 

 

Mounting the TORQX drive is much like installing a regular hard drive, just that it is bit smaller in stature. To mount the drive in a 3.5 inch drive bay or tooless drive cage, you simply use the adapter bracket provided and then slide it home and secure it with the included screws.

 

 

Features:

 

 

 

All information Courtesy of Patriot Memory @ http://www.patriotmemory.com/products/detailp.jsp?prodline=8&catid=21&prodgroupid=114&id=804&type=17

Testing:

To test the drives, I started with an image of Windows Vista Ultimate 644bit SP1 with all of the latest updates and patches and the testing software. Each drive was filled with data, then imaged to simulate a used drive. Testing is accomplished by using the TORQX as the main drive containing the OS. This is done so that the testing is not just plugging in a raw drive and showing stellar numbers. That's not real life. You don't purchase a new drive to let it go unused. Write testing was completed before the drive was imaged. As many of you probably already know, solid state drives slow down as the pages in the flash memory are filled and must be rewritten to each time data is stored. This is the basis for loading the drives up first and then loading an image to the drive with Acronis True Image. Comparisons will include both SSDs and standard hard drives.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Modules:

 

Benchmarks:

  1. HDTune 3.50 Pro
  2. HD Tach
  3. SISoft Sandra 2009
  4. Crystal Disk Mark
  5. ATTO Disk Benchmark
  6. AS SSD
  7. PCMark Vantage

 

The benchmarks will give a broad picture as to how each of the drives performs so you can make your conclusions based on the performance of each drive. Most benchmarks are not yet optimized for solid state drives, but included in the benchmark suite is a new benchmark designed for testing SSDs, AS SSD.

Testing:

HD Tune 3.50 Pro measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers. In the 3.50 Pro version, the user can measure not only drive performace as a whole, but there is a more precise file benchmark and random access benchmark as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benchmark:

 

 

 

File Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

Random Access Benchmark:

 

 

 

The TORQX from Patriot delivers the highest marks in the majority of the HD Tune benchmarks.

Testing:

HD Tach v3.0.4.0: HD Tach is another hard drive benchmark utility, much like HD Tune. This benchmark will measure the average read speed, the random access time, and the amout of the CPU used during operation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SiSoft Sandra 2009 SP3: SiSoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful.

 

Physical Disks

 

 

In HD Tach you can see that the average read and access times are miles ahead of what is delivered by a standard disk drive. The highlights on this page are the access times.

Testing:

Crystal Disk Mark 2.2: Crystal Disk Mark is a hard drive benchmark designed to measure the read and write speeds for the drives in in 4k blocks, 512k blocks, and sequential data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 4k read testing, the TORQX out performs the Intel drive, while in the write test, the TORQX is out performed by a wide margin. When the write size increases, the Patriot drive does much better by comparison.

Testing:

Atto Disk Benchmark v2.34: Atto Disk Benchmark is another aged but good hard drive benchmark utility designed to test read and write speeds for different file sizes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the block size gets over 128K, the TORQX takes the lead on the read tests. When it comes to the write testing, the standard disk drives perform better.

Testing:

AS SSD v1.1.3466.29641: AS SSD is a benchmark designed for the speeds of solid state drives, however it also will work for traditional hard drives as well. It is designed to measure the read and write speeds and access time for set block sizes. It also assigns a score to the read, write and overall performance of the drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The scores here show the drives swapping the performance lead based on the specifics of the benchmark. The TORQX delivers a higher performance on the read tests but falls behind on the write testing. Even so, it scores better than the standard disk drives. The access time tests show just what the real strengths are. The TORQX could access the same piece of data 94 times before the 1TB drive actually reads the data.

Testing:

PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the hard drive test suite. The measurement for the hard drive suite will be the total score, then the scoring for each test will be broken down. There are a total of eight hard drive tests within PCMark Vantage and all eight will be run to gauge the performance of each drive tested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the SSDs deliver performance far in excess of what a standard disk drive is capable of delivering. The TORQX delivered the highest HDD benchmark score, followed closely by the Intel drive.

Conclusion:

After using this drive as my main OS drive for about two weeks now, I can say that I am sold on the merits of the latest generation of solid state drives. Having gotten used to using an Intel SSD, I was afraid that the stuttering problems of the earlier JMicron-controlled drives would manifest themselves. But once I pulled the drive open and found that the TORQX uses the INDILinx controller, those fears were quickly erased. The 64GB TORQX delivers great read and write performance with access times that make traditional drives look like they are running in slow motion. At 64GB, this drive is a little small for a full-on install. My normal everyday computer has over 200GB worth of installed programs and I would not be able to run this drive in that system the way it is configured. Have no fear though Patriot offers SSD's in sizes up to 256GB in size for those that want only a Solid State Drive. This drive is better used as a drive with the OS and a slim set of programs and then use a traditional drive for storage just based on cost concerns. The one downside to going the SSD route is the cost per gigabyte of space. The 64GB Patriot TORQX retails for around $220. While that may seem high, it is a fair sight better than drives released just six months ago and still much less expensive than the Intel drives. The price point for most drives in this class is in the $190 plus range. Performance degradation as the flash memory is filled up has been well documented. Patriot has a solution that seems to work well. The Performance Restore utility actually cleans memory pages so that the drive can perform optimally. Firmware updates also help the drives maintain peak performance by improving the wear leveling algorithms, helping contribute to a longer life cycle. When this drive was released, the warranty on the TORQX line was a two year warranty. Patriot has stepped up to the plate with this drive and now offer a 10 year warranty that covers all TORQX series drives and even covers drives purchased before the warranty period was extended. That's how you take care of people. Excellent performance, outstanding warranty, included mounting hardware, firmware updates ready to go, and a utility to keep the drive performing at a high level, make the TORQX drive from Patriot one to keep on your list when you plan to make the switch to solid state drives.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: