Patriot Pyro Review

tacohunter52 - 2011-07-27 22:48:01 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: tacohunter52   
Reviewed on: August 3, 2011
Price: $209

Introduction:

If you were to go outside and ask any random person, let's say between the ages of 4 and 18, if they like fire, chances are they'd respond by saying, "Yes, I'm a pyro." These people obviously can't all have the same mental illness of pyromania, but the joy of playing with fire is something many human beings share. An example of this, at least to some degree, is Patriot Memory. I say this partly because of Patriot's Wildfire SATA III and Inferno SATA II SSDs, and partly because of the release of its newest SSD, the Patriot Pyro. Like many of the SSD releases we've seen recently, the Patriot Pyro is a SATA III 6Gb/s drive that uses the SandForce SF-2281 controller. For this reason, the drive should share the same 500MB+ read and write speeds. Despite the drive's SATA III interface, it is still backwards compatible with the more common SATA II interface. The drive also features DuraClass, DuraWrite, and TRIM technologies. Today we'll be taking a look at Patriot's 120GB version of the Pyro, which can be had for $209. 60GB and 240GB models are also available. With so many SSDs currently available all sharing the same SF-2281 controller, what makes the Patriot Pyro the drive to buy? Well that's easy — Patriot Memory hopes to have positioned the Pyro at a price point that will give the user the best price/performance ratio. As for whether or not this is true, well, let's put this drive to the test and find out!

Closer Look:

The Patriot Pyro's packaging uses a black and orange color scheme, similar to the packaging found on the Torqx. The packaging has a window located directly in the center that gives us our first glimpse of the Pyro SSD. To the left of the drive, the packaging highlights its MLC Architecture, SATA III interface, and 2.5" form factor. The very top of the packaging features the Pyro SATA III logo, while the Patriot logo is located on the bottom right corner. Flipping the drive over reveals some highlighted features in a few different languages. These include the drive's silent operation, low power consumption, and shock/vibration resistance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening the box reveals the Patriot Pyro in a secondary clamshell packaging. Unlike many newer SSDs, the Patriot Pyro doesn't come with any extras other than the user's manual. Opening the manual up reveals a quick installation guide, as well as some more of the drive's features. While it's not the most important accessory, I would have liked to see an included 3.5" adapter.

 

 

 

Now that we've removed the Patriot Pyro from its packaging, let's take a closer look at the drive and its insides!

Closer Look:

The Patriot Pyro contains a graphite-colored metal chassis that is held together by four screws. A large orange and black decal, following the same design as the packaging, is located at the center of the drive. This decal contains both the Patriot Memory and the Pyro logos. Beneath the logos are the drive's capacity, form factor size, and SATA interface. Flipping the drive over reveals another decal, this one containing more detailed information about the drive. A warning appears on this decal stating that no serviceable parts are included in the Patriot Pyro, which makes perfect sense because we are looking at an SSD. Also located on this decal is the drive's model number, "PW120GS25SSDR". Located on either side of the drive are two threaded holes. These can be used to mount the drive to a 2.5" drive bay or a 3.5" adapter. As far as the Patriot Pyro's connectivity goes, it uses the SATA III 6.0 Gb/s interface and draws power from a standard SATA power connector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening up the Patriot Pyro shows us that the PCB, like in other drives, was securely held in place by four different screws. 16 MLC asynchronous NAND Flash modules are located around the Pyro's PCB. As with other drives we've looked at, each of these modules hold 8GB of storage space. This gives the drive a total of 128GB of memory. That being said, you'll only be able to utilize 120GB of that space, with the remaining 8GB used for wear-leveling and firmware. These NAND modules are paired with a SandForce SF-2281 controller to make the Pyro an amazing flash drive. So what other capabilities does this fire-burning flash drive have? For starters, the Pyro has TRIM support, provided that your OS supports it. The Pyro also utilizes DuraClass and DuraWrite technologies, which should help improve the SSD's endurance. The Patriot Pyro is also equipped with intelligent block management and wear-leveling, intelligent read disturb management, and intelligent recycling, also known as "Garbage Collection". Garbage collection gives the Patriot Pyro "advanced" free space management.

 

 

 

Many of the high performance drives we've recently looked at share the SandForce SF-2281 controller. The Patriot Pyro is no different. The controller is located right behind the SATA connectors and should help make the Patriot Pyro perform extremely well. Along with the great performance, we should see low power consumption, thermal threshold management, and intelligent data retention optimization. Located behind the SandForce SF-2281 controller are some of the Patriot Pyro's NAND modules. The Pyro utilizes 25nm Micron asynchronous NAND modules. These modules don't offer the performance of the synchronous modules we saw in the Corsair Force GT, but they are cheaper to use and help make the drive more affordable.

 

 

Now that we've had a detailed look at the Patriot Pyro, let's find out if it really does have the best price/performance ratio!

Specifications:

Product name
Pyro
Patriot Part #
PP60GS25SSDR (60GB)
PP120GS25SSDR (120GB)
PP240GS25SSDR (240GB)
Description
Pyro 2.5" SATA SSD Drive
Certifications / Safety
CE / FCC / RoHS
Product Warranty
3 Year Warranty
Unit Dimensions
.37" (D) x 2.6" (W) x 3.9" (H)
.93cm (D) x 6.9cm (W) x 10.1cm (H)
Unit UPC
0815530011927 (60GB)
0815530011934 (120GB)
0815530011941 (240GB)
Packaging Type
Boxed
Packaging Dimensions
1.13" (D) x 6.14" (W) X 7.22" (H)
2.86cm (D) x 15.6cm (W) x 18.33cm (H)
Net Weight
.26 lbs / 118.3gm
Gross Weight
.43 lbs / 194.9gm
Units per Inner Carton
10

Features:

Information courtesy of Patriot Memory @ http://patriotmemory.com/products/specs/Pyro.pdf

Testing:

Testing of hard drives can be done in several different ways. One method involves leaving the drive bare and connecting it as a secondary drive in an existing system. By simultaneously cleaning the drive after each benchmark run-through, this allows you to see its theoretical peaks in performance. However, the results would only represent a best case scenario – one that you may never see unless operating a bare drive. The second method, which OverclockersClub employs, involves loading the operating system and benchmarking suite onto the test drive itself. This would give performance results that emulate real-world usage more closely. Testing will be completed with the P67-based system listed below, alongside a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit that is updated to SP1 and fully patched as of the date of testing. The latest Intel Rapid Storage technology drivers and software have also been installed. All tests are conducted with the drive connected to a native SATA III 6Gb/s port on the motherboard, in an effort to eliminate any possible bottlenecks with performance.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Drives:

Benchmarks:

  1. HD Tune 4.60 Pro
  2. HD Tach
  3. SiSoft Sandra 2011
  4. Crystal Disk Mark
  5. ATTO Disk Benchmark
  6. AS SSD
  7. I/O Meter
  8. PCMark Vantage
  9. Windows Startup / Shutdown

Testing:

HD Tune 4.60 Pro measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers. In the 4.60 Pro version, the user can measure not only drive performance as a whole, but run more precise file and random access benchmarks as well.

Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

File Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

Random Access Benchmark:

 

 

 

For the most part, the Patriot Pyro appeared to perform the worst out of all the drives using the SandForce SF-2281 controller. We saw a slight change in this trend when it came to the random access read benchmarks. That being said, all drives using the SandForce SF-2281 controller performed extremely fast, including the Pyro!

Testing:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Once again the Patriot Pyro fell behind the other drives using the SandForce SF-2281 controller. However, the performance drop wasn't that bad due to the Pyro's aggressive pricing.

Testing:

Crystal Disk Mark 3.0: Crystal Disk Mark is a hard drive benchmark designed to measure the read and write speeds of drives by using 4k blocks, 512k blocks, and sequential data. For the test, we chose the 1000MB option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Patriot Pyro's performance in Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 made it look more like a SATA II drive as apposed to a SATA III drive. I must admit I was slightly disappointed with the Pyro's performance in this benchmark.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our Atto Disk Benchmark, the Patriot Pyro performed toward the lower end of the SandForce SF-2281 controllers. That being said, the SandForce SF-2281 drives performed so close together, any performance difference is negligible.

Testing:

AS SSD v1.1.3466.29641: AS SSD is a benchmark specifically designed to test the speed of solid state drives. However, it also works for traditional hard drives. It is designed to measure the read and write speeds, as well as access times for set block sizes. It also assigns a score to the read, write, and overall performance of the drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Patriot Pyro once again performed at the lower end of the SF-2281 drives. In one case, the Pyro performed the worst out of all the SSDs we tested and it performed just above the Mushkin lo multiple times.

Testing:

IOMeter is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. It was originally developed by the Intel Corporation and announced at the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) on February 17, 1998. Since then, it has seen widespread use within the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Patriot Pyro came in below the Patriot Wildfire in every single one of our benchmarks. I would have liked to see the drive perform just a little bit better, but its performance drop wasn't all that bad considering the drive's price.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Patriot Pyro appeared to perform a lot better in the PCMark benchmark. All the SandForce SF-2281 drives performed about the same, but in some cases the Patriot Pyro was able to come out on top!

Testing:

In the world of computing, everyone likes a computer that can start up and shut down quickly. The ability to boot into your system as fast as possible allows you to start the tasks you set out to do that much quicker. Not to mention that the older you get, the greater the chance you'll forget what you wanted to use the computer for in the first place! The sweet spot is about 30 seconds or less. It is possible with conventional hard drives, though very difficult to attain this "golden" 30-second time. This should be easier with the speed of an SSD, but the only way to tell is to test it out. To run the startup test, I used a stopwatch to calculate the number of seconds it took from pressing the power button on the case, to having a fully-functioning desktop. For the shutdown test, I began timing from the click of the shutdown button in the start menu, and stopped when the system power was off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Patriot Pyro's startup time was just three seconds away from the fastest startup time. Its shutdown time was on par with the other SSDs sharing its controller.

Conclusion:

Ever since their release, SSDs have proven to provide an extremely great performance increase. However, this performance increase comes at a cost, as we've seen SSDs range from $100 to up to $1000. As newer drives are released, the price of the older drives is driven down. While this helps make SSDs available at every price point, it doesn't always fill the users' hunger for the best available hardware. With the release of SATA III 6Gb/s drives, SATA II drives have seen a slight price drop, while SATA III drives have taken the spot of the expensive drives. With that being said, Patriot Memory doesn't want you to settle for a SATA II drive while SATA III technology is so widely available. Its solution to the problem is the Patriot Pyro! An extremely fast, yet affordable SATA III 6Gb/s drive, which according to Patriot, takes the place of the best price/performance drive. The Patriot Pyro is not just a low price, it is chock full of extra features. For example, you'll be able to utilize TRIM support, provided that your OS supports it, as well as DuraClass and DuraWrite technologies. The drive is also equipped with "Intelligent Block Management and Wear-leveling", "Intelligent Read Disturb Management", and "Intelligent Recycling for advance free space management". As with all SSDs, you'll also receive the benefit of low power consumption and cool and quiet operation. If that's not enough for you, the Patriot Pyro should have an extremely long life, as well as great data retention, due to its "Best-in-class" ECC. That combined with the drive's high sequential read and write speeds make it an extremely great SSD, if the price is right of course. If the 120GB model featured in this review isn't exactly what you're looking for, the Patriot Pyro also comes in 60GB and 240GB models.

I was in some ways disappointed with the performance the Patriot Pyro offered. In some of our benchmarks, the drive appeared to perform more like a SATA II drive as opposed to a SATA III drive. It's almost as if the Pyro is equipped with capped firmware, which would make sense considering its price range. The drive did however perform great in a few benchmarks, such as the PCMark Vantage benchmark. With all that being said, the Patriot Pyro offered extremely great performance even in the benchmarks it didn't do so hot in. After all, it is an SSD.

It isn't hard to see that purchasing a Patriot Pyro as opposed to something like the OCZ Vertex 3 will cause you to take a performance hit. To some this may be unacceptable, but to me it really all comes down to the Pyro's pricing. At $209, the Patriot Pyro is the cheapest 120GB SATA III SSD we have tested. In my opinion, this makes it a great drive because while it did fall behind in quite a few benchmarks, it was able to hold its own against the more expensive drives. In some ways I would even agree that the Patriot Pyro has the best price/performance ratio of the SATA III drives we tested. I say this because I don't feel like the other drives performed $50 better. With that being said, some users might feel that the faster drives are worth the money and go with them. If you're looking to pick up the 60GB or 240GB Patriot Pyro, the drives are priced at $120 and $449, respectively. However, I do actually feel like the 120GB Pyro used in this review is great bang for your buck!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: