Patriot Pyro SE 120GB & 240GB Reviewccokeman - December 11, 2011
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Price: 120GB $164 - 240GB $409
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Not long ago, OverclockersClub looked at both Patriot's offerings in the Sandforce 2281 equipped market, the Patriot Wildfire 120GB and Patriot Pyro 120GB. The Wildfire used Toshiba Toggle mode NAND, while the Pyro used 25nm MLC NAND flash as the type of memory. The performance targets for both drives were obvious, with the Pyro falling slightly lower in the spectrum than the Wildfire in both pricing and performance. While the max reads and writes are similar, the real world performance between the two drives was evident in the testing. The Pyro SE or "Special Edition" fills the performance gap between the two drives. Read/Write speeds come in at 550MB/s/520MB/s respectively, with 85,000 IOPs 4k aligned random writes. which seems to be pretty much the standard for a SF-2281 based drive.
Patriot's Pyro SE line up consists of three drives that include a 60GB, 120GB, and a 240GB drive. What differentiates the Pyro SE from the Pyro is the use of synchronous MLC NAND in place of asynchronous MLC NAND. To make sure the level of performance is what consumers expect, the Sandforce feature set includes DuraClass, DuraWrite, Raise technologies along with TRIM support, and an Intelligent Garbage collection algorithm. Pricing for the 120GB Pyro SE is currently $165, with the 240GB version claiming a $370 price point on e-tailers driving the value proposition for these drives from Patriot. Lets see if the performance is as hot as the pricing.
The packaging for the Pyro SE mirrors that of the Pyro drive. The orange and black theme continues with the naming of the drive the only real change. The drives can be seen through a clear window in the front of the packaging. Along the bottom left is a list of details on the drive that includes the use of MLC (Multi Level Cell) NAND flash memory, SATA III connectivity, and a 2.5 inch form factor. The back side of the package lists the features of the drive in several different languages. Along the bottom of the package is the mention of the 3 year warranty period and Rohs compliance. Pulling the 120 and 240GB drives out of the package shows each is stored in a plastic clamshell that protects it during transit. Included is a quick start guide and a sticker to show what brand you are loyal too.
Pulled out of the shipping environment the two drives are almost identical. The only way to tell them apart externally is by the capacity on the decals. The front of the drives have the Pyro SE graphic, while the back of the drive has a sticker with the model number, serial number, capacity, and firmware revision. This happens to be 3.2.0 on the 120GB and 3.3.2 on the 240GB Pyro SE. The Pyro SE drives use SATA III or 6Gb/s connectivity, but are backwards compatible to both 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s. Power is supplied over a standard SATA power connection. Mounting is accomplished by way of the form factor standard mounting points located on the sides and bottom of the aluminum drive housing. A warranty label is applied over the split in the housing to verify the drives integrity during the warranty process. No need to open it up, as I will open each drive to show what is inside the housing.
The top of the drives are held on by four hex head screws. Pull them out and the Pyro SE drives open up to show off the PCB that holds the Sandforce 2281 controller and synchronous MLC NAND modules. From this perspective the drives look identical based on the amount of NAND flash modules on board.
Inside the drive casing is where the real differences can be pointed out, although it does not look like it from this view as each drive has 16 25nm MLC synchronous modules on the PCB. A total of eight on each side, with the Sandforce SF-2281 controller between the NAND and data connection.
The Pyro SE 120GB and 240GB both use the eight channel SF-2281-VB1 SDC controller. Where they differ is in the capacity of the 25nm NAND modules not the quantity. On the 120GB version there are sixteen 29F64G08CBAAB 25nm Micron synchronous NAND modules 8GB in size for a total of 128GB, the 240GB Pyro SE has sixteen modules as well but are Micron 29F128G08CFAAB 25nm synchronous NAND modules 16GB in size. Do the math and you can see that the over provisioning for the 120GB Pyro SE is 8GB and 16GB on the 240GB version. This allows for the back end garbage collection algorithms and wear leveling.
On paper the Pyro SE drives look to have great performance potential, lets see how they do.