Patriot Pyro SE 120GB & 240GB Review

ccokeman - 2011-11-03 20:34:20 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: December 11, 2011
Price: 120GB $164 - 240GB $409

Introduction:

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.

Closer Look:

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.

Specifications:

Product
Pyro SE
Patriot Part #
PPSE60GS25SSDR (60GB)
PPSE120GS25SSDR (120GB)
PPSE240GS25SSDR (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
0815530012290 (60GB)           
0815530012306 (120GB)
0815530012313 (240GB)
Packaging Type
Boxed
Packaging Dimensions
.70” (D) x 4.4” (W) X 5.19” (H)
1.8cm (D) x 11.2cm (W) x 13.2cm (H)
Net Weight
.17 lbs / 78.6 gm
Gross Weight
.26 lbs / 116.2 gm
Units per Inner Carton
10
Units per Master Carton
80

 

 

Features:

All information courtesy of Patriot @ http://patriotmemory.com/products/detailp.jsp?prodline=8&catid=85&prodgroupid=219&id=1137&type=17

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 2012
  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:

 

 

 

In the HD Tune testing the Sandforce 2281 controller equipped drives all perform quite similarly through each of the tests. The Patriot 120 and 240GB drives do perform toward the higher end of the spectrum in this comparison.

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 2011: 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.

 

 

In the HD Tach testing the Pyro SE drives deliver performance just under that of the OCZ Vertex 3 in the average read test. The burst speeds, CPU usage, and access time are a wash. Putting that in perspective means that the 120 and 240GB drive can perform at the top end of the spectrum of the drives I have tested so far. In both tests the 120GB Pyro SE outperforms the rest of the 120GB comparison drives.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Read testing the 240GB Pyro SE delivers solid performance until the Que depth is increased in the last read test where it drops off by comparison to the Vertex 3. In the write testing the Pyro SE 240GB drive delivers top line performance in all of the tests. The 120GB version of the Pyro SE falls short of the performance of the Wildfire in the write testing and is still ahead of the Force GT and the original Pyro.

Testing:

Atto Disk Benchmark v2.47: Atto Disk Benchmark is another aged, but good hard drive benchmark utility designed to test read and write speeds for different file sizes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As one might expect the Sandforce controlled drives deliver similar performance. When you look at the 1M performance of the Pyro SE drives they both meet or exceed the maximum read speed of 550MB/s and 520MB/s write in this test.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patriots 240GB Pyro SE delivers better performance overall in this test and especially in the 4K 64 thread test. By comparison the Pyro SE 120GB drive delivers numbers similar to that of the Corsair Force GT.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this test the Pyro SE drives deliver excellent performance in the write testing, while in the middle of the road in the read testing. CPU usage does fall at the higher end of the comparison field at just under 2%.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall the Patriot Pyro SE 120 and 240GB drives deliver the highest performance across the entire suite. In every test but one, either the 120GB or 240GB Pyro SE drive is at the top of the chart.

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 120GB and 240GB Pyro SE drives deliver shutdown times that are the same as just about every solid state drive in this comparison. The start up times on the other hand are still segmented somewhat slower than other drives to reach the stop point in the testing. Even so 28 seconds to enter the OS is still much faster than a mechanical drive.

Conclusion:

Overall, with all things considered, the Pyro SE series from Patriot delivered excellent performance across the entire test suite. More times than not the Pyro SE drives were driving the bus (No not the short bus), rather than just hanging on to it for the ride. The switch to synchronous MLC flash memory has driven the performance up to the point where it is giving the Patriot Wildfire that uses Toshiba 32nm Toggle mode flash a run for its money. Performance wise the Pyro SE (Special Edition) drives are meant to bridge the gap between the performance of the original Pyro and the upper end Wildfire. Fortunately the SE drives deliver Wildfire + performance in many of the tests. The specifications for these drives include 550MB/s Read, 520MB/s write and 4K aligned random write performance of 85,000 IOPs. Both the 120GB and 240GB Pyro SE drives reached or exceeded the specifications during testing. This really is the expectation for drives in this class. When used in a desktop environment a chassis that has 2.5 inch form factor support is not a necessity as 2.5 to 3.5 inch drive bay adapters can be purchased inexpensively. However, having the adapter included with a drive is a better option that Patriot has chosen to forgo. I understand the part drives up the costs, but in the grand scheme of things given similar performance for a similar price, that point of distinction is not there. As capacity goes up, pricing inevitably goes up. The 120GB Pyro SE is currently selling for competitive $169 after rebates, with the 240GB version at $369. Not the lowest pricing for the segment, but competitive.

Early on in the product cycle Sandforce 2281 equipped drive were having some problems that caused performance issues and BSOD's. At this point this has been ironed out with firmware updates that address the performance issues. Patriot has been on the forefront with its support and firmware updating tools since I have been looking at their drives over the past few years. The tools are easy to use and allow the end user to flash without fear. If something should go wrong Patriots 3 year warranty is there as a back up. Technology is moving so fast now that in that three year period the drive will most likely be obsolete and it will be time to move on anyhow with Patriot's latest drives. Capacities for the Pyro SE are available from 60GB to 240GB. Using a lower capacity drive means the space will fill up fast. Just the programs used for the testing eat up a chunk of the available 111GB available on the 120GB Pyro SE after formatting. The end user will have to manage the space used and flip larger programs or games to an ancillary drive. The 240GB Pyro SE is more tolerant with double the space.

Both the 120GB and 240GB drives use Sandforce 2281 controllers that offer a host of features, such as Duraclass technology, which includes Durawrite for managing the write cycles to increase the lifespan of the MLC NAND, RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology for an increase in reliability, and full speed AES encryption driven through the Sandforce 2281 controller. Trim is supported and garbage collection duties are also enhanced to manage the free space on these drives. When you get down to it Patriot's Pyro "Special Edition" drives live up to the name with hot performance from a part that really sees little of the glamor life. As the technology continues to improve coupled with increased market trust and adoption rates there is no reason to not have these drive on your short list! Patriot has one heck of an offering with the Pyro SE!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: