Patriot Torqx 128GB SSD Review

ccokeman - 2009-10-05 20:03:57 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: December 3, 2009
Price: $384.99

Introduction:

In the past, Solid State Drives have had a couple of reputations. They were fast as could be, as well as offering a snappier "feel" when you were using them, but then would suffer through stuttering and lag as the drive became full. Luckily many of these issues have been worked out so the drives do not end up with a tarnished reputation. I was impressed with the 64GB Torqx when I looked at it back in August, so I have high expectations about the performance this drive from Patriot, the PFZ128GS25SSDR 128GB Torqx SSD. This drive offers higher sequential read and write speeds to up the performance ante over the capabilities of the 64GB version, 128GB capacity and comes with an industry leading ten year warranty an increase over the two year warranty originally offered on the Torqx series drives. If this drive is as good as the smaller version the performance should be excellent. Let's find out!

Closer Look:

The front panel of the packaging quite contains a bit of information. Through the front window you get a glimpse of the 128GB Torqx SSD. A short listing of the specifications is under the window that shows that this is a Solid State disk, not a mechanical drive, and that it is SATA 1 and 2 ready. At the bottom right corner is a picture of the included 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch adapter, so you do not have to worry about finding one for your chassis. This adds value to the package.The back panel lists the features of the Patriot Torqx in several languages. At the bottom, there are two very important things listed - on the right you have the model number of the drive so you can make sure you get the proper firmware updates and to the left is the industry leading ten year warranty that Patriot announced earlier this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you open the package, you have two plastic clamshells - one that hold the Torqx SSD and another that holds the drive adapter. With the drive, you get the documentation in the form of a manual that includes the dimensions and specifications for this drive, the Torqx 128GB drive, and a jumper used for updating the firmware. In the drive adapter clamshell package, you get the adapter and a set of screws to mount the Patriot Torqx series drive.

 

 

 

If the 128GB version of the Torqx is as good or better than the 64GB version, this drive should perform great.


 

Closer Look:

The Torqx is a 2.5 inch form factor drive. While small, it definitely packs a punch. The top side of the drive has a holographic decal that shows the capacity, as well as some of the specifications. The back side of the drive is covered in clear plastic for protection . To mount the Patriot Torqx 128GB drive, you have a couple of options. On the bottom you have four threaded holes for attaching the drive to the supplied adapter, or you can use the mounting holes on the side. Specifications on the Torqx include sequential read speeds of up to 280MB/s, Raid 0,1 and 0+1 support, operating temperatures of 0C - 70C, and excellent shock resistance. Patriot has sealed the drive to verify the integrity of the components inside. With a ten year warranty, there really is no need to delve into the innards when I can do that here. Ten years is an industry leading warranty that will give you confidence that your purchase will be around for the long haul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Connections on the Torqx drive are limited to the SATA data connection and power connection. The small 2-pin plug is for attaching the supplied jumper, when you are ready to flash the firmware on this drive. Right above the connections, you have the model number serial number and revision, something you will need when you flash the drive, so it is best to write this down on your manual and store it someplace where you can find it.

 

Pulling the drive apart will void your ten year warranty, so if you are curious as to what comes inside the drive here you go. There are four screws that hold the back plate on. Once removed, the insides are accessible. Inside you will find the PCB that holds the NAND flash memory modules. Patriot is using the INDILINX "Barefoot" Controller with a 64MB cache buffer that helps remove the stuttering that plagued earlier drives. The 64GB drive did not have any memory on the top side of the PCB when I opened that drive, but the top and bottom of the PCB are populated with Samsung modules that carry the part number K9HCG08U1M.

 

 

 

Mounting the drive in a chassis is made much easier with the inclusion of the adapter plate.  Use the supplied screws to mount the Torqx drive to the Patriot labeled adapter and slide it into a 3.5 inch drive bay or tool-less drive carriage and you are ready to go.

 

 

How will this drive fare in comparison to other drives? It's time to find out.


 

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 64-bit 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 performance as a whole, but more precise file benchmarks, and a random access benchmark as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benchmark:

 

 

 

File Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

Random Access Benchmark:

 

 

 

The Torqx 128GB drive delivers excellent results across all of the HD Tune tests, in most cases beating both the 64GB Torqx and the Intel drive.

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 amount 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

 

 

The 128GB Torqx drive has the highest average read speed in the HD Tach 8MB testing, while falling short of the Intel drive and out performing the 64GB Torqx in the burst speed test. The Sandra testing shows the 128GB version of the Torqx performing above all the drives, save the Intel. When you look at the access times, the Torqx SSD is just quick - the data is accessed many times faster than the mechanical drives.

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 4k blocks, 512k blocks, and sequential data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 4k write testing, the Intel drive performs three times better than the 128GB Torqx. Above that, the Patriot drive is clearly superior in the write testing. Read speeds at 4k are superior to the comparison drives with the advantage shrinking against the Intel SSD in the 512K test.  The 128GB Patriot drive performs slightly slower in the sequential test.


 

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 the 4k read test, the Torqx 128GB drive suffers slightly, but pushes to the top in the balance of the read testing. The write testing starts with the 128GB and 64GB Patriot drives performing almost identically but that's where the similarity ends, with the 128GB version delivering write speeds on par with the 1TB Seagate drive.

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 read tests show that the 128GB version of the Torqx is even faster than the 64GB version in each test. Overall, the 128GB Torqx scores the highest in this benchmark - just besting the Intel drive. The Intel drive scores better on the write testing by a wide margin.

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 Torqx drives gave a higher scores but during the individual tests the drive compares between the 64GB drive and the Intel drive.

Conclusion:

The last drive I looked at from Patriot was the 64GB Torqx, which performed well - often beating the vaunted Intel SSD. This drive is no different in that respect. It's better. In the 58 tests I ran, the Patriot 128GB Torqx came out even or better than the top drive in the test. In 41 out of 58 it was ahead of the Intel drive by a wide margin. Where is was weakest by comparison were some of the write tests. All in all, it delivered great results. Using this drive as an OS drive proved every bit as pleasing as when I used the 64GB version, without stuttering and hangups. Early SSDs got a bad wrap for the performance degradation that manifested itself as you used the drive and got close to full capacity. Patriot has available a Wiper utility that will clear all of the blocks of memory that have been written to, so performance can be kept at peak levels - helping eliminate this obstacle to disk performance. Along that vein, Patriot has firmware updates for the Torqx series drives that are incredibly easy to update. Download the flash utility and directions, follow the easy to understand directions and you will be updated to the latest version. By upgrading the firmware and using the wiper tool, I saw a significant bump in write performance across the benchmark suite with a slight dip in read performance that is already great.

One thing that still can be a deal breaker is the cost of entry into the world of high performance SSD ownership for a drive of this size. Currently (11/30/09) you can pick the 128GB Torqx SSD up for a cool $384. It's not the most expensive drive out there, but it's not the most economical either. Price per gigabyte and capacity are definitely not its strong suite. Performance is. The drive has enough capacity to fit more than just a slim installation onto it and still leave some space for your files. If you need storage capacity, it's best to use the Patriot Torqx as your primary with a much cheaper large capacity mechanical drive for storage for a fraction of the cost. That way you can have the best of both worlds. Patriot adds value to this package though by including a 2.5 to 3.5 inch adapter bracket. Why is this an added value? This way there is no need to hunt down an adapter bracket just to put the drive into your chassis and pay the extra $5 - 15 it may go for at a local shop (if you can find one). Most current chassis do not have a dedicated 2.5 inch bracket for 2.5 inch form factor drives, it's becoming more common but not yet mainstream. When I looked at the 64GB Torqx drive, Patriot had just announced the ten year warranty on its Torqx Solid State drives.  This drive carries that same ten year warranty ensuring the drive should outlast the current system you have. If you are looking for a new solid state drive for your system, you can't go wrong with the Patriot Torqx, excellent performance, added value and a killer warranty!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: