Patriot Wildfire 120GB Reviewccokeman - July 11, 2011
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Patriot has come to market with a drive that delivers excellent performance characteristics with its combination of Sandforce 2281 controller and 32nm MLC NAND in place of the 25nm delivered on the other 22XX-controlled comparison drives. In much of the testing, the lower-capacity Wildfire delivered performance on par with the 240GB Vertex 3 from OCZ. On paper, the specifications include 555Mb/s read speeds and writes of 520MB/s, along with 4k aligned random write performance of 85,000 IOPs — marks the Wildfire easily delivered. This makes the drive, at times, more than twice as fast as many previous-generation drives controlled by Sandforce 1222 and INDILINX Barefoot controllers — numbers it took previous-generation drives in RAID to achieve.
The Patriot Wildfire is packed full of Sandforce's exclusive technologies, including Duraclass technology that includes Durawrite to effectively manage the write cycles for increased lifespan of the MLC NAND, RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology for an increase in reliability, and full speed AES encryption through the Sandforce 2281 controller. There have been some rumblings about problems with the Sandforce 2200 series controllers. With a competitor pulling drives off the market, the prospects might appear bleak, but Patriot has sent out this drive with the latest firmware revision 3.1.9 that resolves the issues with early releases. Time will tell, but I have not had any issues with the drive other than the fact that it is just plain fast. To take advantage of all this speed, you will need to have a motherboard that has SATA 6Gb/s connectivity with the best options currently available being Intel P67, H67, and Z68 boards. You can use a board with a Marvell controller, but wont realize the full potential of the Widfire or any SF-2281 based drive.
While the speed is nice, the capacity of the drive drops dramatically once you start loading up programs, with a total of 70GB of space available after loading up the OS and test suite. The formatted size of the drive was 111GB, or another loss of 9GB from what is originally 128GB in capacity. Not a big deal with a larger drive, but with smaller drives space comes at a premium. 70GB is still a lot of space for files, but adding a storage drive would offer the increased capacity while keeping the Wildfire available for applications. Priced at $279 for the 120GB version, the latest technology does come with a premium, as it always does.
If you take benchmarks out of the equation, you are left with what you can see and "feel" when it comes to operating a computer. Startup, shutdown, application loading, battery life, and just overall snap, are improvements you can see and feel. In that respect, Patriot has one heck of a drive — it's fast and delivers performance you can feel.
- Incredibly fast
- Sandforce 2281 controller
- Delivers performance targets
- 3 year warranty
- Sata 6Gb/s interface
- Included adapter bracket
- Lower capacity