Solid state drives (SSDs) have been coming down steadily in price since they were introduced to the market a few years ago and are now more affordable than ever. We believe that 128 GB SSDs offer the best compromise between capacity, performance and price, so we will be putting two of the latest models head to head today.
Before going on, we’d highly suggest that you read our Anatomy of SSD Units tutorial which provides all the background information you need to know about SSDs. Both of the SSDs featured in this review use MLC memory chips.
Most users who upgrade their PC with a 64 GB SSD will use it alongside a mechanical hard drive. This provides extra storage for media, programs and games. With a 128 GB unit, though, there is much more room for your programs and games which will give them a boost in performance thanks to the extra bandwidth of the SSD. Most users will still choose to add a mechanical drive for storage, though, as audio files and large video files will soon fill up the remaining space on a 128 GB unit.
In the table below, we are comparing both of the units that we’re going to review. Both units use a SATA-300 interface and occupy the standard 2.5” form factor. Our sample of the Kingston V100 drive was supplied with the optional “Desktop Bundle” which is designed to simplify the process of transferring data from your old hard drive to the SSD. It contains SATA and power cables for the SSD alongside a 3.5” mounting bracket and some Acronis hard drive imaging software.
|Kingston||SSDNow V100||SV100S2D/128GZ||128 GB||USD 226|
|Patriot||Torqx 2||PT2128GS25SSDR||128 GB||USD 225|
We researched the prices at Newegg.com on the day that we published the review and noted the following observations. The listed price for the Kingston drive is for the “Desktop Bundle” version that we have for review. The same drive is also available on its own or as part of a “Notebook Bundle” from Newegg.com. Both of these options cost USD 220.
In the table below we provide a more in-depth technical comparison between the two drives. Most chip manufacturers don’t detail the specifics of their chips on their websites, so we are only linking to those we found.
|Kingston SSDNow V100||Toshiba JMF618||64 MB (Mira P3R12E4JIFF)||Toshiba TH58NVG6D2FTA20 (16 x 8 GB)|
|Patriot Torqx 2||Phison PS3105-S5||128 MB (Hynix H5MS1G22AFR )||Toshiba TH58NVG7D2FLA89 (8 x 16 GB)|
[nextpage title=”A Closer Look”]
Both drives on test have the same 128 GB capacity but the components used to build each drive differ greatly. We will outline these differences below.
Kingston has chosen to use a metal casing for the V100 which should provide more than adequate protection for the components inside. It adds to the weight of the drive significantly, though, making it about the same weight as a 2.5” mechanical hard drive.
On the top side of the board we find the controller, which is unusually angled at 45 degrees to the memory chips. This is manufactured by Toshiba but is actually based on the JMicron JMF612 controller design with a few updates. It supports read and write speeds of up to 250 MB/s and 230 MB/s, respectively, and sports the model number JMF618.
The sixteen 8 GB Toshiba memory chips are distributed evenly between the two sides of the PCB. These are 32 nm MLC chips with the model number TH58NVG6D2FTA20. On the underside of the board we also find the Mira P3R12E4JIFF 64 MB cache chip.
Patriot has chosen to use a brushed aluminum enclosure for the Torqx 2, which gives it a robust feeling without adding much to the weight. In fact, the Patriot unit is about half the weight of the Kingston unit so is a better choice for notebook users.
Patriot uses the Phison PS3105-S5 controller for the Torqx 2, which has claimed read and write speeds of 270 MB/s and 230 MB/s, respectively. On the top side of the PCB, we also find the 128 MB DRAM cache chip. This is Hynix branded and has the model number H5MS1G22AFR.
Rather than use sixteen 8 GB memory chips like Kingston, Patriot has chosen to use eight 16 GB chips which are all located on the top side of the PCB. These are also Toshiba branded chips and have the model number TH58NVG7D2FLA89.
[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]During our testing procedures, we used the configuration listed below. The only variable component between each benchmarking session was the SSD being tested.Hardware Configuration
- CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3
- Memory: Two 2 GB Kingston HyperX Genesis (DDR3-2133, CL9, 1.6V, 9-9-9-27)
- Video Card: Zotac Geforce GTX 470 AMP!
- Video Resolution: 1
920 x 1080
- Video Monitor: Viewsonic VX2260WM
- Power Supply: Corsair HX850W
- CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14
- Boot Drive: Kingston SSDNow V+100 128 GB
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit using NTFS file system
- Intel INF Driver Version: 188.8.131.526
- Nvidia Video Driver Version: 270.61
Error MarginWe adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences less than 3% can’t be considered meaningful. Therefore, when the performance difference between two products is less than 3%, we consider them to have similar performance.
[nextpage title=”AS SSD”]
As you will have gathered from the previous page, we measured the performance of each drive using four different programs: AS SSD, CrystalDiskMark, HD Tune, and PCMark 7. We will be looking at the test results from each program in the order they appear in the list above, dedicating a separate page to each test.
It’s important to note that we connected the SSDs to a SATA-600 port on our motherboard rather than a SATA-300 port which could cause performance limitations. We used default configuration in AS SSD for our tests.
In both the sequential read and write tests using AS SSD, both drives exhibited similar performance. Even though the Kingston drive showed a slight lead in both tests, this was less than the 3% error margin that we adopt.
The performance of the drives differed in the Random Read 4 KB test where the Patriot unit performed around 22% better than the Kingston in the read test and 7% better in the write test.
Access time is the time taken for the storage device to start delivering data after the computer has requested it; so the shorter the access time, the better.
In the read test, the Kingston drive performed about 17% better than the Patriot, but in the write test, the Patriot came out on top with a performance lead of 24 percent.
We used CrystalDiskMark’s default configuration for our tests, which benchmarked each SSD using a file size of 1000 MB with five test runs. Please continue reading to see the results.
In the CrystalDiskMark sequential read and write tests, both drives exhibited similar performance again. The Kingston drive only achieved a 1.7% performance lead in the read test, and the Patriot drive only achieved a 1.9% performance lead in the write test. Both of these figures are within our 3% error margin.
In the random read test, the Kingston drive achieved 22% better performance than the Patriot, and in the random write test it achieved 19% better performance.
During the random read and write tests using 4 KB blocks, the Patriot drive regained the performance lead, beating the Kingston drive by 16% in the read test and a massive 58% in the write test.
[nextpage title=”HD Tune”]
Now we will look at the results recorded using HD Tune. Please read on to see the results.
In the burst transfer rate test, the Kingston drive claimed a massive victory of 252% over the Patriot drive. But in the other tests, the Patriot drive was superior, achieving 12% better performance than the Kingston drive on average.
The Patriot drive was also able to sustain this level of performance much better than the Kingston drive, which experienced much more pronounced peaks and troughs in transfer rate during the test.
[nextpage title=”PC Mark 7″]
We decided to use PCMark 7 to test the performance of these drives because they give us a good indication of real world performance. Please continue reading to see the results.
In PCMark 7, the drives achieved the same performance level.
We can see from our tests that the Kingston SSDNow V100 and Patriot Torqx 2 128 GB solid state drives perform similarly on the whole, even though there were a few instances where one drive did have a clear performance superiority.
In the sequential read and write tests in AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark, both drives exhibited very similar performance even though the Kingston drive scored slightly better in three of the four tests. This surprised us a little, as the Patriot drive has a claimed maximum read speed of 270 MB/s and the Kingston drive has a claimed maximum read speed of 250 MB/s. The two drives do have the same maximum write speed of 230 MB/s, though, so the similarities in the write tests aren’t exactly surprising.
With the burst transfer rate test in HD Tune, the Kingston drive performed significantly better than the Patriot. But, the Patriot unit managed to outperform the Kingston by 12% in the sustained transfer rate test. These qualities make each drive slightly better suited to different tasks. But overall, there is very little to choose between these two drives in terms of real world performance as shown by our PCMark 7 tests in which the drives exhibited almost identical performance.
The Kingston SSD
Now V100 and Patriot Torqx 2 128 GB solid state drives are also priced very similarly at USD 226 and USD 225, respectively. We would say the Kingston drive is a slightly better buy, though, as it comes with the Desktop bundle which includes a 3.5” mounting bracket and software to simplify the upgrade process for users who are less technically-minded.