In the past few months, the number of SATA-600 solid state drives on the market has increased substantially. So there is now more choice than ever if you’re looking to upgrade your computer with a performance SSD. We believe that 120 GB SSDs offer the best compromise between price and capacity as you can combine them with a traditional mechanical hard drive to provide storage capacity for media files and documents. In this review we will be analysing the new Patriot Wildfire 120 GB SSD. Check it out!
Before proceeding, we highly suggest that you read our Anatomy of SSD Units tutorial which provides all the background information you need to know about SSDs. All SSDs featured in this review use MLC memory chips.
The Patriot Wildfire 120 GB SSD comes with a 3.5”-to-2.5” adapter, so you can install it even if your case doesn’t have a 2.5” bay.
In the table below, we are comparing the Patriot Wildfire SSD with the two comparison drives we will be using, the Corsair Force 3 and the Force GT. All three units use a SATA-600 interface and occupy the standard 2.5” form factor. The Wildfire is supplied with an adapter that lets you use it with 3.5” drive mountings.
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. The two drives include the same bundle, which is comprised of a 3.5” adapter for the drive and the required screws.
|Patriot||Wildfire||PW120GS25SSDR||120 GB||USD 270|
|Corsair||Force 3||CSSD-F120GB3||120 GB||USD 195|
|Corsair||Force GT||CSSD-F120GBGT||120 GB||USD 225|
We researched the prices at Newegg.com on the day that we published this review. 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.
|Patriot Wildfire||Sandforce SF-2281||NA||Toshiba TH58TAG6D2FBA49 (16 x 8 GB)|
|Corsair Force 3||Sandforce SF-2281||NA||Micron 29F64G08CBAAA (16 x 8 GB)|
|Corsair Force GT||Sandforce SF-2281||NA||Micron 29F64G08CBAAB (16 x 8 GB)|
[nextpage title=”A Closer Look”]
Patriot has chosen to use a very high quality metal enclosure for the Wildfire SSD which makes it feel virtually indestructible. It has a dark grey metallic finish which shouldn’t look out of place in any PC system. To access the PCB inside the drive, we must remove the four Torx screws in the four corners of the unit.
The Sandforce SF-2281 controller is located on the top side of the PCB alongside eight of the 16 total Toshiba TH58TAG6D2FBA49 memory chips. This is high performance synchronous memory like that found in the Corsair Force GT.
On the underside of the PCB we find the eight remaining memory chips. Each memory chip has a capacity of 8 GB, meaning the drive has 128 GB of memory in total. This is reduced to 120 GB as the controller uses over-provisioning to improve the longevity of the drive.
[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.
- CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3
- Memory: Two 2 GB Kingston HyperX Genesis (DDR3-2133, CL9, 1.6 V, 9-9-9-27)
- Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 470 AMP!
- Video Resolution: 1920 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
We adopted a 3% error margin in our tests, meaning performance differences of 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 ATTO Disk Benchmark. We will be looking at the test results from each program in the order they appear in the list above. It is 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 the default configuration in AS SSD for our tests.
In the sequential read test, the Patriot Wildfire exhibited a similar level of performance to the Corsair Force GT but performed 148% better than the Force 3. In the sequential write test, the Patriot Wildfire performed 35% better than the Force GT and 62% better than the Force 3.
The Patriot Wildfire beat the Corsair Force 3 by 6% in the read test but was still beaten by the Force GT which achieved 5% better performance. In the write test, all three drives exhibited a similar level of performance.
In the access time read test, the Patriot Wildfire exhibited a similar level of performance to both the Corsair Force 3 and Force GT. In the access time write test, the Corsair Force GT outperformed the Patriot Wildfire by 13% which, in turn, outperformed the Corsair Force 3 by 5 percent.
We used CrystalDiskMark’s default configuration for our tests, which benchmarked each SSD using a file size of 1,000 MB with five test runs. Please continue reading to see the results.
In the sequential read test, the Patriot Wildfire outperformed the Corsair Force GT by 5% and the Force 3 by 136 percent. It also performed better than both Corsair drives in the write test, beating the Force GT by 35% and the Force 3 by 59 percent.
In the random read test using 512 KB blocks, the Patriot Wildfire achieved 9% better performance than the Force GT and 130% better performance than the Force 3. It also came out on top in the write test, beating the Force GT by 38% and the Force 3 by 63 percent.
The Patriot Wildfire beat the Corsair Force 3 by 8% in the read test and 13% in the write test. It also outperformed the Force GT by 15% in the write test but was beaten in the write test where the Force GT achieved 9% better performance.
[nextpage title=”HD Tune”]
Now we will look at the results recorded using HD Tune.
All three drives exhibited a similar level of performance in the burst transfer rate test. In the average transfer rate test, the Patriot Wildfire exhibited a similar level of performance to the Corsair Force GT which was 4% better than that of the Corsair Force 3. In the minimum transfer rate test, the Patriot Wildfire achieved 12% better performance than the Corsair Force GT and 38% better than the Force 3. In the maximum transfer rate test the three drives exhibited a similar level of performance.
[nextpage title=”ATTO Disk Benchmark”]
Now we will look at the results recorded using ATTO Disk Benchmark using a 1,024 KB transfer size.
In the read test, the three drives exhibited a similar level of performance but, in the write test, the Patriot Wildfire came out on top, beating the Corsair Force GT by 5% and the Force 3 by seven percent.
We can see from our tests that the Patriot Wildfire has a clear performance lead over both of the Corsair drives we used for comparison, so it is ideal for those looking for the ultimate performance from their drive. The performance differences between the drives are down to the memory used in each model, as they all feature the same Sandforce SF-2281 controller.
The performance of the Corsair Force GT is much closer to that of the Patriot Wildfire than to the Force 3 as they both use synchronous memory. This deals much better with incompressible data than the asynchronous memory used in the Force 3, which is why the difference in performance in AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark is so large.
We’re glad to see that Patriot is including a 3.5” adapter with the Wildfire as it ensures compatibility with virtually any PC case. This is something we would like to see all SSD manufacturers include with their drives in the future.
Even though the Patriot Wildfire offers a better level of performance than both the Corsair drives, we can’t help feeling that the Force GT will be a better option for most users because it offers nearly the same level of performance for USD 45 less money. For some users, though, this price premium will be worth the small improvement in performance.