Patriot Wildfire 120GB £272
16th Aug 2011 | 12:58
Lightning-quick and affordable SSD – now with a stable controller
Patriot Wildfire 120GB: Overview
It's been a long time coming, but Patriot has finally released its own SandForce-based SSD, the performance-oriented Patriot Wildfire 120GB.
Like primary school kids vying for peer respect by racing up and down the school field, solid state drives (SSDs) are speed freaks. They're constantly trying to outdo one another at read/write performance, and occasionally falling over and grazing their figurative knees.
We say figurative, because when an actual primary school kid falls over and grazes their knee, parents don't announce a huge recall of nine year olds the way SSD manufacturers had to when it turned out the SandForce 2281 controller had gone awry.
With all that nasty business (hopefully) behind us, and new SSDs sporting a revised version of that particular controller, we can enjoy the speedy stuff without tears.
Patriot Wildfire 120GB: Benchmarks
Against the cream of the OCZ crop, the OCZ Vertex 3, Patriot's Wildfire is an impressive little performer.
The OCZ drive still has the edge in the real-world file decompression test, but the Wildfire takes the lead when it comes to the more synthetic benchmarks.
Patriot Wildfire 120GB: Verdict
Patriot's Wildfire 120GB model is undoubtedly quicker than almost all previous generation SSDs.
It's priced very reasonably at around £2 per gigabyte, and is capacious enough to install not just your operating system and key apps, but a good few games and media files too.
Sure, you lose 9GB in formatting the drive, but them's the apples with SSDs. It's an attractive proposition from Patriot then, with its first foray into 6Gbps SATA 3 SSDs.
One of the best features the rejuvenated SF 2281 controller has to offer is DuraWrite.
In short, this is s a form of data compression that minimises excessive traffic to the flash cells and excessive writes. To quote the information SandForce gave us, 25GB of writes are involved in installing Windows 7 and Office 2007 to a standard HDD or SSD. With DuraWrite, that's chopped down to just 11GB.
That's certainly good news for maintaining the high performance of your SSD. And this Wildfire is undoubtedly a high performance SSD.
In fact, it outperforms both drives when dealing with uncompressible (or already compressed) data. Write times are particularly impressive in this type of task.
Pitted against Corsair's 120GB Force 3 and the impressive new A-Data S511 drive – all of which use the SF 2281 controller – the Patriot Wildfire shines. Corsair's asynchronous NAND hobbles its performance, whereas the Patriot Wildfire rivals the bigger A-Data's speeds.
While it can't quite keep up with the two quickest drives on the market in compressible, uncompressible and 4K random reads, the plucky Patriot Wildfire consistently impresses with write performances across all these areas.
When you examine just how minimal the performance gap is in reads too, the overall speed of this Patriot Wildfire is amazing.
We didn't experience any crashes or tell-tale Bios disappearances with this or the A-Data SSD, so it looks like the early dramas with the SandForce controller are over.
What we're left with is a new generation of SSDs with read/write times that almost push the SATA 6Gbps interface to bottleneck their performance. It's lucky there are plans afoot to extend the bandwidth of the SATA interface further.
It's the long-term perspective that's so important with SSDs, though, and in the coming months there's guaranteed to be an influx of unruly newcomers jostling with each other to be first to the end of the school field.
The Patriot Wildfire is a speedy, solid little SSD, and we've been impressed by the package it's put together. The drive keeps pace with the big boys of the SSD market and in some places actually manages to outshine them.
There really isn't a lot to dislike about the Patriot Wildfire; prices are on par with other performance 120GB drives, but it does still run to £2/GB.
This Patriot Wildfire 120GB is as good as we've seen from the new class, and we can heartily recommend it for now.