Patriot Memory 64GB Torqx SSDJul 10th, 2009 | By Simon
Patriot Memory 64GB Torqx SSD
: 07/10/09 – 05:11:15 PM
Page 1 : Introduction
: Patriot Memory
Solid state drives are the latest in hard drive technology based on NAND flash memory. A few years back we mainly consider them for digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players and the like. They started gaining popularity with their use inside many netbooks and now they are becoming standard hardware with enthusiasts.
The Patriot Memory Torqx is their latest SSD offering, it provides fast, quiet and reliable performance for your data storage needs. The 64GB model we have today offers slightly slower performance than its bigger 128GB and 256GB brothers but at the same time it comes at a much more affordable price point.
Page 2 : Patriot Memory Torqx Package & Content
Partiot Memory has differentiated itself from many of the other solid state drive providers that I've been working with, and in a good way. Partiot Memory has included a 3.5′ bracket for mounting in desktop computers, something I haven't seen from the folks at OCZ or G.Skill. The Torqx packaging clearly shows the capacity of the drive through the cut out window. A great idea as it means they don't need to print different boxes for different sized drives. The back of the package lists some of the features included with the Torqx and Patriot Memory points out the 2 year warranty provided with their drive. Overall, the package is as small and compact as it can get with the 3.5′ bracket and without sacrificing any protection for the drive.
Opening up the box there are two partitions, one for the hard drive and one for the mounting bracket. The Torqx drive is firmly secured in place with the clamshell package and the mounting bracket slides about in its own clamshell. A separate installation pamphlet is included with the package, it gives the complete dimensions and specifications of the Torqx.
Included with the hard drive is a jumper connector for firmware flashing. There is also a total of eight screws, four to mount the Torqx to the bracket and another 4 to mount the bracket to your case.
The bottom of the Torqx is plain brushed aluminum. The model and serial number along with assembly location is etched onto the plate. To further protect the finished bottom from scratches a protective film was adhered during assembly. A very nice touch and one that is fairly hard to see if you just glanced over the drive.
Page 3 : Features & Specifications
Here are the key features:
- Available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities
- Interface: SATA I/II
- Raid Support: 0, 1, 0+1
- 256GB and 128GB: Sequential Read: up to 260MB/s Sequential Write: up to 180MB/s
- 64GB: Sequential Read: up to 220MB/s Sequential Write: up to 135MB/s
- Shock Resistant: 1500G/0.5ms
- Vibration Resistant: 20G/10~2000Hz with 3 Axis
- Operating Consumption & Power: DC 5V <550mA 2.75W
- Operating Temperature: 0ºC~70ºC
- Storage Temperature: -40ºC~ 85ºC
- MTBF: >2,500,000 Hours
- Data Retention: 5 years at 25ºC
- Data Reliability: Built in BCH 8, 12 and 16-bit ECC
- O/S Support: Windows XP and Vista, Linux, and Mac OS X
- Dimensions: 99.88 x 69.63x 9.3 mm
- Weight: 91g
- Certification: FCC/CE/RoHS
- 2 Year Warranty
There's a good 40MB/s drop in sequential performance with the 64GB drive compared to the 128GB and 256GB. There's no mention of random read/write performance which is what hampered JMicron-based drives many original early SSD adopters were plagued with.
What solved the slow performance of original JMicron drives was addition of 64MB cache. With the Torqx, that is provided by an ELPIDA S51321CBH-6DTT-F 64MB SDRAM chip. The onboard cache will dramatically improve read and write commands. The controller as we already probably know is the Indilinx Arm chip.
Providing the storage itself is an array of Samsung NAND flash memory modules. Eight modules have been installed and the board is capable of a total of 16.
Page 4 : Installation, Power Consumption & Test Configuration
With the included 3.5′ mounting bracket, you have the option of installing the Torqx in your laptop/netbook or securely installing it in your chassis for desktop use. Both options will use the same SATA interface on the drive.
If you intend on using the 3.5′ bracket, the mounting screws are provided. The Torqx is secured to the bracket from the bottom and the bracket slides into your chassis' typical 3.5′ drive bay.
I compared the power consumption of the Torqx to a few other SSDs and a conventional 500GB Seagate hard drive. With no surprise, the SSDs are a few watts below the conventional hard drive. It also appears that the Indilinx controller requires a few more watts than the original JMicron controller but the Torqx shows no difference between the OCZ and G.Skill Indilinx based drives.
I will be testing the patriot memory torqxon my test bed as the primary drive with the OS installed on it. Here's my system specification:
- CPU: Intel C2D Q6600 (G0 SLACR L731B434) @ 2.71 GHz
- MB: Asus P5E3-Dlx Wifi-AP Edition
- GPU: Sapphire HD 4850 X2 Catalyst
- RAM: Aeneon 2×2GB XTune DDR3-1600 (AXH860UD20-16H) @ 1800 MHz 10-10-10-30 1T
- PSU: Cooler Master Real Power Pro 850W
- CPU Cooling: Thermalright HR-01 w/ 120mm Antec Tri-Cool Fan
- PWM/NB/SB Cooling: Stock/Stock/Stock
- OS: Windows Vista x64
- Patriot Memory 64GB Torqx SSD (PFZ64GS25SSDR)
- OCZ 30GB Vertex SSD (OCZSSD2-1VTX30G)
- G.Skill 64GB Falcon (FM-25S2S-64GBF1)
- G.Skill FM-25S2S-64GB
- Seagate Barracuda SATA 500GB 7200.11 (ST3500320AS)
To test out the drive we'll be using DiskBench, Crystal DiskMark, SiSoft Sandra, HD Tune 3.10, ATTO, HDTach, IOMeter and Boot Timer. All benchmarks were executed 5 times and the average result was recorded. The system was reset between each benchmark.
To add a little flavour to the review, I'm going to benchmark the Patriot Memory Torqx twice – once when the drive has only Windows Vista and the benchmarking software installed, denoted ‘New’ in the benchmarks, and once when the drive is completely full with files then deleted to make room for the benchmark test files. These results will be denoted ‘Full’. I'm doing this to see what the performance impact is once the drive is full of files.
Page 5 : ATTO, Crystal Disk Mark & Disk Benchmark Performance
ATTO Disk Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark is probably one of the gold standards when it comes to basic drive performance. The software itself is fairly old but it works, measuring transfer rates at different transfer sizes for a file being 256MB in size.
The Torqx goes toe to toe with the other Indilinx SSDs and for the most part comes out on top with every transfer size. The ‘full’ Torqx is able to maintain speeds above the already aged G.Skill JMicron SSD and mechanical Seagate SSD. However, we do see a drop in speed compared to an empty or new drive.
Crystal Disk Mark
Crystal Disk Mark is another disk benchmark software commonly used; unlike ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Mark is our first look at sequential transfer rates as well as 4KB and 512KB Random transfer rates.
A similar story is painted with Crystal Disk Mark. The random 4KB and 512KB performance results for both read and write are a small step behind the OCZ and G.Skill Indilinx. Do note that I modified the testing parameters for Crystal Disk Mark for the Torqx and changed the file size from 100MB to 500MB. With this I was able to a better average number and actually pulled a sequential read rate.
Nodesoft Disk Benchmark
There's nothing fancy to DiskBench, I commonly use it to see how long it takes to copy a file from one source to another. Seeing as this is a hard drive review, I'm going to use the ‘Create File’ feature and determine the speed at which the hard drive is able to create a 200MB file consisting of 100 2MB blocks.
Nothing new here.
Page 6 : Sisoft Sandra, HD Tune, HD Tach Performance
Sisoft Sandra – File System
Another common benchmarking program, we have SiSoft Sandra File System Benchmark. The File System Benchmark gives us a quick glance at the overall performance and whether we have a new or full drive, the performance is both consistent and miles ahead of the JMicron SSD or conventional platter hard drives.
For the first time we actually see the Torqx take a hit when in performance. The Random Write is a full 70MB/s slower than its G.Skill counterpart. The sequential write is also only a third of its Indilinx counterparts.
SiSoft Sandra – Physical Disk
The Physical Disk Benchmark benchmarks the hard disks and not the file system, meaning the graph below compares the performance of the physical disk to the storage adapter, unlike the SiSoft Sandra File System benchmarks which shows performance between the file system itself and the adapter.
We can see that the Indilinx drives are remarkably similar, the full Torqx comes in at the same index speed as a brand new 30GB OCZ Vertex!
HD Tune is another hard disk utility to determine the performance of your drive. HD Tune runs a few tests to provide a transfer rate (minimum, maximum and average). It also trends the performance through the entire disk and gives you the access time, burst rate and CPU usage.
There is a pretty negligible performance difference between the new and full drive. The average is still in the 200+MB/s range. Once the drive is full, the biggest performance difference I can see is the increase in CPU load. We jumped from 3.5% to 27.4!
HD Tach is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read and writes. The performance numbers are quite similar to HD Tune.
Again the numbers are similar but this time we don't see a significant jump in CPU utilization.
Page 7 : IOMeter & Boot Time
IOMeter is the latest addition to my hard drive benchmarking suite. The software is highly customizable and what I'm doing only scratches the surface of its capability. I added IOMeter because of flaws in the original solid state drives on the market. After completing all the benchmarks on my first JMicron SSD, I popped it into my laptop and made it my day-to-day drive. I found over time that the performance became really sluggish. At first, MSN messages would take longer to appear and videos would stutter. After some digging on the net, it turned out to be a problem with the random write performance. More information on the issue at hand can be found at AnandTech.
With IOMeter, I set the program up to pepper the drive with a 1GB file with 4KB record sizes, 100% random (as opposed to 100% sequential), 50% read and 50% write for 5 minutes. I generated results for average read and write access times and average read and write transfer rates.
Our random read and write times at 4KB blocks are significantly higher than the mechanical drive and JMicron SSD but we don't quite reach the performance level of the OCZ or G.Skill Indilinx controller.
With slightly slower random read and write performance, it is only expected for the boot time to be a touch slower than the competition.
Page 8 : Conclusion
Patriot Memory doesn't have too many solid state drives on the market but when they decide to release one, you can bet they go for performance. You don't see them with wimpy JMicron controllers inside. It's the best bang for your buck or nothing at all. With recently added 10 year warranty, you know the Torqx will be a great pick over the competition.
While some of the numbers point to a slightly slower drive than say the G.Skill Falcon or OCZ Vertex, it's not by a significant margin. Anyone jumping from a mechanical drive or an older JMicron controller drive will definitely notice an improvement. As small of a detail as it may be, one of the nice touches that Patriot Memory has done is include a 3.5′ bracket. Let's face it, many of us are going to buy an SSD and install it on our desktop PCs. I would happily pay a few extra dollars to secure my investment firmly in my case than have it slide around or hang off the SATA cables!
- Consistent performance for both empty and full drive
- 3.5′ bracket included
- New controller with cache provides significant reduction in random access times
- 10 year wararnty
- Numbers point to slightly slower performance than competition
I'd like to thank Patriot Memory for making this review possible.