Most SSDs are already incredibly fast, when set against hard-disk technology. And then there are the really fast models, based on speedy third-gen SATA and using optimised flash storage chips and controllers to make the most of the nominal 6Gbit/sec interface.
Patriot Memory is a US-based specialist in memory and solid-state storage, and its Wildfire range of SSD storage promises superb performance. The deciding factor for final performance is often the controller chip, and here Patriot has chosen a SandForce controller for the Patriot Wildfire, helping it along with some impressive-looking figures.
The specs of the Patriot Wildfire list up to 555MB/s sequential read and 520MB/s writes – both wildly fast transfer rates.
The Patriot Wildfire's listed IOPS are no less dazzling, a quoted 85k for 4kB random writing.
In our lab tests, we saw even slightly faster reads, if slower writes, using the simple ATTO Bench 32 test. Here sequential writes reached 559MB/s, while reads hit a maximum of 508MB/s.
HD Tune Pro showed us good performance for the Patriot Wildfire too, a nearly flat line plotted for reads at 526MB/s, and a write plot punctuated with only short spikes, averaging 441MB/s.
Measured the ‘right’ way, CrystalDiskMark showed us read/write speeds broadly similarly but closer to each other: 503MB/s for sequential reads, and 475MB/s for writes. While some way short of the manufacturer’s figures, these are still more than useful speeds for any modern storage.
But the caveat lies in the preferred way to measure, while using here the benchmark app’s compressible data set (0x00 and 0xFF: ie, 0s and 1s). SandForce controllers use what the SSD controller specialist calls DuraWrite technology, to compress incoming data on-the-fly to help accelerate performance.
Given more real-world random data, or CrystalDiskMark's random dataset at least, the best sequential read speed of the Patriot Wildfire 240GB was 498MB/s. And the best write speed was now just 256MB/s – less than half the advertised speed.
In IOPS performance, the Patriot Wildfire also fell below expectations. Using the specialised SSD benchmark tool AS SSD (which recorded a nominal overall score of 697 points – a very high score) we saw IOPS ‘only’ reach 48.9k, in 4k-64 thread tests.
That's a good score. By way of reference, Crucial’s older C300 measured 45k in the same test rig, while its newer Crucial m4 SSD essentially delivered what Patriot promised for random small-file writes: 84.2k IOPS.