If this article looks familiar that is because it is, somewhat. We published our first RAID Report with the Patriot Wildfire back in June, just after the single drive review. A lot has changed with this and other SandForce drives since then. SandForce and their partners have done some amazing things with the firmware. All of the initial bugs have been cleared up and the performance has increased quite a bit in some areas as well. In this RAID Report we were also able to dive into the RAID 5 performance with four drives running on the LSI 9265-8i, the industry and enthusiast standard for RAID controllers at this time.
We've spent quite a bit of time with the Patriot Wildfire 120GB drives in RAID. This has been my platform for developing several new benchmarks based on real-world usage. Some of these benchmarks are game changers, much like the Drives with Data Testing. When these roll out it will change the way you think about some of the SSDs, or more specifically the controllers used today. We want to give a big shout out to Patriot for helping us out when we needed some specific drives for this sort of testing. Our consumer and new enterprise tests will benefit greatly from the knowledge we gained over the last couple of months.
Now for the analysis. The Patriot Wildfire has been a top performer ever since its launch in June 2011. That hasn't change, even with the new crop of super SSDs that are appearing now. Patriot choose wisely when they tapped into the performance of the Toshiba Toggle Mode flash. Drives like the SanDisk Extreme and Plextor M3 Series use new, faster 24nm Toggle Mode flash, but there are draw backs with both of these products. The big competitor is the Extreme, but we're still seeing instances where TRIM is not restoring the drive completely, an issue we've not had with the Wildfire or it's 32nm Toggle Mode flash.
The days are numbered for the Wildfire, though. Patriot has shown the new Wildfire SE with 24nm flash at Computex and we uncovered the information at CES back in January. We've heard from sources that even finding 32nm Toshiba Toggle Mode flash is difficult, a strong hint that the flash is now end of life. Given our experience with the new smaller die flash I think I'll stick with the 32nm Wildfire while I can still get it.
When it comes to pricing the Wildfire is now much cheaper than it was at launch. At $179.99 after a mail in rebate you would be hard pressed to find a faster drive for the money. Doubling up with RAID 0 on your build in native SATA 6G will deliver nearly 2x the performance of a single 240GB drive. Since we buy SSDs for their speed you might as well take as much of it as you can get.
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