Early MLC based consumer solid state drives had an issue with writing several small files and reading data at the same time. The Intel MLC SSD is suppose to be the great savior (review coming next week). Some people have reported these pauses to last up to 10 seconds and I have witnessed the situation on other drives. A couple of nights ago I decided to take the Warp for a real world spin in a machine that will eventually serve as my media center, but for the next two weeks it will run as a workstation chopping up very small text files used in PHP web design.
After a couple of days of moving files around, working with the thousands of small files I have encountered the pause issue twice. During both occurrences the system became unresponsive to commands for less than five seconds. This is a great improvement over the first generation drives, but it is still an issue none the less. On the other hand, I can hardly complain about ten seconds when the drive has saved me hours in file transfer time. The amount of time shaved off from opening Dreamweaver a few times makes up for the ten seconds lost.
Clearly MLC drives have a bright future ahead of them. At this time the SLC vs. MLC debate is kind of like the early plasma vs. LCD argument. One is a little better in a category and the other is better in another. Just like LCD and plasma, we are talking about price and the amount of performance you get with your dollar. The Patriot Warp isn't going to outperform a 4000 Dollar enterprise SLC drive from Memoright. Then again, for 4000 Dollars a nice RAID array of Patriot Warp drives is going to crush anything on the market and have enough storage space to ditch platter based drives all together.
To date the Patriot Warp V2 is the fastest drive I have tested in real world applications. The benchmarks we have shown today prove that the drive is very fast, but benchmarks don't measure real world snappyness. In the media center the drive takes everything you can throw at it and asks for more. For many years I ran elaborate SCSI RAID arrays with fifteen thousand RPM drives just to achieve a fraction of the access times the Warp is capable of. On paper the difference between four millisecond access times compared to .24 looks impressive; in the real world it is night and day.
The Warp is also the largest SSD I have tested, 128GB. This size is really the smallest I could ever use for a boot drive in my notebook or desktop, anything less would make you feel constricted and doubting your purchase. On the new media center, with Vista installed, the programs I need to work with PHP files and a few folders full of website data, I have a little more than 70GB of space left. I would say that is enough for most users to install a few games on and handle day to day computing. Enthusiasts will require more but "give me more" is the enthusiast anthem and that is why our motherboards come with a decent amount of SATA ports.
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