To break away from the Team SandForce mold so far, we have seen exclusive firmware with very limited real world improvements, MAC specific hardware (which was also cool blue), exotic memory choices and now one of the best looking SSDs to ever hit the market, the red Patriot Inferno.
At the time I don't think Patriot even knew that there would be so many SandForce partners (referred to around here as Team SandForce) making consumer products based on the now popular SF-1200 consumer SSD controller. In January when we caught our first glimpse of the Inferno, no one really knew just how awesome the product would be or how many different models would hit the market.
Patriot had their plan down from the start; make a smoking hot SSD, name it something ultra cool (or hot in this case) and make the freaking case red no matter what. At one point even some Patriot reps didn't know for sure if the red anodized case would make it to the final product, but everyone who saw the CES sample let it be known to marketing that the red must stay; me among them. There is just something about the color red, I'm a fan and I'm a fan of the Patriot Inferno.
My fanaticism really doesn't come from just the color red; that would be ridiculous and shallow. Instead Patriot has won me over with more traditional means that surround nearly all of their SSD products. At this time Patriot has one of the longest warranty periods for their SSDs, a full five years. To put this into prospective, Corsair just raised their warranty from two years to three and OCZ is still holding onto the more traditional two year warranty.
SSDs have a predetermined lifespan; they will one day stop writing data to a cell or cluster of cells. It is just a fact and nothing can be done about it. As long as you are not still using a first generation Western Digital 36GB Raptor and just now looking to replace it, don't feel like you are about to get short changed with an SSD, as we are talking lifecycles of ten years or greater under normal use. Enthusiasts on the other hand are not of this normal use category. To be honest, most of us heavy multitaskers see our notebook battery meter drop like a Space Shuttle countdown. If that sounds like you and opening eight or more apps at the same time while calling it a casual work day, then you are beating the hell out of your drive. My recommendation is to get a drive with a solid warranty just to be on the safe side. Also, note that I said one day a cell or block will not write data. When they do go bad the data can still be read, so no worries about losing data.
For those reading this that has never run an SSD before, I am sure you think running eight programs at the same time is an exaggeration. It's not. I can say that so casually now, but I have been running and gotten used to SSDs for a couple of years now. Running an SSD opens doors that were possible before, but gave you gray hair. For the last 30 days I have been running a very fast platter drive in my daily use, goes with me everywhere and sits next to my bed when I sleep 'Lenovo T61p'. You will have to wait to get a full break down in the next installment of The State of Solid State, but the short story is this has been a very long miserable month where just one large application open at a time runs slower than fifteen on a SandForce SF-1200 SSD. How can anyone continue to live this way?
Luckily I am swapping drives tonight as soon as this review is finished. Out with misery and in with the Patriot Inferno 100GB SandForce SF-1200 SSD. Let's have a look at the specs of the new drive that will power my life for the next 30 days.