Have you ever been to a kid's baseball game where the game was delayed? This usually happens during summer vacation; two of the kids are on vacation and another one is late. Little Jimmy's mom called and said Jimmy would be there 15 minutes late. All of the kids are on the field tossing the ball around, except Jimmy, and the crowd of parents are anxiously wondering what the hell the holdup is because they want to get home to cook dinner and finish some work. Then all of a sudden Little Jimmy comes running on the field and the ref yells "PLAY BALL!"
Little Jimmy is now here and Team SandForce can start the game. This game is played on websites, e-tail and retail outlets all over the country. For me, SSDball is more exciting than any sport I watch on TV because I've got front row seats on the first base line. All of the action happens right in front of me and this season is going to be exciting.
So far we've seen products with the SandForce SF-2281 controller from OCZ Technology and Other World Computing. All of those products were really good and priced very well, but their reign is about to come to an end. SandForce partners like Patriot, G.Skill, Kingston and many others are now getting ready to hit the market and with the flood of new products comes competition. This competition will push the performance, price, availability and accessory envelope to new levels. 2011 is going to be the year where everyone can and should have an SSD in their computer and notebook.
Patriot Memory might not get the press that OCZ and a few others get, but they deliver solid products early in the season and manage to fight for the best online price throughout the year. Last year's Inferno product based on the SF-1200 was impressive with its blood red case and attractive price point. Patriot is one of the companies that push the price of consumer SSDs down to make their products more accessible to mainstream users. This in turn forces other companies to lower their price and the revolving price war cycles again.
Having the lowest priced drive on Newegg is going to be a little more complicated this year. There will be several drives based on the SF-2281; if we only had different controllers fighting it out, everything would be easy like last year. This year SSD manufacturers are taking their products to the next level of complexity and getting creative with the flash used. So far we've seen three flash types used with the SF-2281; 25nm async, 25nm sync and Toshiba Toggle flash. Even though we've only seen three so far, it doesn't mean that's all we'll see.
The Patriot Wildfire we're looking at today uses Toshiba Toggle flash. The OCZ Technology Vertex 3 Max IOPS, OCZ's flagship SSD also uses Toshiba Toggle flash, but these two drives are a little different. The Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120GB drive has four chips at twice the density of the eight Toshiba Toggle flash chips used on the Patriot Wildfire.
Before I lose you in technical jargon, let's take a look at the Patriot Wildfire's specifications and get this sorted out.