In 2010 we didn't have a lot of variation in the actual drives shipping from manufacturers. The only company that didn't use IMFT flash on a SandForce SF-1200 was G.Skill and that was only on the original Phoenix. Everyone else ran 3xnm IMFT flash and performance pretty much varied on the firmware / programming shipped on the drive. This left consumers basing their product purchasing decision down to price and the accessory package offered with the drive. This year we're going to see a lot more variation and even more tiered products from the same manufacturers. You're really going to have to do your homework before jumping in and buying a SF-2281 drive.
Today we looked at the Patriot Wildfire 120GB with the SandForce SF-2281 controller paired with 16 Toshiba 32nm Toggle flash. At this point in time I can't tell you if running 16 flash chips is better than 8 with this new Toshiba flash. What I can tell you is that the Patriot Wildfire is really, really fast, enhances the user experience when coming from a mechanical drive or even a two year old SSD.
In order to get the most out of the Wildfire, you need a high quality SATA III port like those found on Z68 motherboards. Most native SATA III motherboards from Intel do very well, but those with X58 and a Marvell SATA III port are not able to take full advantage of the speed offered by Wildfire. You can of course use this combination until your motherboard upgrade; if it were me with an X58 motherboard I'd wait until X79 in December or January. At that point you can take your Patriot Wildfire with you into the new build.
There is no doubt that the Wildfire is fast, but it also comes with all of the accessories you need as well. The 2.5" to 3.5" desktop adapter bracket makes installing the drive in your desktop so much easier and you also get a three year warranty.
When shopping around, you're going to see all kinds of prices for these new SandForce SF-2281 controlled drives. Over the weekend Newegg listed the Agility 3 for just less than 200 USD with a mail in rebate. Don't buy a slower SSD based on price without knowing its limitations, you will not be satisfied in the end. The Patriot Wildfire 120GB that we looked at today has a MSRP of 299.99. Right out of the gate Patriot released a flagship drive with the highest specification rating available. The SF-2281 + Toshiba Toggle flash is a hair slower in real world performance, but offers a longer life span when compared to the 25nm IMFT drives and gives you a little higher maximum IOPS when you can use it.
The Wildfire also costs a little less than the Vertex 3 Max IOPS, its direct price / performance competition. Patriot has always been really aggressive with e-tail pricing and we look to see Wildfire mixing it up when the rest of Team SandForce gets in the game.
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