Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Patriot's specification sheet has a lot of technical talk about SandForce technology that is built into the SF-2281 controller. If you want more details about the buzzwords, please check out our SF-2000 Client Controller Article.
Patriot will release the Wildfire in four user available capacity sizes; 60GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB. Today we're looking at the 120GB model, the one I feel appeals to the largest audience due to its cost vs. available capacity. Patriot claims the Wildfire is capable of delivering up to 555MB/s read and 520MB/s sequential transfer speeds. This is in line with other manufacturers claims and well within the maximum performance offered by the SF-2281 controller.
In being able to achieve performance at this level, you'll need a motherboard with a native SATA 6Gb port or an add-on card. SATA 3G will get you to around 285MB/s read and 275MB/s write.
Patriot also claims random write IOPS of up to 85,000. I'll be honest, I didn't believe it when I read it, but after a quick run with IOMeter I achieved 88,000 IOPS, I was impressed. Not that I'll ever be able to use that much in my day to day activities but the claim has been verified and is awesome to say the least. Remember, we are talking about a single 2.5" drive here that will work in your Dell notebook, not some PCIe thing that costs more than a used car.
Then there is cost. This is where feathers will be ruffled for those not in the know. The 120GB Patriot Wildfire that we are looking at today has an MSRP of 299.99 and will be available in just a few days. I'm not going to insult you and tell you it's cheap. It is an MSRP, though, so expect Newegg to raise the price to 330 at launch and in a week the price will go to MSRP, but after that it's Take Me Out to the Ballgame time.
Patriot's biggest (and for that matter any SSD manufacturer this year's) biggest competitor is OCZ Technology. The Wildfire is on the same level as OCZ's flagship Vertex 3 Max IOPS product. Both use top shelf Toshiba Toggle flash. There is a difference, though; the Max IOPS 120GB uses eight chips at 2x the die density and the Wildfire uses sixteen chips. So far I've only tested the 240GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS drive with sixteen chips, so I won't be able to give you a direct comparison between the two today. I have asked OCZ for a 120GB Max IOPS sample - stay tuned for a direct comparison.
Patriot includes a desktop adapter bracket with the Wildfire, a needed add-on for desktop users and one not provided with the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G or OCZ Agility 3. The Wildfire also has a three year warranty and support forum for quick questions and advice.