Patriot Torqx 2 Solid State Drive Preview

With so much competition at the high end, Patriot looks to take market share in the mainstream with a Phison SATA 3G SSD.
@ChrisRamseyer
Published Mon, May 16 2011 8:26 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:30 PM CDT
Manufacturer: Patriot Memory

Introduction


Patriot Torqx 2 Solid State Drive Preview 01 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 19 IMAGES




We've spent so much time talking about the high end market with new products from SandForce and Marvell, but failed to keep track of the mainstream products that cater to the bang for your buck crowd. In this class of products you find controllers from Toshiba, Samsung, JMicron and now Phison. Phison has been around for several years and is one of the early developers of consumer class SSD controllers. Their early products made their way into OEM netbooks, but were never fast enough to warrant a large scale 2.5" form factor product for the discrete aftermarket folks; at least none that read these pages.

That has changed with the new Phison PS3105-S5. While this might be the first time you've heard of the PS3105, I've had to hear about it for the last three months. Solid state engineers have been talking this controller up for quite some time. The new Phison is supposed to be a perfect mainstream SSD with acceptable SSD speed and an acceptable mainstream SSD price.

Even with all of the hype, we still have our doubts, at least this early in the review. You see, last year's enthusiast dynamo, the SandForce SF-1200, is this year's mainstream super boy. Well, that is if you can still find one using 34nm flash. Let's see if the Patriot Torqx 2 can take the SATA 3G, low cost crown, or if last year's enthusiast king still reigns over the SATA 3G kingdom.

Specifications, Pricing and Availability




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Patriot is claiming a read speed of 270MB/s and a write speed of up to 230MB/s with the Torqx II. I would assume these numbers are from the largest capacity sizes. Speaking of capacity, the Torqx II is available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and the large 256GB. All capacities use a 128MB DRAM buffer to cache data in and out of the drive.

Patriot has notated that the Torqx II has RAID and TRIM support. In RAID you don't have the benefits of TRIM so we'll have to take a close look at the drives garbage collection capabilities in our Fill Testing section to see if RAID is worthwhile with this low cost drive.

When it comes to pricing, we found the Torqx II at Newegg already. The 32GB model is available now for 84.99, 64GB for 129.99, 128GB for 214.99 and finally the 256GB for 489.99 USD. All of the drives cost less than the latest SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6G products on the market. The most sought after SF-2281 capacity size on the market right now, 120GB, costs 299 USD at Newegg, so the Patriot Torqx II costs around 85 Dollars less.

Things get a little blurry, though, when we start looking at last year's performance champion, the SF-1200. Patriot offered a SF-1200 product and called it the Inferno and it was one of our favorites from 2010. The Inferno 120GB is available at Newegg for 245 USD which is still more than the Torqx II, but the OCZ Vertex 2 with the same SF-1200 controller only costs 180 USD at Newegg. Both SF-1200 controlled drives can rock your SATA bus at 285MB/s read and 275MB/s write speeds. This is quite a bit more performance than what the Torqx II offers and as long as you can find a drive with 34nm flash you will get more performance. We'll talk about this more in the conclusion after we see the benchmarks.

When it comes to accessories and add-ons, the Patriot Torqx 2 comes with a 3 year warranty, but does not include a desktop adapter bracket.

The Patriot Torqx II




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As we mentioned in the introduction, our sample is a pre-production one, so no label or retail package. But the inside hardware is the same and so is the firmware. This means we can get all of the performance information from a drive just like you can buy, but we can't show all of the pretty stickers or packaging.

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For the most part we are looking at a black aluminum box. To reduce the overall cost the two aluminum halves are held together by friction; no screws needed.

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On the sides and bottom we found all of the standard mounting points, so you won't have any trouble installing the drive in your notebook or desktop adapter bracket. It's too bad the Torqx 2 doesn't come with its own desktop adapter.

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The SATA power and data connectors are where they should be.

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Normally we'd pull the PCB out of the carrier, but the Patriot Torqx 2 was designed in such a way that we couldn't get it out. We can still see one side of it, though, and on that side we see the Phison controller, eight Toshiba flash chips and a single Hynix 128MB DRAM buffer.

Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance


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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: AVADirect, GIGABYTE, Cooler Master, LSI, Corsair and Noctua.

You can read more about TweakTown's Storage Product Testing Workstation and the procedures followed to test products in this article.


We've spent so much time focusing on the new SATA 6G parts that we almost forgot about SATA 3G. Truth be told, more people are going to buy SSDs this year to use with SATA 3G than they will with SATA 6G. So, for those people, even if you guy a SATA 6G part you might only have SATA 3G ports - how depressing.


ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

ATTO is used by many disk manufacturers to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers.

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In our testing with ATTO we achieved nearly 230MB/s write speed and just over 260MB/s read. This is really close to Patriot's claimed performance and very good for a mainstream solid state drive....in 2010.

Benchmarks - HD Tune Pro


HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00
Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com


HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance
Info: shows detailed information
Health: checks the health status by using SMART
Error Scan: scans the surface for errors
Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.



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Our new SSD charts are SATA 6G heavy, but we kept the OCZ Vertex 2 on there for nostalgia. The Vertex 2 uses the same SandForce SF-1200 controller that is also in the Patriot Inferno. The Inferno was last year's flagship, but this year the Inferno costs around 245 Dollars for the 120GB. The Torqx 2 that we are looking at today costs less, but has more capacity.

In this test the Patriot Torqx 2 actually runs at nearly the same speed as the Vertex 2 120GB. Impressive.

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In the write test across the drive things weren't so favorable for the Torqx 2. Here we hit an average write speed of 181MB/s, quite good for a mainstream drive, but more than 40MB/s slower than the SF-1200 drive.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time


AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com




AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.

Drives with only one or two tests displayed in the write test mean that they have failed the test and their Maximum and possibly their Average Scores were very high after the cached fills. This usually happens only with controllers manufactured by JMicron and Toshiba.

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No matter what SSD you buy, it will feel faster than your spinner drive since it doesn't have mechanical latency. SSDs can read data in an instant; well, not exactly an instant. The Patriot Torqx 2 reads data at an average rate of .36 milliseconds.

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To date, controllers designed for the mainstream market have been horrible at writing small bits of data in rapid succession. Some of these products have been so bad we didn't even score them on the charts. The problem is that the DRAM cache fills quickly and then the data has to be written directly to the controller and the controller was so slow that we'd start to get writes that took as much as 5 seconds to complete.

5 seconds! In the world of computers, 5 seconds is a very long time. You can pull out like 3.5 hand full's of hair in 5 seconds.

The new Phison controller in the Torqx 2 will save your hair and deliver writes faster than the world's fastest consumer spinner, the WD VelociRaptor.

Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark


CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview
Developer Homepage: http://crystalmark.info
Product Homepage: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html
Download here: http://crystaldew.info/category/software/crystaldiskmark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy.

Key Features:-

* Sequential reads/writes
* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes
* Text copy
* Change dialog design
* internationalization (i18n)

Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.

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In CDM we're looking at 4K and NCQ performance. Here, the Patriot Torqx 2 is around 10x faster than the fastest spinner at 4K reads and scales with native command queuing all the way up to 32 commands. The 120GB SF-1200, though, is twice as fast in all of these read tests.

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4K write performance was acceptable at more than 50MB/s, but there is no increase in performance as the commands stacked up. What's actually crazy is that the Patriot Torqx 2 writes 4K data faster than the Corsair Performance 3 256GB, a SATA 6Gb/s drive.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage Hard Disk Tests


PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark-vantage/
Buy It Here




PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista PC from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.

FutureMark has developed a good set of hard disk tests for their PCMark Vantage Suite. Windows users can count on Vantage to show them how a drive will perform in normal day to day usage scenarios. For most users these are the tests that matter since many of the old hat ways to measure performance have become ineffective to measure true Windows performance.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender
HDD2 - Gaming
HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery
HDD4 - Vista Startup
HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker
HDD6 - Windows Media Center
HDD7 - Windows Media Player
HDD8 - Application Loading

PC Marks's Vantage does a really good job at showing Windows 7 day-to-day tasks. The Patriot Torqx 2 128GB is faster than the traditional platter drives, but is still slower than the SF-1200.

PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing




For a complete breakdown on the Drives with Data Testing please read this article. You will be able to perform this test at home with the files provided in the article, full instructions are included.

Brief Methodology

SSDs perform differently when used for a period of time and when data is already present on the drive. The purpose of the Drives with Data testing is to show how a drive performs in these 'dirty' states. SSDs also need time to recover, either with TRIM or onboard garbage collection methods.

Drives with Data Testing - 25%, 50%, 75% Full States and Dirty / Empty Test
Files needed for 60 (64GB), 120 (128GB), 240 (256GB)
60GB Fill - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB
120GB Fill - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB
240GB Fill - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB
Empty but Dirty - a test run just after the fill tests and shows if a drive needs time to recover or if performance is instantly restored.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender
HDD2 - Gaming
HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery
HDD4 - Vista Startup
HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker
HDD6 - Windows Media Center
HDD7 - Windows Media Player
HDD8 - Application Loading

After digging through the archives, I learned that the Western Digital VelicoRaptor 600GB delivered an overall Vantage HDD score of 6552 Marks. Even with the Patriot Torqx 2 filled at capacity, the Torqx2 delivers twice the performance of the aging VelociRaptor.

Benchmarks - AS SSD


AS SSD Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.3577.40358
Developer Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software
Product Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software
Download here: http://www.alex-is.de/PHP/fusion/downloads.php?cat_id=4&download_id=9

AS determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without the use of the operating system caches.

In all synthetic tests the test file size is 1GB. AS can also determine the access time of the SSD, the access of which the drive is determined to read through the entire capacity of the SSD (Full Stroke). The write access test is only to be met with a 1 GB big test file. At the end of the tests three values for the read and write as well as the overall performance will be issued. In addition to the calculated values which are shown in MB/s, they are also represented in IO per seconds (IOPS).

Note: AS SSD is a great benchmark for many tests, but since Crystal Disk Mark covers a broader range of 4K tests and HD Tune Pro covering sequential speeds, we will only use the Copy Benchmark from AS SSD.

- Copy Benchmark

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When it comes to transferring data from one area of the drive to the other, the Torqx 2 gives us around 86MB/s in all tests. This isn't that far off from the SF-1200.

Benchmarks - Passmark


Passmark Advanced Multi-User Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.passmark.com
Test Homepage: http://www.passmark.com




Many users complain that I/O Meter is too complicated of a benchmark to replicate results so my quest to find an alternative was started. Passmark has added several multi-user tests that measure a hard drives ability to operate in a multi-user environment.



The tests use different settings to mimic basic multi-user operations as they would play out on your server. Variances is read / write percentage as well as random / sequential reads are common in certain applications, Web Servers read nearly 100% of the time while Database Servers write a small amount of data.

The Workstation test is the only single user environment and will be similar to how you use your system at home.

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With MLC flash, a DRAM buffer and tame controller, the Patriot Torqx 2 is not designed for enterprise tasks. But then again, none of these other consumer drives are except for the SandForce drives that are just a step or two away.

Final Thoughts




The Patriot Torqx 2 has just hit the market and it's so new that we couldn't even get the full retail kit when we requested a sample. As you know, new SSDs carry a price premium no matter what market they are designed for. As they age, the price goes down considerably. The SandForce SF-1200 drives in 120GB capacity started out at 450 USD at their launch, but now sell for just a hair over 200 USD. It's an interesting fact to bring up, because even though the Patriot Torqx 2 is designed as a mainstream consumer SSD, the enthusiast breed SF-1200 costs less. That isn't going to last for much longer, though, at least in its current form. With the 34nm drives being discontinued and replaced with slower 25nm SF-1200 drives, the SF-1200 isn't the prom queen she used to be. The Torqx 2 will also drop in price as it gains widespread availability.

When it comes to performance, the Patriot Torqx 2 is faster than the spinners. It's also faster than all of the SSDs we've pulled out of OEM machines. As a mainstream product the Torqx 2 is a good, decent quality drive that will do what's important, feel fast. The feeling of speed comes from the low access times that will open windows, games and applications very fast. When you attempt to do more intensive tasks, the Torqx 2 will outperform the fastest platter drive, but it still has the SandForce SATA 3G drives hanging around.

With its preproduction status, our Patriot Torqx 2 can't be scored with our charts, but that's OK. We're asking for a retail 256GB drive to do a full review on. The 256GB model should perform a little better and by the time we get to it in the cycle the price of the Torqx 2 should be at, or below the MSRP.

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Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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