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Patriot Torch 240GB SSD Review

Patriot Torch 240GB SSD Review

Patriot's Torch 240GB SSD costs just $105 at Amazon currently and packs low voltage DDR3 next to a Phison S8 controller and 16nm IMFT flash.

@ChrisRamseyer
Chris Ramseyer
Published Tue, Jan 13 2015 9:07 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: Patriot

Introduction & Specifications, Pricing, and Availability

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VIEW GALLERY - 39 IMAGES

Patriot recently slipped two new, nearly identical, low-cost SSDs on the market. The first product to hit the market was the Patriot Blaze, a low-cost consumer SSD with a Phison S8 controller, available in several capacities. The new version follows Patriot's long line of fire themed products, and is called "Torch." The new Torch SSD comes in just two capacities, and is so new that Patriot doesn't even reference it on the company's website.

The Torch is nearly identical to the Blaze in the 240GB capacity, other than the product packaging, and use of low voltage DDR3 DRAM. The packaging makes a big difference in pricing; the Torch comes in a small clamshell blister pack with only a single paper document. The Blaze with standard voltage DRAM comes in a retail friendly box that adds to the cost. Using Amazon for common placement, the Torch 240GB costs just $105, but the Blaze with a retail package costs $126.

As mentioned, the Torch comes in two capacities, 240GB and 120GB. The 240GB model we're testing today uses a Phison S8 controller, but the Torch 120GB uses a Phison S9 controller. The S9 was introduced and primarily offered as a cache product, pairing a SSD with a HDD. We'll talk more about that in the coming days when we review the 120GB Torch model.

Specifications, Pricing, and Availability

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Patriot's Torch comes in two capacities, the 240GB model we're testing today, and the 120GB model that we'll test later this month. Patriot doesn't list this product series on their website yet, so the data shown above comes from Amazon, the only outlet with listings for the Torch at this time.

The performance for the Torch 240GB comes in at 555 MB/s sequential read, and 535 MB/s sequential write speeds. The 120GB model has a claimed 545 MB/s sequential read, and just 430 MB/s sequential write speeds. Neither product page on Amazon shows random performance ratings, but we can determine that in our testing today.

This product series comes with a three-year warranty, but doesn't have an accessory package, or anything interesting to speak of with the product packaging. You get the SSD in a small plastic clamshell case, and that's it.

PRICING: You can find the Patriot Torch 240GB SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Patriot Torch 240GB retails for $105.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The Patriot Torch 240GB retails for CDN$199.50 at Amazon Canada.

Patriot Torch 240GB SSD

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Here we get our first look at Patriot's new Torch SSD. We've omitted the packaging images, as there really isn't a package to speak of other than a plastic clamshell case.

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The model and serial numbers are located on the back of the drive along with the capacity information.

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Patriot used a 7mm z-height, so the Torch will fit in many of the new notebooks and Ultrabooks that require the smaller height.

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Inside, we found a small PCB with a Phison S8 controller paired with a single DRAM package, and four NAND flash packages.

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The Phison S8 controller has been around for a while now, and is a very popular controller in embedded applications, and low-cost SSDs. The Torch ships with DDR3L-1600, low voltage DDR3. From what we've been able to determine, the Torch is identical to the Blaze SSD product in all aspects other than the low voltage DDR3 buffer. The Blaze product has regular DDR3 (1.5v), and the Torch has LoVo DDR3 (1.35v).

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A third party packaged the flash, but under the plastic is the IMFT 16nm ONFi.

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The backside of the PCB has the other two NAND flash packages.

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Here we see the size of the PCB in relation to the 2.5" form factor case. The Torch 240GB is on the left, and the 120GB model is on the right. The difference between the two is more than just the NAND packages though. The 120GB Torch on the left uses just two NAND packages, but also carries the S9 controller, instead of the S8 found on the 240GB model.

Test System Setup and Initial Performance

Desktop Test System

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Lenovo T440 - Notebook Power Testing with DEVSLP and Windows 8.1 Pro

Nearly all of the performance tests run on the desktop system, but we use a Lenovo T440 to run the power tests. The T440 is the latest addition to our client SSD test lab, and allows us to test the notebook battery life offered by a SSD with advanced features like DEVSLP enabled.

Initial Performance Evaluation - 4-Corner and then Some Tests

Sequential Read

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Sequential Write

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Sequential 80% Read 20% Write

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Random Read

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Random Write

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Random 80% Read 20% Write

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Our new replacement for ATTO shows us 4-corner performance, and some mixed workload results as well. We run the test long enough, and in a particular order, to get a reasonable level of consumer preconditioning on the drive. In the tests, we show QD1 (green), QD4 (yellow), and QD10 (red).

Benchmarks - Sequential Performance

HD Tune Pro - Sequential Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 5.50

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We've tested several SSDs with the Phison S8 controller over the last couple of years. Kingston, MyDigitalSSD, Patriot, and others use the S8 in low-cost SSDs. The S8 controller performs well when reading data, but has consistency issues while writing data. The sequential read performance is very high though, as you can see in this chart.

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The sequential write performance with 64KB blocks (as used in this test) shows performance that averages 380 MB/s. This is lower than many drives on the market today, but higher than both products on the market with 3-bit per cell (TLC) flash.

HD Tach - Sequential Write Performance after Random Writes

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0.4.0

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We run HD Tach after a number of sequential and random write tests to the full user area of the drive. The Patriot Torch surprised us here since many of the products we've tested that use this controller show sharp drops in sequential write performance. It appears that Phison has tweaked the firmware to deliver a more consistent experience.

Benchmarks - Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities

Version and / or Patch Used: RC6

So, what is Anvil Storage Utilities? Anvil Storage Utilities is a storage benchmark for SSDs and HDDs where you can check and monitor your performance. The Standard Storage Benchmark performs a series of tests; you can run a full test, or just the read or the write test, or you can run a single test, i.e. 4k QD16.

Anvil Storage Utilities is not officially available yet, but we've been playing with the beta for several months now. The author, Anvil, has been updating the software steadily on several international forums, and is adding new features every couple of months.

We can use Anvil several different ways to show different aspects for each drive. We've chosen to use this software to show the performance of a drive with two different data sets. The first is with compressible data, and the second data set is incompressible data. Several users have requested this data in our SSD reviews.

0-Fill Compressible Data

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Incompressible Data

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The S8 controller deals with compressible and incompressible data a little differently; at least the performance is different when working with the data types. Unlike SandForce controllers that only lose write performance with incompressible data, the Torch loses both read and write performance when dealing with incompressible data.

Low Queue Depth Read IOPS

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We've started testing both SandForce and Phison controlled products with a 64% / 36% mix of incompressible and compressible data for these tests. The Torch 240GB delivers 7217 IOPS at QD1 reading 4K data. The performance scales well to QD4 on this chart.

High Queue Depth Read IOPS

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Most users will never get to the high queue depths shown in this chart, but we still like to publish the data since companies use the QD32 for marketing data.

Low Queue Depth Write IOPS

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In relation to other products on the market, the Torch fairs a bit better at low queue depth random writes.

High Queue Depth Write IOPS

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High queue depth writes show the brick wall at 63K random IOPS, and everything after QD8 starts to drop back.

Benchmarks - Mixed Read / Write Workloads

Sequential Mixed Read / Write Workloads

In this series of tests, we measure mixed workload performance. We start with 100% read, and then add data writes to the mix in 10% increments until we get to 100% writes. We believe this will be the next major area SSD manufacturers will address, after performance consistency.

Sequential Mixed Workload Bandwidth

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Mixed read / write workload is difficult for many SATA SSDs, but the low-cost drives like the Patriot Torch have a more difficult time than high-end models. The Torch 240GB shows a massive performance drop with just a small amount of writes added to the mix.

Sequential 80% Read / 20% Write Bandwidth

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The 80% read with 20% write mix is closer to what consumers work under, although not always in a steady state like the one this test uses. The Torch is well below the performance offered by other modern SSDs in our chart.

Random Mixed Workload Response Time

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Mixing reads and writes while measuring random data also proves to be an area of concern for the Torch.

PCMark 8 Consistency Test

Futuremark PCMark 8 Extended - Consistency Test

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.228

Heavy Usage Model:

Futuremark's PCMark 8 allows us to wear the test drive down to a reasonable consumer steady state, and then watch the drive recover on its own through garbage collection. To do that, the drive gets pushed down to steady state with random writes, and then idle time between a number of tests allows the drive to recover.

Precondition Phase:

1. Write to the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data.

2. Write the drive through a second time (to take care of overprovisioning).

Degradation Phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for ten minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat one and two, eight times, and on each pass, increase the duration of random writes by five minutes.

Steady state Phase:

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 50 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat one and two, five times.

Recovery Phase:

1. Idle for five minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat one and two, five times.

PCMark 8's Consistency test provides a ton of data output that we use to judge a drive's performance. Here we see the three states of performance for the select SSDs, light use, consumer steady state, and worst case.

Storage Bandwidth - All Tests

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With all of the tests shown, it's easy to see the different performance clusters that normally correlate to a product's price. At the very top is the SanDisk Extreme PRO, followed closely by the Samsung 850 Pro, then a number of OCZ SSDs clustered together, and finally, a large group of low-cost SSDs that don't offer the same level of performance as the higher priced models.

Storage Bandwidth - Heavy Load

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Most Torch buyers don't plan to subject the drive to high workloads as seen in this chart, and we wouldn't recommend this product for heavy prosumer use.

Storage Bandwidth - Typical Consumer Load

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In this chart, we see workloads more in line with what consumers will face on a day-to-day basis. The tests for each data point are the same, but the preconditioning is different. Sadly, for the Torch, every other drive on the chart, other than the Intel Pro 2500 and MX100, performs better in the consumer level workload.

PCMark 8 Consistency Test - Continued

Total Access Time - All Tests

The access time test measures the total latency across all 18 tests. This is one of, if not the most important of all tests we run at this time for consumer SSDs. When your latency is low, your computer feels fast - it's just that simple.

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In this series of tests, we see the same workloads, but this time we measure latency.

Total Access Time - Heavy Load

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In the heavy tests with a lot of preconditioning, the Torch has more latency than nearly everything else does on the chart.

Total Access Time - Typical Consumer Load

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The Torch recovers well, but there are still several other products on the market that perform as well as, or better than the Torch. This is where the low price really comes into play. We'll talk more about this in the conclusion.

Benchmarks - Power Testing

Bapco MobileMark 2012 1.5

Version and / or Patch Used: 2012 1.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.bapco.com

Test Homepage: http://www.bapco.com

MobileMark 2012 1.5 is an application-based benchmark that reflects usage patterns of business users in the areas of office productivity, media creation, and media consumption. Unlike benchmarks that only measure battery life, MobileMark 2012 measures battery life and performance simultaneously, showing how well a system's design addresses the inherent tradeoffs between performance and power management.

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We've added something extra on this chart to see why someone would choose Patriot's Torch over the Blaze product. Torch uses lower voltage DDR3 as a buffer, but other than that, the Torch and Blaze SSDs are identical. Here we see that the low voltage DDR3 equates to ten extra minutes of power on time in our Lenovo T440 notebook.

Power Limited Performance

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The performance in our power-restricted scheme in the Lenovo T440 shows that performance is the same for both the Blaze and Torch. They are also in line with other products of the same capacity when the CPU, PCIe, and SATA buses are reduced to conserve power.

Final Thoughts

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Several companies are in a shootout to have the lowest priced SSD on e-tail sites like Amazon and Newegg. To get there, we've seen a few different approaches. A couple of companies use a mix of components that are the lowest price at the time of manufacturing. Companies with guaranteed access to flash, like the fabs, rely on slightly higher prices, but also brand recognition. Then we have what Patriot pulled off with the Torch series.

To my knowledge, this is the first SSD to omit a retail package, like the entire freaking package, to reduce the price. For the most part, the Amazon only Torch is the same drive as the Patriot Blaze, minus the retail box, and one small change to the BOM (the lower voltage DDR3 DRAM buffer). I doubt the lower voltage DRAM is a planned changed, but it is the one thing we found that was actually different on our sample drives. Most likely, the VL DDR3 buffer was available at the time, or cost less than standard voltage DDR3 when the drives were made.

Using Amazon prices at the time of writing, we looked to see how good of a deal the Torch 240GB is in comparison to other products. This is a highly competitive capacity, and there are several products in the $90 to $110 range. The best performing of the group is the OCZ ARC 100 at $94.99. Right after the ARC100 comes the MX100, and the Patriot Blaze that we tested today, and these are all hovering very close to the $100 mark.

Given the technology involved, the large performance increase over traditional mechanical drives, and the increased reliability, it's difficult to imagine 256GB class SSDs in this price range. Patriot did what was needed to get a product in this ultra-low range. The Torch isn't the very best low-cost SSD, but given the workloads of most people shopping for a product in this range, it doesn't have to be.

PRICING: You can find the Patriot Torch 240GB SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Patriot Torch 240GB retails for $105.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The Patriot Torch 240GB retails for CDN$199.50 at Amazon Canada.

Performance86%
Quality including Design and Build91%
General Features87%
Bundle and PackagingN/A
Value for Money88%
Overall88%

The Bottom Line: Patriot's Torch 240GB SSD offers better than HDD performance and reliability at a very low price. There are better options available though if you watch the prices closely.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

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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