For those who aren't familiar with Solid State Drives (SSDs), these are hard drive alternatives that use Flash-based memory modules similar to digital camera memory cards for data storage rather than spinning hard drive platters. Since SSDs have no moving parts they can withstand greater vibration and impact, they typically consume less power and they are generally faster than traditional hard drives.
In our recent review of SSDs and HDDs we saw several Sandforce SSDs performing well. Can the Patriot perform at the same level? How will it stand up against Crucial's C300? Read on to find out.
Build and Design
The Patriot Inferno comes in a nice box that includes 3.5” brackets for people that want to use this SSD in their desktop instead of a notebook. The outer shell of the drive itself is all metal. It feels well crafted and strong with an attractive red color.
To get an impression of synthetic performance we ran the ATTO Disk benchmark to test the maximum read and write speeds for the drive.
As can be seen the Patriot Inferno writes and reads at speeds well above 250 MB/sec. Let’s find out how that translates into real world performance.
Real World Performance
To find out how the Patriot Inferno performs in real life I installed it inside my HP Pavilion dm3 notebook and performed a series of tests. First I gave the SSD a fresh install of Windows 7 Home Premium. After that I installed a number of commonly used applications. The chart shows the time it took to install Windows 7 Home Premium, Microsoft Office 2007 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 together.
The Inferno performs as expected here. Not surprisingly, the speed is very similar to the other Sandforce drives and the difference compared to the Crucial C300 is hardly significant. Next we measured how fast these drives boot Windows 7 with the utility ‘Boot Timer’.
The Inferno seems to be a tiny bit slower here, but 0.4 seconds would not be noticeable in real life.
To get an accurate indication of the file copy performance we copied and pasted two folders on to the same partition. The first folder had a large number of random files and images. The second folder had a couple of large high definition video files. In total 11GB of files were copied. The chart shows the average time of both actions.
This time the Inferno manages to beat the Agility 2 but the difference is hardly significant.
Next we opened up a large TIFF image without having started Photoshop yet. So the time measured includes both launching Photoshop and opening the image.
Again Patriot’s Inferno performs as we expected: This SSD offers very similar performance to the other two Sandforce drives.
For the final launch test I placed four applications in the startup folder and lastly a shortcut to a 720p video file that was opened in MPC-HC. This way the notebook launches the four applications and then starts playing the video file. The reboot time was measured from pressing ‘restart’ until all applications were launched. Let’s see how the Patriot SSD does here.
This time the Inferno is a bit faster than the Agility 2. No spectacular differences though.
Performing multiple tasks at once is becoming more and more common these days. For example, when a virus scanner or Windows update is running in the background you still want to be able to use your notebook without sacrificing performance. As you will see the type of hard drive can have a big influence on this.
Our first multi task test consisted of scanning a large folder of files with Avast Virus scanner, while at the same time copying a folder and decompressing a zip file with 7zip. For the second multi task test I opened a large image and Photoshop while a background virus scan was already running. The time it took to open the image and Photoshop was measured in seconds. The times of both multi task tests were added and are shown in the table below.
The Patriot Inferno performed a bit slower here then the Agility 2, coming in 8 seconds later.
To get an accurate indication of battery life I used Batterybar 3.4.1 and browsed the web for more than one hour with wireless on and brightness at 50%. Windows was set to Power Saver profile.
In this test the Inferno did well, giving 7 hours and 15 minutes battery life. That’s about half an hour more than the Agility 2 delivered. I expect the Agility 2 unit I had wasn’t very power efficient one, normally it should be on par with the other Sandforce drives.
Patriot has released a solid product with the Inferno SSD. As expected it performs very similar to the other 120GB Sandforce drives we reviewed earlier, the OCZ Agility 120GB. Sometimes the Patriot was a bit faster, sometimes the Agility 2 took the lead. When it came to battery life the Patriot did noticeably better. Currently the Patriot can be found for a "street price" of $289 online, which doesn’t make it a bargain but its good value for money.
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