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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 16, 2011
Patriot Memory has been making memory modules and flash memory products since 1985, the year after the Detroit Tigers last won a World Series title. Building on their flash memory expertise, Patriot added solid state drives (SSD) to their line of products. In June of this year, Patriot released their fastest SSD ever--the Wildfire. Just a couple of months later, Patriot announced the Pyro, their consumer-level, high-performance solution.

- Fast read/write speeds
- Easy to install
- Greatly improves boot and shutdown times
- Good price/performance ratio

- No 3.5-inch adapter

At a street price of around $199, the 120GB Pyro is Patriot's least expensive 120GB SATA III SSD drive. It's geared toward consumers who are looking to increase performance at a price more palatable than enthusiast-level SSDs. With printed sequential transfer rates of up to 550MB/s Read and 515MB/s Write, the Pyro promises quite a performance boost, but does it deliver?

The installation of the Pyro in an old Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop was a piece of cake. However, hard disk upgrade procedures can vary from laptop to laptop, so I'd recommend looking at the documentation for your exact model to make sure it's something you're comfortable doing. Accessing the hard drive on the Dell Inspiron 1420 was as easy as removing two screws on a panel underneath the laptop, lifting the old drive out and dropping the new drive in.

Installing the Pyro in a desktop computer was also easy, but keep in mind that the Pyro does not come with a 3.5-inch adapter mount. Luckily, my PC enclosure included disk trays that support both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives, so I didn't need an adapter.

I tested the performance of the Pyro on both SATA II (3Gb/s) and SATA III (6Gb/s) interfaces. The SATA II interface was tested in a Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop and the SATA III interface was tested using an ASUS P8Z68-V PRO motherboard. I used ATTO Disk Benchmark and Crystal DiskMark for my tests.

On the Dell Inspiron 1420's SATA II interface, ATTO results were 281MB/s Read and 236MB/s Write. SATA II transfer rates were obviously going to be lower than advertised SATA III speeds, but it still exceeded my expectations. On the SATA III interface, the results were 550MB/s Read and 516MB/s Write--spot on with the printed specs from Patriot. Keep in mind that ATTO scores are generally a best-case scenario for SSD transfer rates.

Moving on to Crystal DiskMark, the Pyro tested at 187MB/s Read and 143MB/s Write on the SATA II interface. On SATA III, I got 208MB/s Read and 146MB/s Write. Crystal DiskMark scores are typically lower for drives that use asynchronous NAND, like the Pyro, because it uses incompressible data. Using the less expensive asynchronous NAND, is how SSD manufacturers can offer lower-cost drives. In real life, it'd probably really hard for the average consumer to tell the difference between drives that use asynchronouse and synchronous NAND flash.

I found the overall performance of the Pyro to be terrific. When I recorded the boot times, I was stunned. The old, 5400RPM Western Digital mechanical hard drive booted Windows 7 in 95 seconds. The Pyro? Just 33 seconds. Every application started up noticeably faster and a nearly 4-year old laptop felt peppy again. Even shutdown times improved a great deal.

Patriot actively updates the firmware of their SSDs. Up until recently, SandForce-based SSDs had some problems with blue screens, random freezing, and trouble waking from Sleep mode. Firmware version 3.3.2 for Pyro SSDs, eliminated all those problems. I ran the new firmware for about two weeks straight and didn't experience any issues.

The Patriot Memory Pyro is a fast and reliable SSD drive. With a good price/performance ratio, it's a good choice for those looking to extend the life of an older system with a little performance boost--actually, a rather significant boost. The best part is, when you're ready to dump your old system for a new one, you'll still be able to use the Pyro and it'll perform even better.

* Review unit provided by Patriot Memory
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2011
First off i rounded up my score to 5 stars, its more like 4.5 or a 9/10. it does not seem far to give it just 4/5 because I like this drive alot.

I will break down the review in sections including tips.

Initial installation:
Pretty easy. it didnt include instructions besides the mounting of the drive.
Step 1: update your bios if you are upgrading from an HDD boot to the patriot pyro boot drive.
Step 2: For advanced users, you should move your users folder and temp files to save on your HDD. that way when you browse internet/save programs in users you wont be using your SSD drive for short term storage. There are set up guides on the internet.

For this particular drive, I needed new firmware to be completly stable. without the 3.2.0 firmware I had random pauses, and freezes that would resolve after 30 seconds. After the firmware update i have not had an issue so far. This is likely due to the fast pace of SSD technology, trying to cater to older chipsets and new chipsets alike. Make sure your mother board supports
Sata III(6gb/s) for the most compatability and full speed. This may not be a good drive to run on sata II boards even though they claim it is backwards compatible.

Load times significantly decreased.
Frame rate modestly increased in the games tested, hey word being modest
may be subjective, but games seem to run smoother. There is no way to measure that, and it may all be in my head so take that with a grain of salt

Desktop apps/start up/shut down
program windows pop up very fast compared to a standard HDD
Loads up to windows in about 27 seconds compared to 59-65 seconds on my HDD
Shut downs in about 4-7 seconds depending on what is running.

Atto: up to 560 mb/s read and 516 mb/s write with raw data. which exceeds factory specs, your results may vary depending on other hardware and optimizations
HDtune pro: a more realistic benchmark with compressed data/varying sizes was less than steller, but data rate was at least 2.5X faster than my HDD for read and write. this utility is really good, and checks for bad sectors and errors. this drive is clean for now.

Satisfaction: Very good hard drive for the money with rebate. However performance has been a notable decreased after a month of use, but not by to much.

Note: this SSD uses asynchronous memory. Synchronous is higher end, may last longer, and has real performance advantages over time/space used.
other options: for a few dollars more invest in a synchronous drive. The wildfire version of this drive is synchronous but the price is abit high compared to the compitition with the same or better specs.

Other new generation synchronous drives to consider: note any rebates that are available to save $
Corsair force GT
Kingston hyper X
Mushkin chronos deluxe
Patriot wildfire
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2012
Solid state disk drives have 4 defining characteristics. Its interface with the computer which limits what speeds it can attain in the real world, the type of controller chip used in the SSD, the type of memory or 'nand' and the firmware. The firmware is software that is loaded onto the SSD and used by the controller chip to manage the storage device.

This particular drive can use "Sata III" which allows for properly equipped computers to send data at up to 6Gb/s. If your computer uses Sata II or Sata I (it'd be pretty old to be the latter), you top out at 3 and 1.5Gb/s respectively.

Only the very fastest tiers of solid state drives can saturate more than Sata II, and you'd have to be doing some serious stuff on a sustained basis to make good use of the 6Gb/s, so for most purposes it suffices to say that this drive will throw more data at your computer than it can reasonably handle.

The controller is a Sanforce 2200 series. This is a very powerful and advanced controller, but its suffered from being released early by many eager SSD providers putting it on the market before the firmware had all of the problems worked out. As a result a number of drives with these controllers lost customer data and crashed systems. The current firmware release, just dropped a short time ago by many manufacturers, seems to have all of these problems worked out. There are a few products that suffer from manufacturing issues that affect reliability, but this is not one of them.

As far as type of memory, there is 'toggle nand', synchronous and asynchronous, with varying speed tiers within type. Toggle is fastest in general, then sync, then async. But some fast sync drives can approach toggle speeds and some async drives can approach sync speeds.

Firmware is the crucial element. Well tested and researched firmware means reliability and performance. Many of the more popular drives go through dozens of firmware revisions every year, most bringing reliability and performance improvements.

As you can see by looking at the toms hardware ssd hierarchy chart, this is a tier 8 drive with async nand, the fast 2200 series sandforce controller and pretty reliable firmware. While its far from the fastest drive, it offers excellent performance at a reasonable price point with good reliability. And like all recent SSD's, it offers silence, no moving parts, and ridiculously fast random access to your data. Put it in an older computer and it feels like its gotten faster and newer. Put it in a new computer and it'll fly. Your statup, shutdown, program load and general usage will seem as much as twice as fast. Even opening a browser with 15 tabs takes me half as much time with an SSD as a hard drive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2011
I put this drive in a 2008 (non-unibody) macbook pro. It was essentially plug-and-play. I had absolutely no problems with anything. I haven't done any complicated speed tests or anything, but I can tell you that my 3 1/2-year-old computer now boots up completely in 14 seconds!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2012
Any time you can start from power up to using windows 7 in 15 seconds is fast. My old system took over 2 minutes to start up, not anymore. Fast and inexpensive ( after $40 rebate). You can't lose. Buy one now (or two).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
I shopped for an SSD for a month and looked seriously at Crucial 128GB drive. I found the PYRO with $40 rebate, so I was able to pay significantly less per GB for this model. I was concerned about how much space the drive had on it. I needed enough for Windows 7, MS Office, iTunes and some files. My big files are stored on a media server, so the 120GB seems sufficient. I purchased the 120GB drive to upgrade my 2008 HP Pavillion DV6700 laptop. My hope was to speed up my aging laptop. I had previously upgraded to Windows 7. The PYRO drive arrived in a padded envelope. The drive itself was in a tiny box, which was probably fine since there are no moving parts inside. The instructions consist of "take out the old drive and put the new one in". (The instructions were sufficient since it was just that easy!) The DV6700 has two screws that hold the cover over the hard drive opening. The hard drive is in a case that needs to be reused to mount the SSD. The SSD was a drop in replacement. The instructions say to boot and enter BIOS to ensure the SSD is recognized in the BIOS. The SSD was NOT recognized in the BIOS. I was really worried at that point. I went ahead with a fresh install of Windows 7 using the DVD media. The hard drive was recognized by the install media. It took 10 minutes to copy all the files and then it booted to Windows 7. It took an additional hour to download all the updates to Windows 7 and to install Microsoft Office, etc.

Key points:
- Available space after installing Windows 7 showed as 111GB. The other portion is system files, so be aware there is a loss in usable space. I think that space was consumed by Microsoft when it formatted the drive. If you cloned or formatted the drive before installing the OS this may be different for you.
- Actual space used after I installed these programs; Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Office, iTunes, Google Chrome, Microsoft Security Essentials, LeapFrog Connect is 25GB used of 111GB.
- Startup / shutdown is lightning fast. It used to take several minutes to boot and for the wifi to connect. Now within one minute it is booted and connected to wifi.
- There is no longer hard drive noise and I don't have to worry when my wife walks around with the laptop.

- Drive was not recognized in the BIOS. This was OK since Windows install disk found it fine.
- Windows 7 key would not work. This is probably due to me using an upgrade key. It could also be because changing hard drives can cause key issues. I will need to call Microsoft and I am confident they will give me a new key. They are pretty good about that if you have a legit copy of Windows.
- My wife lost all her podcast subscriptions for her iPod. I will blame that on Apple. They should backup that data to your iTunes account.

I will leave feedback later on the rebate. I have sent it in following their instructions. For others that have had trouble with the rebate. I wouldn't give more than one star to any manufacturer who failed to honor a rebate.

In conclusion, at around a hundred dollars after rebate this is an excellent upgrade to an aging laptop. Do a fresh operating system install to clean the junk off and give it an extra speed boost. This was plug an play. No need for data cables or transfer software since I did a clean install.

UPDATE 5/08/12:
The drive hase been running without any problems. I sent in the rebate following their instructions and I have received notice the rebate has been processed. They are stating it will take 8-10 weeks to get the rebate becauase I didn't select the expedited method. This is rediculous. Even the slowest mail method wouldn't take more than one week, so they are intentionally delaying the rebate for 2 months.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2012
I ordered this drive about two months ago. I wanted the security that if I dropped my laptop while it was on my data would be safer and the speed that comes with an SSD. I installed it, a fairly easy process that is the same as installing a regular hard drive. I reimaged my hard drive on the SSD after a little repartitioning of the old drive. I have not had any problems with the firmware on the 120GB Patriot Pyro SSD. As for the actual speed comparison I was lucky to get 100MB/s of transfer speed on my old hard drive, where this SSD gets about 200MB/s read speed and 100MB/s Write speed. Although my only con I have had with this drive is it is about 1/4 the size of my standard Hard Drive.
It was only $120 after rebate and tax but that is pretty inexpensive for a 120GB hard drive

Durable compared to a hard drive
Easy to setup and install

Small capacity
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2012
Wicked fast, incredible speed injection for a maxed-out 2006 Mac Mini. I've upgraded the machine's processor to a 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo chip, upgraded the firmware so the machine thinks it's a 2007 Mini, and added memory to 4 GB (only 3 of which is recognized by the machine).

I have to say the SSD made the most difference in the machine's speed, and it worked for me in a USB enclosure, a FW400 enclosure, and (noticeably fastest) in the plain old internal SATA port. This drive has been seamlessly compatible with all of these components up through OS X 10.7.3.

Biggest benefit: quick launch of big apps like Photoshop Elements and Word.
Secondary benefit: drive is silent and cool.
Tertiary benefit: machine boots quickly.

Also: I received my rebate relatively promptly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2012
Super fast and great for a boot drive. Replace a 7200RPM normal Hard drive that took 90 seconds to boot to Windows desktop with this Patriot SSD and now the computer is fully booted in 25 seconds with everything loaded and ready to roll. All the Applications also open super fast now. I own two of these now, upgraded two computers in my house with these for the boot drive. Great price and a very high speed read and write.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I bought this about a year ago to put into my mac mini. Works great and the thing zips along. Of course it isn't an Apple SSD so you will have to get a trim support app. It is my understanding that all of these drives do that natively to some degree. I put the trim support app on anyway.

All in all, a cheap way to make your computer quite a bit faster, and I am very happy with my purchase.
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