Most helpful positive review
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Reliable and good price/performance ratio
on 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