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We’re finally out of the woods. After nearly a year in which the Intel X-25M was virtually the only solid state drive on the market not to suffer from severe latency during sustained random writes, the past few months have brought us sweet relief in the form of new SSDs with stutter-less memory controllers from such manufacturers as Samsung and Indilinx. This month, we tested the 128GB Patriot Torqx, which uses an Indilinx “Barefoot” memory controller and 64MB DRAM write cache to end the stuttering problem once and for all.
Right out of the box, Patriot impresses with the thoughtful inclusion of a 3.5-inch tray adapter for its 2.5-inch drive. It’s just a simple sheet of pot metal with screw holes and rail mounts, but it’s appreciated. The drive enclosure itself is all brushed-metal—black on top, silver on the bottom—and screws into the adapter easily.
Once we got the drive into our test system, it performed like a dream, with average sustained read speeds of 205.4MB/s—virtually identical to our champion, the Intel X25-M. But the Torqx really brings home the bacon in the write speed test: Sustained write transfer speeds were a whopping 175MB/s, 16 percent faster than the previous champ, the Samsung 256GB MLC SSD (reviewed in August, retailing as the Corsair P256) and nearly three times as fast as the Intel X-25M’s 64MB/s. And although average random-write response times were slightly slower than the Samsung or Intel drives, we’re talking a few tenths of a millisecond here—still an order of magnitude faster than the Western Digital VelociRaptor, our magnetic-drive speed champion. The Torqx also proved superior in our Premiere Pro CS3 encoding test, beating the Samsung by nearly five minutes, and the Intel by one minute.
At $400 for 128GB, the Torqx is still much more expensive than a magnetic hard drive of similar capacity, but that price is pretty standard for SSDs. It offers 48GB more capacity than the $300 80GB Intel X-25M, so if you’ve got the extra Benjamin, the 128GB Torqx is a great buy. Although, if the present leapfrogging-in-awesomeness trend continues, holding out six more months for an SSD could be quite rewarding.
Blistering fast reads; record-setting writes. No perceptible random-write stutter.
Gosh, SSDs are still expensive!
|Corsair P256 (Samsung 256GB MLC SSD) ||Intel X25-M ||Patriot Torqx 128GB|
|Capacity ||256GB||80GB ||128GB|
|Average Sustained Transfer Rate Read (MB/s)||175.1 ||206.65 ||205.4|
|Average Sustained Transfer Rate Write (MB/s)||150.1 ||64.30 || |
|Random Access Read (ms) ||0.16 ||0.12 ||0.11 |
|Random Access Write ||0.12 ||0.09 ||0.31 |
|Premiere Pro (sec)||945 ||732 ||674 |
|PCMark Vantage Overall Score ||14,088 ||30,322 ||21,247 |