Tora! Tora! Tora!
Stupid-fast sequential reads and writes; competitively priced. TRIM support, plus optimization utility.
SSDs are still expensive. Benchmarks trail other drives.
At what capacity point are enthusiasts ready to make the crossover from magnetic storage to solid state? For some, that mark is a quarter-terabyte. If that sounds like you, Patriot’s new 256GB Torqx, featuring the hot Indilinx controller, could be the SSD you’re after. We pitted the 256GB Torqx against the 128GB Torqx and Intel’s second-gen 160GB X25-M SSD to find out which would be the new SSD king.
On our new Core i5 test bed, the 256GB Patriot Torqx significantly outperformed both its smaller sibling and Intel’s X25-M—at least in sustained reads and writes. (To restore performance on the latter two drives to like-new levels, we used Patriot’s and Intel’s SSD-optimizing utilities on their respective drives before testing.) For the first time, we found a drive with average sustained reads and writes above 200MB/s—on the same platform, the 128GB Torqx averaged 178MB/s reads and 168MB/s writes, while the X25-M achieved 185MB/s and 94MB/s, respectively. These aren’t quite the numbers we saw when we originally tested the 128GB Torqx or the X25-M, a difference we chalked up to the new test bed. Regardless, the 256GB Torqx surpassed both other drives in average sustained reads and writes, though Intel’s drive is still the champion in random-write access times, as well as in our Premiere Pro and PCMark Vantage tests, where the 256GB Torqx lagged far behind. Strangely, the smaller-capacity Torqx also outperformed the 256GB in the latter two tests.
Both Torqx drives benefit from Patriot’s updated firmware, which adds TRIM support to the drives, as well as a garbage-collecting drive optimizer for Vista and XP users. Older Intel- and Samsung-controlled drives were not upgradeable to support TRIM as of this writing, so Indilinx-controlled drives like the Torqx should be on top of any Windows 7 user’s list.
With its phenomenal sustained reads and writes, low random-access times, easy firmware upgrading, TRIM support, and usable capacity, the 256GB Torqx is a compelling candidate for your next primary drive, though its unexpectedly bad PCMark Vantage HDD score—nearly 6,000 points lower than the 128GB version—robs it of the Kick Ass award enjoyed by its smaller sibling. And, of course, it costs $700—reasonable, but only in the land of solid state drives.
|Patriot Torqx ||Patriot Torqx (MLC) ||Intel X25-M G2 (MLC) |
|Capacity ||256GB||128GB ||160GB|
|Average Sustained Transfer Rate Read (MB/s)||200.5 ||178.0 ||185.0|
|Average Sustained Transfer Rate Write (MB/s)||200.0 ||168.2 || |
|Random Access Read (ms) ||0.10||0.10 ||.11 |
|Random Access Write ||0.29 ||0.29 ||0.6 |
|Premiere Pro (sec)||486 ||395 ||370 |
|PCMark Vantage HDD Overall Score ||16,775 ||22,225 ||23,105 |