|Patriot Torqx 2 Phison Solid State Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 16 May 2011|
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Patriot Torqx 2 SSD PT2128GS25SSDR Review
Manufacturer: Patriot Memory, LLC.
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Patriot.
Phison SSDs aren't as well-known to computer hardware enthusiasts as those controllers from SandForce or Indilinx. For many within the industry, SandForce dominated the 2010 market in much the same way that Indilinx did throughout 2009. But not everyone can afford the premium brand names, or desire the fastest solid state drive technology. Patriot first introduced Phison in their problematic entry-level Patriot PS-100 SSD. Building on the name of their budget Torqx TRB product line that came in 32/64GB capacities, Patriot Memory issues the Torqx 2 series for high-performance power users with capacity up to 256GB. The Patriot Torqx 2 SSD is specified to offer 270 MB/s reads over the SATA 3Gb/s interface, with write speed reaching 230 MB/s. In this article, Benchmark Reviews confirms these results by testing the Patriot Torqx 2 on a B3-stepping Sandy Bridge platform with plenty of bandwidth headroom.
PHISON Electronics Corporation produces the PS PS3105-S5 controller used in the Patriot Torqx 2 SSD. This Phison SSD controller supports 20/30/40nm MLC/SLC Large-Block Toggle Hi-Speed NAND flash memory with up to 32 chips, and features a build-in 28/32/48-bit hardware ECC circuit (BCH). Using a 128MB DRAM buffer, the Torqx 2 SSD can offer ONFI 2.0 build-in static and dynamic NAND wear-leveling without compromising capacity for over-provisioning. One interesting footnote is that PHISON specifies this part to enable MLC NAND read and write speeds up to 250/220 MB/s, which are slightly lower than those quoted by Patriot. We'll soon see how well the Torqx 2 holds up in our benchmark SSD tests.
Even after decades of design improvements, the hard disk drive (HDD) is still the slowest component in any personal computer system. Consider that modern desktop processors have a 1 ns response time (nanosecond = one billionth of one second), while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional hard drive technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning mechanical storage products still exhibit a 9,000,000 ns / 9 ms initial response time (millisecond = one thousandth of one second). In more relevant terms, the processor receives the command and must then wait for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; usually the hard drive.
In a perfect world all of the components operate at the same speed. Until that day comes, the real-world goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor and then for the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present-day technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, consider then that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.
Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap in these response times. The difference a SSD makes to operational response times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their mechanical HDD counterparts. The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiasts make with regard to SSD technology is grading them based on bandwidth speed. File transfer speeds are important, but only so long as the operational IOPS performance can sustain that bandwidth under load.
Torqx 2 Specifications:
Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance
As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: bandwidth determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and operational IOPS performance is how fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.
For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.