SATA III SSD Round-Up: OCZ, Corsair, Patriot, Crucial
Patriot Wildfire and Crucial M4
Finally we have the new Patriot Wildfire SSD and Crucial M4. For all intents and purposes, Patriot’s Wildfire is the company’s direct competitor to the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS drive. And the Crucial M4 is the company’s follow up to the C300 which debuted last year.
The Patriot Wildfire drive pictured here is the 120GB model. The drive is actually equipped with 128GB of flash memory, but again, that extra “unused” space is provisioned for wear leveling and other drive maintenance and performance related features. The particular NAND used on the drive is of the 32nm Toshiba variety, like OCZ’s Max IOPS drive, which when paired with the SF-2281 offers strong all-around performance, even with incompressible data.
One thing that’s immediately apparent is how clean the PCB used in the Wildfire is; there are very few components on the thing compared to OCZ’s PCB.
Here we have the 256GB Crucial M4. The M4 is the follow-up to Micron’s popular C300, which was one of the higher-performing SSDs to hit the market when it was first released. Like the C300, the M4 is built around a Marvell 88SS9174 controller, albeit an updated revision that reportedly offers increased IOPS performance. The C300 had a Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2, while the M4 uses 88SS9174-BLD2. The M4 is outfitted with 25nm Micron synchronous flash memory (16 pieces in all) for a total capacity of 256GB. Also on the PCB (but not visible) is a 256MB DRAM cache, which isn’t necessary on SandForce-based drives. In addition to the tweaked controller, the M4 has a completely re-worked firmware that further improves performance over the C300. The M4 is rated for max reads and writes of 415MB/s and 260MB/s, respectively.