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Patriot Wildfire 120GB Review! But with a Marvell Controller!

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July 23, 2011 11:41:53 PM

Hey all!

So we've all seen the latest reviews on the new SSD's coming out, in my case the Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD. With its SATA 3 interface and 32nm Toshiba Toggle NAND, it's pretty speedy at 500+ MB/s sequential read and write. But all these reviews use good Intel SATA 3 controllers! What about those of us with a P55 board that are stuck with the infamous Marvell SATA 3 controllers? Well, I'm here to compare the two, and see what kind of performance we'll get by using a high performance current-gen SSD with a SATA controller that would make any enthusiast cry.

PC Specs:
Motherboard: Asus P7P55D-E Pro
CPU: Intel i5-760 OC'ed to 4.0 Ghz
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw 2X2Gb at DDR3-1600
GPU: MSI Geforce 470 GTX Twin Frozr II edition OC'ed to 700/1674 Mhz
HDD: Patriot Wildfire 120Gb SSD, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB

And results!

ATTO Disk Benchmark, first the Marvell SATA 3 controller and then the Intel SATA 2 controller:


Here we can see that the Marvell SATA 3 controller shows nowhere near the performance that the Wildfire is capable of, with reads maxing at 393 MB/s and writes maxing at 184 MB/s. Not only does the read performance take a 20% hit, write performance is down a huge 65%. The Intel SATA 2 controller shows reads at 284 MB/s and writes are 268 MB/s. Obviously the drive is recovering its performance, but is now hitting the limits of SATA 2 transfer speeds.

Now for CrystalDiskMark, using random data:


And with 0fill data favoured by manufacturers since it produces higher numbers:


Again, we see the Marvell SATA 3 controller performing poorly, with reduced read and vicious cuts to write speed. The Intel SATA 2 controller picks up the write speed again, but is bottlenecked by the SATA 2 interface.

*****

For comparison to the Wildfire's performance with a good controller, see: http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/patriot-wildfire-12...

*****

So there we have it, the Patriot Wildfire 120Gb brought down to its knees. As a boot drive, I'm leaning towards using the Intel SATA 2 interface, which will allow Windows to accomplish its many random writes that much faster, at the expense of the less-used sequential transfers.

What do you guys think? Marvell SATA 3 or Intel SATA 2? Or just return this and buy a cheap last-generation SSD?

Suggestions for other tests are welcome!
a b G Storage
July 25, 2011 7:17:52 PM

I've heavily tested both as a beta tester for the Vertex 3 and can tell you that the latency is shorter and the writes are higher on the Intel chip. Both of which an OS volume will thank you for. So your logic is correct.

However, if you were to DL the Marvell 1051 series drivers and overclock the PCI-E as high as you can while maintaining stability?.. different story alltogether and the Marvell will pull far enough ahead to make it worth while for an OS volume. Latency is still worse than Intel but what'ya gonna' do, eh?

I get this as max speeds with a 240GB V3 despite what the screen shows for listed details. Was testing another riadcard(which runs the same 9128 chip as my mobo) and it got saved without the V3 notations is all.
a c 283 G Storage
July 25, 2011 7:59:22 PM

Pretty much the same thing we saw in a couple of technical reviews. No surprises since you tested using an old motherboard with an old Marvell 88SE9123 controller.
July 25, 2011 10:56:02 PM

I'll probably end up keeping the Wildfire on the SATA 2 controller then, since I think an OS requires a decent write speed, as opposed to a sequential read speed. I guess I could return it, but the store would charge 15% restocking fee so it's not quite worth it to return the Wildfire and get an older SATA 2 SSD.

I'll just upgrade to an Intel based controller when X79 comes out :sol: 




...Time to start saving up for that.
!