Flash has redefined the speed and portability of storage devices. Modern day SSDs began as PCBs packed with NAND and a controller and stuffed into an industry-accepted 2.5" form factor design. This allowed for easy compatibility and created a slip-in replacement for existing HDDs; but flash brings the capability to shrink the device and remove the casing entirely.
And so, the NGFF (Next-Generation Form Factor) was born, which was summarily renamed into the more succinct "M.2." These gumstick SSDs were originally designed for mobile computing and data center applications, but the proliferation of M.2 ports on current-generation desktop motherboards has transformed M.2 into the new hotness for desktops, laptops and even Intel NUCs.
Patriot finally made it to the M.2 party and announced the new Ignite Series M.2 SSD, which comes in 240 GB and 480 GB capacities. The svelte 6 Gbps SATA M.2 SSD measures a mere 22 mm wide and 80 mm long and offers 560/320 MBps of sequential read/write speed. The Ignite SSDs also push out 90,000/70,000 4K random read/write IOPS from the Phison S10 controller.
This is the first time we have spotted the Phison S10 on an M.2 SSD, and we could see broader implementation of the controller with other manufacturers. We know Phison is supporting TLC NAND, but there is no mention of the type of NAND employed on the Ignite SSDs.
The Ignite Series supports Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and Linux and comes with a three-year warranty. The SSD also features end-to-end data protection, smartECC and Smart Refresh, along with the expected wear leveling and garbage collection. Patriot hasn't released the endurance specifications.
"We are happy to announce the Ignite M2 addition to our family of SSD products," said Les Henry, VP of Engineering at Patriot. "With the Ignite M2, Patriot now offers a full range of SSDs, from 2.5" SATA 3, to mSATA and now M.2. The Ignite M2 drives are the perfect storage solution for those looking to build/upgrade their small form factor PCs."
The Ignite Series sports an economical price point of $109.99 for 240 GB and $209.99 for the 480 GB model. There are other options in the SATA M.2 market with similar price points, such as the Crucial MX200 and M500, Intel's 530 Series, and the Samsung 850 EVO.
Current trends on Amazon indicate that the Patriot SSD might have a slight pricing advantage when it comes to market in early May. However, Crucial, Intel and Samsung enjoy a price benefit simply because they manufacture their own NAND, which will make it hard to compete if the fabs choose to lower prices. Many other M.2 offerings also offer refined software features, such as toolboxes and RAM caching support, which will only complicate matters for Patriot as it fights to re-enter the SSD market after a recent hiatus.