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Patriot WildFire SSD review: Patriot WildFire SSD

Patriot WildFire SSD

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
6 min read

The standard 2.5-inch laptop Patriot WildFire is the second SSD we've seen that's also desktop-friendly, thanks to the included drive-bay converter. Supporting the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) standard, the drive offers fast performance compared to regular hard drives. Compared with other SSDs, however, its copy speeds were relatively slow in our tests.


Patriot WildFire SSD

The Good

The 2.5-inch laptop <b>Patriot WildFire</b> solid-state drive (SSD) comes with a drive-bay converter so it can also fit in a 3.5-inch (desktop) drive bay. It supports SATA 3 (6Gbps) and offers a huge improvement over traditional hard drives.

The Bad

The Patriot WildFire is expensive and takes a long time to be formatted. Its data transfer speed is comparatively slow.

The Bottom Line

The Patriot WildFire offers significant performance gain on any computer at a premium cost.

The Patriot WildFire's cost is on par with most other SSDs, meaning that it's very expensive in terms of cost per gigabyte, at around $550 for 240GB (or $315 for the 120GB version). If you can afford that, you won't be disappointed and will definitely benefit from the performance gain. Make sure, however, to also check out other SATA 3-based SSDs we have reviewed . Chances are you'll be able to find one among them that is more affordable or offers better performance, or both.

Design and features

Drive type 2.5-inch solid-state
Connector options SATA 3Gbps, SATA 6Gbps
Available capacities 120GB, 240GB
Product dimensions 9.5 mm, 2.5-inch standard
Capacity of test unit 240GB
OSes supported Windows, Mac, Linux

The Patriot WildFire comes in the standard 2.5-inch, 9mm-thick design. This means it will work with most, if not all, situations where a regular hard drive of the same design would be used, such as inside a laptop computer. On top of that, the WildFire also includes a converter to make it fit into a drive bay made for the 3.5-inch standard hard drive, such as one found in desktop computers. This is similar to the case of the OCZ Vertex 3. Other than the fact that this is an SSD, the Patriot WildFire works just like any traditional hard drives of the same standard.

The drive supports the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) standard but also works with the popular SATA 2 (3Gbps) standard. To get the most out of it, obviously, you're recommended to use it with the former.

When used with a computer with a SATA 2 controller, however, the drive also showed a significant performance improvement in our trials. Like some other 240GB SSDs, the Patriot WildFire took a long time--about 5 minutes--to be quick-formatted. While 5 minutes isn't very long, it's much longer than just a few seconds it takes hard drives and other SSDs.

Cost per gigabyte
The Patriot WildFire costs about the same most as other SATA 3 SSDs on the market. At $550 for $240GB, or around $2.29 per gigabyte, it's about the same price as the Vertex 3. There are some that are more affordable, such as the Crucial M4, which is around $1.72 per gigabyte, or the OCZ Agility 3, which is around $1.96 per gigabyte. Compared with traditional hard drives, however, the Patriot WildFire is still very expensive; most hard drives cost just a few cents per gigabyte.

We test SSDs in real-world usage both when the reviewed drive is used as the main drive that hosts the operating system of the test computer, and when it's used as the secondary drive, which is used only to store data. Some of our tests gauge the performance of the system as a whole to see how the drive affects its performance. Our data copy tests show the drive's raw data transfer speed when used in real-world scenarios after all overhead. Our test system uses the latest chipset, RAM, and processors and is equipped with built-in SATA 3 controllers to show the drive's top performance.

As with other SSDs, we reviewed the 240GB version of the Patriot WildFire, which may or may not offer the same performance as other capacities. Most likely, however, different capacities of the same series should provide the same performance. And the Patriot WildFire offered mixed performance in our testing.

In copy tests, which are the tests that show the performance mostly of the drive, the WildFire was comparatively slow. When used as the secondary drive in the system, it scored 202MBps, compared with the 260.71MBps of the Vertex 3 or the 261MBps of the Plextor PX-256M2S . When used as the main drive that hosted the operating system of the test system, the drive's data transfer speed, now representing both the reading and write speed of the drive, reduced to 99.72MBps. Again, this number was slowest among all SATA 3-based SSDs we've reviewed. Compared to hard drives, however, these numbers still showed a huge performance gain.

On the other hand, in tests that involved applications' performance, the WildFire showed the most performance gain amongst all SSDs we've seen. In Office Performance test, where we time how long the computer take to finish a comprehensive set of different concurrent tasks including Word, Excel, file transferring and compression, the WildFire helped the system reduced to time needed to just 365 seconds, compared to 393 seconds in the case of the Crucial M4. Similarly, in our Multimedia MultiTasking test, which gauges the computer's performance when it converts a hi-def movie from one format to another while iTunes is doing a heavy job of music conversion in the background, WildFire scored 278 seconds, by far the shortest on the charts.

The Patriot WildFire, like all SSDs, helped the system take a very short time to boot up and shut down, just 30 and 7.5 seconds, respectively, in our tests. Note that the boot time includes the time the test machines go through the hardware initialization, which already takes about 15 seconds. Compared to when the system uses a hard drive as the main storage drive, the amount of time required for booting up and shutting down is cut down by about one third.

System performance (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Patriot WildFire
OCZ Vertex 3
Crucial M4
Plextor PX-256M2S
OCZ Agility 3

Boot and shutdown time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Boot Time  
Crucial M4
OCZ Vertex 3
OCZ Agility 3
Patriot WildFire
WD VelociRaptor 300GB

Data transfer (in MB/s)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
As secondary drive  
As OS drive  
Plextor PX-256M2S
OCZ Vertex 3
Crucial M4
OCZ Agility 3
Patriot WildFire
WD VelociRaptor 600GB
Seagate Barracuda XT
WD VelociRaptor 300GB

Service and support
Patriot backs the WildFire with a three-year warranty, which is decent and standard for most SSDs, though not as generous as the five-year warranty of the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 6G . At the company's Web site, there's scant content, generally support information for all Patriot's products. At the time of the review, there's no page dedicated to the WildFire.

We were let down by the Patriot WildFire file transfer speed but were happy with its application performance. If you can afford the hefty price, it'll make a very good replacement drive for any computer, be it a laptop or a desktop, and will offer significant performance gain.


Patriot WildFire SSD

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 6Performance 7Support 8