Before we got busy testing the Torqx, we had to update the firmware. Patriot hasn’t yet issued an official update but we were sent a pre-release copy of the file along with a guide for the update process, which is just as well as the process is a bit finicky.
Indilinx' reference design is perfectly replicated here
The Patriot needs to be installed as a secondary drive to your operating system disk and a configuration jumper - supplied in the package - has to be slipped into place next to the power connector on the back of the drive. With the SSD in configuration mode, your PC's Bios will recognise the Torqx as a Yatapdong Barefoot - apparently the generic name for this Indilinx design.
We fired up Windows - Vista or XP only - ran the updater - which took about one minute - removed the jumper and shut down the PC. At the end of the process, our Torqx had been updated from firmware 1370 to 1571, and the drive had been wiped clean of files and data. If you image the Torqx to a second drive, run the update and then re-image the Torqx you’ll have the job done inside an hour, but it’s the sort of thing that's easy on a test bench and something of a pain in a working PC.
We tested the Torqx with both versions of the firmware using our trusty Intel X25-M to transfer files back and forth and we also added a Kingston SSDNow V, which has a JMicron controller, into the mix.
Just like the OCZ Vertex, only blue, not green
The new firmware increases the write speed of the Torqx for small files and reduces it for larger files, and in the process the performance of the drive is evened out. When it comes to transferring files from one drive to another the revised firmware has little effect.
That firmware upgrade process.
I can see a rather large flaw in there.
Say you want to run install one in your shiny new build as the main disk rather than as additional storage. So you just need to boot into Windows and..........ah..........oh dear.
OCZ have the right approach with a bootable CD image, if they could just get it to work. Did you try the jumper trick with the OCZ CD boot? I'm wondering if the problem's a screwup in the instructions....
I second price fixing!!!
@ JC 2:
I second that! This is very similar to most new pieces of technology on the market nowadays - there seems to have been a decision taken by these companies that every new iteration of a certain technology warrants a higher baseline price-point than the previous technology.
This leaves the newer technology at a higher price point to older technology regardless of how long its been on the market, and the end result is more money in their coffers no matter when you buy it. Games consoles are one clear case; flat-panel TVs are another. They just won't go below a certain price point any more and that really is bad for lower-level uptake of these technologies..
Shame that really, as mainstream adopters will hold out or save and not produce the sort of product churn that actually drives sales.
SSDs really should by now have eliminated the need for a mechanical main/system drive in any personal computer needing 120GB or less - leave the mech DDs to work as storage-only or as part of elaborate raid arrays where cost and reliability are still a factor.
Benchmarks Don't Back Conclusion
Besides low latency, the testing showed them performing fairly poorly. The BEST result for the 2GB file transfers, a fairly undemanding linear process, was 30.3 seconds. That's 68MB/s.
Today's 500GB per platter, _5200RPM(even!)_ mechanical HDDs can achieve that (for more than the first 128GB of their outer platter capacity) or come pretty close to this average for the rest of the platter(s), and give it to you at about $90/TB.
As first mentioned, this does not consider latency so it's an apples:oranges comparison but I have to agree with the article that there is little reason to buy this late entry into the SSD market, at least it uses the Indilinx controller but SSD prices should be going down not staying the same with more market competition, let alone the doubling of flash density.
I suspect price fixing in the flash market. We saw DDR2 for under $1 a chip, even practically free when on a finished product with a rebate, when capacity was focused on DDR2 production. Now that more capacity switched to flash production the cost of flash should have similarly decreased.
Couldn't they all be boiled down to the same conclusion?
"X is very similar indeed to ... other SSDs on the market. It performed very well. Shame it couldn’t be just a bit cheaper."