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Solid-state drives (SSDs) present a bit of a conundrum. At its simplest they're like the sports cars of the computer world: you pay a premium for speed, but lose out in terms of practicality (i.e. capacity). Luckily, unlike said sports car, they have the additional advantages of also being very power efficient and quieter than their pedestrian spinning-disc counterparts, not to mention more shock and temperature resistant. However, not all SSDs are created equal when it comes to performance, so let's see how Patriot's latest holds up.
Named Torqx, as it's well known that any cool product should have an 'x' in the name, Patriot offers this drive in three capacities: 64GB at the low end, the 128GB of our review model and the maximum 256GB capacity. For now this is in line with what most affordable SSD ranges offer.
The package you get is fairly good, though not quite as comprehensive as Kingston's SSDNow V Series kit. Still, there's a neat manual, black metal 2.5in to 3.5in adapter bracket (by no means a given with SSDs) plus eight mounting screws and a jumper switch. The latter is for upgrading the firmware, but once you get past version 1275 updating can be performed jumperless. Note that this Torqx range (part numbers beginning PFZ) are the only Patriot SSDs which offer upgradeable firmware and are certified to work with the company's Performance Restore Utility, the necessity of which we'll get into later.
The drive itself is pretty standard. It's housed in a solid brushed black metal 2.5in upper case with a less sturdy stainless steel base-plate, measuring 99.88 x 69.63x 9.3mm and weighing in at just 91 grams. At the back you'll find SATA power and data connections as well as the jumper pins, though no USB port as some of the competition feature. The drive can withstand operational temperatures of zero to 70 degrees, and can absorb shocks of up to 1500G over 0.5ms. Translated into plain English, you can stick it in the hottest PC on the planet or throw it out the window and it should survive without trouble.
All these specifications are a tad superfluous for most consumers though, as what really matters for most potential SSD owners is speed. For an MLC-based drive (rather than the far more expensive SLC), the Torqx's quoted speeds are certainly impressive: up to 260MB per second write and 180MB read. Of course even if the drive were to match these speeds in real life, there's the issue of SSD performance-degradation over time.
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