Podcast #187 - Our thoughts on Ultrabooks, the Radeon HD 7950, ASUS DirectCU GTX cards, and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 2, 2012 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sandforce, radeon, podcast, patriot, nvidia, Intel, gtx, arm, amd, 7950

PC Perspective Podcast #187 - 02/02/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our thoughts on Ultrabooks, the Radeon HD 7950, ASUS DirectCU GTX cards, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 58:02

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:20 Ultrabooks: Intel Knows What's Good For You
  6. 0:08:30 Patriot Pyro and Wildfire SSD Review - IMFT Async vs. Toshiba Toggle-mode Flash
  7. 0:14:20 AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB Graphics Card Review
  8. 0:25:50 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:26:38 Asus DirectCU II Roundup: ENGTX560, ENGTX570, and ENGTX580 Review
  10. 0:40:35 Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Will Have Fast GPU For The Price
  11. 0:44:20 If you thought Intel did well wait until you see ARM
  12. 0:47:00 AMD 7700 and 7800 Release Dates Leak To Web
  13. 0:51:20 Live Blog: AMD Financial Analyst Day
  14. 0:52:20 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Radeon HD 7950 Cards
    2. Jeremy: I'm giddy as a schoolgirl, albeit a very mercenary one
    1. Josh: And it is on sale! $770 off!
    2. Allyn: Corsair Force 3 - very good pricing.
  15. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  16. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  17. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  18. Closing

Source:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Patriot Memory

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction

Today we're going to take a look at a pair of SSD models from Patriot. While they both share the same SandForce controller, that's where the differences end. This won't be your typical review - because this time we're pitting an Async IMFT flash unit against a Toshiba Toggle-mode flash unit:

icon.jpg

We're also tossing a few OCZ and Intel models into the mix. The OCZ Vertex 3 and Agility 3 will again share the same SandForce controller, but OCZ has been known to add many performance tweaks to their firmware. This will give us a chance to see the 'baseline' SandForce firmware in action.

Specifications

Patriot has their drive specs spread out over several pages. Here's a consolidated list for these two models. We will be reviewing a 120GB sample from each of the two product lines.

  • Wildfire 120GB:

-Sequential Read & Write Transfer: 555MB/s read | 520MB/s Write
-Max Random Write IOPS: Up to 85,000 (4K aligned)

  • Wildfire 240GB:

-Sequential Read & Write Transfer: 555MB/s read | 520MB/s Write
-Max Random Write IOPS: Up to 85,000 (4K aligned)

  • Wildfire 480GB:

-Sequential Read & Write Transfer: 540MB/S Read | 450MB/S Write*
-Max Random Write IOPS: Max 4K Random IOPS: 40K*

  • Pyro 60GB:

- Sequential Read & Write Transfer: 520MB/s read | 490MB/s Write.
- Max Random Write IOPS: Up to 80,000 (4K aligned).

  • Pyro 120GB:

- Sequential Read & Write Transfer: 550MB/s read | 515MB/s Write.
- Max Random Write IOPS: Up to 85,000 (4K aligned).

  • Pyro 240GB:

- Sequential Read & Write Transfer: 550MB/s read | 515MB/s Write.
- Max Random Write IOPS: Up to 85,000 (4K aligned).

I've highlighted a few outlier specs in the above list. While the Pyro sees the now expected dip in performance when transitioning from 120GB down to 60GB - due to a reduction in the communication channels to the (fewer) flash chips, the Wildfire sees a seemingly opposite and more drastic effect. This is not due to a change in the number of data paths - it's a limit inherent in the SandForce controller itself, and is not limited to Toggle-mode flash. The difference caused by the Toggle-mode flash is the missing 60GB model - caused by the intermix of capacity points and configuration needed for this different type of flash memory.

Read on for our full review!

A four way Quad Channel DIMM battle

Subject: Memory | January 19, 2012 - 12:23 PM |
Tagged: ddr3, quad channel, patriot, corsair, G.Skill, Mushkin

With the arrival of the X79 chipset we received two gifts, quad channel memory and 2133MHz DIMMs which are much easier to get to full speed.  Overclockers Club took kits from four vendors, Patriot, Corsair, G.Skill and Mushkin.  There is quite a variety of DIMMs, ranging from 1600MHz to 2400MHz at default as well as sporting a variety of timings, though all but one kit are 4x4GB.  There were some challenges when overclocking the kits and OC describes the methods they need to employ to get the most out of these DIMMs.  When the testing was done it became apparent that each of these kits was a winner, except perhaps in cost.

OC_veng.jpg

"The last G.Skill memory I looked at did quite well in the overclocking department and thankfully, this kit does not deviate from that path – the base speed of 2133 MHz was just the starting point for the kit. Making the jump to 2400 MHz, though, required some tweaking of the primary latencies and voltages. CAS latency was bumped to 10 with the tRCD bumped to 12 and the voltage to 1.67 V. The memory controller voltage was fine at 1.05 V with this configuration as seen by the long term (well, 7 hours at least) stability testing of the overclock. The higher speed, coupled with a decent CPU overclock, showed measurable performance gains in testing. The overclocking margin or headroom came in at 13+% or 281 MHz for the time spent tweaking the modules for maximum clocks without killing every day performance. This kit from G.Skill reached the highest overclocked speed in comparison to the other modules in this testing session."

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory

 

CES Storage Roundup Part 2 - Corsair, Patriot

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 12, 2012 - 12:29 AM |
Tagged: ssd, patriot, memory, flash, corsair, CES

While roaming Vegas, we came across lots of storage goodies. Here are a few:

Corsair

Corsair showed their line of SSD's, with a new addition:

DSC02081_resize.JPG

The new addition is on the right. This is the 'Accelerator' series, an SSD primarily meant for caching duties:

DSC02085_resize.JPG

The Accelerator series will be available in 30, 45, and 60GB capacities, and will be packaged with caching driver software for those not running a Z68 or better caching capable Intel board.

DSC02093_resize.JPG

Also on display was a refresh to the Voyager, Voyager GT, and Survivor series, bringing their interface up to USB 3.0 speeds.

Patriot

We also saw Patriot's lineup:

DSC02107_resize.JPG

Pictured above, from top down, is the following:

  • Wildfire (Sandforce 6Gb/sec / Toshiba Toggle-mode flash)
  • Pyro SE (Sandforce 6Gb/sec / IMFT Sync flash)
  • Pyro (Sandforce 6Gb/sec / IMFT Async flash)
  • Magma (Phison / Async flash)
  • Mac Series (identical Pyro SE, but Apple certified)

Next is the USB lineup, with many new USB 3.0 models replacing the older 2.0 units. The Transporter series is a bit shorter than it used to be, which is a welcome bonus.

DSC02109_resize.JPG

Here are Patriot's portable flash offerings, consisting of high capacity SD cards and Phison-driven mSATA and smaller (!) form factors:

DSC02112_resize.JPG

DSC02118_resize.JPG

This is 'mSATA mini', which is about half the length of a standard mSATA SSD. On the other end of that spectrum is a 240GB Macbook Air unit (just off camera in the above pic).

Stay Tuned!

...I've got a few more goodies to post!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

The firmware is a little soft but Patriot's Javelin S4 serves up media quite nicely

Subject: Systems | December 7, 2011 - 05:12 PM |
Tagged: squeezebox, Patriot Javelin S4 Media Server, patriot, itunes, htpc, DLNA

Media servers are becoming a hot item on the market, offering nearly all of the flexibility of a full HTPC with nearly none of the required setup.  The Patriot Javelin S4 Media Server is no exception, with the ability to interface with iTunes and Squeezebox as well as being compatible with DNLA and UPnP.  With a possible 12TB of storage possible, the actual product ships empty which does keep the entry price down.  Powered by a PowerPC based AMCC 800MHz 431EXr and with the proprietary OS installed on 128MB of flash memory it can accept up to four HDDs formatted as FAT32, EXT2, EXT3 or NTFS, in a variety of RAID flavours.  Check out X-bit Labs for the full breakdown of this devices capabilities.

xbit_javelin.JPG

"If you have a lot of digital media, such as music, videos and photos, then Patriot claims they have a perfect solution for you. With room to accommodate four 3.5-inch hard drives and additional external expansion via USB 2.0 and eSATA ports, the Javelin S4 can pack up to 12TB of storage capacity into a small form factor chassis. Integrated DLNA-compatible streaming, Apple iTunes server, Squeezebox Server and UPnP capabilities allow seamless connection to PC, Mac and home electronics devices."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: X-Bit Labs

Seven Sandforce SF-2281 SSDs

Subject: Storage | September 13, 2011 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: sandforce, Sandforce SF2281, ssd, roundup, corsair, kingston, ozc, patriot, sata 6Gps

Four companies with seven SSDs that all share the same controller were tested at X-bit Labs to see if there is any noticeable difference in their performance.   The price per gigabyte varies on the different models as they all use slightly different flash memory as well as different interfaces.  X-bit tries to come out with a general statement about performance and captures the heart when they state "SSDs with synchronous MLC NAND flash are generally faster but also more expensive whereas SSDs with asynchronous flash are cheaper and slower".  That generalization doesn't quite capture the results fully however as even within those two categories there are some choices better than others.  Check out the full review to see which drives came out on top.

xbit_ssds.png

"We tested seven high-speed solid state drives built on second generation SandForce controller that support SATA 6 Gbps. Please welcome our heroes: Corsair Force 3, Corsair Force GT, Kingston HyperX, OCZ Agility 3, OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS, Patriot Pyro and Patriot Wildfire."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: X-Bit Labs

Does Patriot now offer the best deal on DDR3-1600 currently on the market?

Subject: Memory | August 29, 2011 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: ddr3-1600, patriot, gamer 2, ballistix

According to Legion Hardware the Patriot Gamer 2 DDR3-1600 is the best value on RAM going.  They back that claim up with the Gamer 2 1600MHz @ 9-9-9-24 costing only $53 and keeping up with kits costing almost twice as much.  They also managed to tighten the timing without lowering the frequency, on an i7-920 they hit 8-8-8-20 and with an X6 1100T they managed 8-9-8-20 which is very impressive for a kit costing less than $60.  The full review covers two 8GB kits, the Viper Xtreme Division 2 “PXD38G1866ELK” and the Patriot Gamer 2 “PG238G1600ELKA".  Don't spend more on RAM than you have to.

LH_Patriot1600.jpg

"...when testing we found that the relaxed CL10 timing of the Ballistix Sport memory made it much slower than the Patriot Gamer 2 memory which uses CL8 timing. Therefore in short we believe that the Patriot Gamer 2 is the best value DDR3-1600 memory money can buy and in fact we would go as far as to say it’s the best value 8GB DDR3 memory kit available period."

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory

Patriot tries out the SandForce 2281 controller in the newest Wildfire SSD

Subject: Storage | August 1, 2011 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: ssd, patriot, wildfire 120GB, sandforce, SF-2281 controller

120GB is a nice spot for SSDs, enough space for an OS and limited programs but without forcing you to spend $500+.  The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD SATA 6GB/s drive is $300, not the least expensive but certainly competitive with other similar drives, in price.  As for performance, with the new SATA standard and a SandForce controller it seemed best matched against the OCZ Vertex III Max IOPS.  Hi Tech Legion's testing showed the two to be running neck and neck in both performance and price.  Competition that close will hopefully bring sales and discounts making both drives even more attractive.

HTL_wildfire.jpg

"The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD claims to deliver enterprise-class performance on a home PC. The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD is equipped with the SandForce SF-2281 controller paired with 16 8GB Toshiba 32nm toggle mode NAND chips. Much like other next generation SandForce based SSDs, the Patriot Wildfire 120GB has DuraWrite technology, Windows 7 TRIM support and is 256-bit AES encryption capable. With a sequential read speed of 555MB/s and write speed of 520MB/s, as well as a max random write IOPS of 85,000, the Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD is aimed squarely at enthusiasts who want raw speed and uncompromised performance."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Patriot's new SSD is on fire

Subject: Storage | July 14, 2011 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: patriot, 32nm NAND, Sandforce SF2281, sata 6Gps, ssd

Patriot's original foray into the SSD market was overshadowed by many other manufacturers releasing SSDs and did not get much stage time compared to Intel or OCZ for instance.   This may change now that the community has realized it is the controller that makes the SSD, not the manufacturer.  Their new 120GB Wildfire is a true SATA 6Gps drive and it features the high performing Sandforce SF-2281 controller.  That isn't the only trick they have up their sleeves, though it means the drive costs more, they chose 32nm NAND over 25nm NAND which results in faster performance and possibly longer life which is in line with the three year warranty Patriot offers.  Check out the actual performance over at Neoseeker.

NS_Wildfire 1.jpg

"The Patriot WildFire is a 120GB SSD using the latest Sandforce SF-2281 controller, and 32nm MLC NAND memory. Together these components promise enterprise-level performance in a package priced for hardware enthusiasts. Hit our review to see if the WildFire can live up to its name, or if it ends up burning out prematurely."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Neoseeker

Dual channel DDR3 roundup, only the best for your Z68 system

Subject: Memory | July 8, 2011 - 12:53 PM |
Tagged: corsair, patriot, kingston, crucial, G.Skill, ddr3, roundup

At Hardware Heaven you can catch a dual channel DDR3 roundup featuring Corsair Vengeance, Crucial Ballistix, Kingston HyperX, Patriot Division 2 Viper Xtreme and G.Skill RipjawsX kits.  The kits range from DDR3-1600 @ 7-8-7-24-2T to DDR3-2133 @ 9-11-9-27-1T and even features a low power 8GB kit which uses 1.5V.  They didn't have much luck overclocking the high speed DIMMs, it seems they are running stock speeds close to the maximum possible and had much better luck with the 1600MHz kits.  The charts do reveal a truth that not many like to admit, spending all that extra money on the high speed kits will not give you a noticeable jump in real world performance.

HH_DDR3roundup.jpg

"Last month, for the first time in a while, we took a look at various different memory products which were designed for Intel's X58 architecture and found that there are a number of great kits available from a number of manufacturers. Whether it is capacity, speed or low energy use there was something for everyone and the various approaches created an interesting comparison. Not everyone has access to an X58 system though so today we are going to look at Intel's mainstream chipset and put 5 different kits through their paces in a selection of real world and synthetic tests on Z68."

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory