Today we will be reviewing Patriot's Pyro SE 240GB in RAID 0 to see what kind of RAID performance we can get on the Z77 motherboard while also getting a reasonable amount of storage for a decent price. We want to take a look at how well Patriot's 240GB drives play in RAID 0 as well as what kinds of scenarios such an array would prove to be beneficial.
Some of our reviews in the past have been focused on testing with PCIe RAID controllers, while others were focused on using the onboard controllers provided by Intel on their motherboards. Since the Z77 is the latest chipset from Intel supporting RAID 0 on at least two SATA 3.0/6Gbps ports, we decided to see what kind of a set up could be built and used for gaming and production.
We have seen quite a few different types of RAID setups in our day and to this day, we still cannot find a setup that is more cost effective and as quick as having two drives in RAID 0. The truth of the matter is that in order to get anything more than two drives in RAID 0 on an Intel platform, you need to get a PCIe RAID controller. The problem with most of these controllers is that they generally take up a lot of space, slow down system boot times, and are expensive and have a diminishing return on investment the more drives you use past four. But in order to make these controllers more useful, you need to use as many drives as you can.
In this review, we will be using two of Patriot's 240GB Pyro SE drives to create a 480GB array to accommodate any person's application or gaming needs. Admittedly, the same could likely be accomplished with two 120GB drives, but the 240GB drives enable more capacity and less need to worry about running out of it. We will be running these drives with our Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H inside of a Maingear Shift case that Maingear was so kind to supply to us for a review, which is coming soon. This system is also powered by an Intel 3770K, which means that CPU performance will not be an inhibiting factor in this test.
For this review, we will be looking to see what kind of raw performance we can get out of the Intel controller when combined with two of Patriot's latest and greatest SSDs. Additionally, we'll look at the overall system performance difference between such an array versus single drives as well as en 10,000RPM 600GB and 1TB hard drives.
This benchmark is definitely considered to be one of the industry accepted standards for testing the performance of a drive. As you can see from our results, the two drives do not achieve perfect scaling from the stated 550/520 individual drive performance figures. Based on our calculations, you get about 87 percent of the theoretical maximum that these drives are supposedly capable of delivering. The writes are also no surprise as most drives that claim 500-520MB/s writes generally get half of that in CrystalDiskMark. Here, we get 555MB/s instead of 1000MB/s as one should theoretically expect, but if you have run as many SSDs across this benchmark as we have, you'd know to expect about half of what you see on paper with an SF-2281 device. We Are also very happy to see the 4K QD32 and 4K performance at the levels that they are at, which indicates extremely fast data transfer rates not hindered by small file sizes.
ATTO is yet another benchmark, but mostly tests theoretical drive performance more so than real world performance. Most manufacturers will general quote ATTO performance figures when stating the speeds of an SSD. With our results here in ATTO, you can see that the drives are performing up to par with the writes being over 1000MB/s and reads touching into the 1100MB/s area.
With AS SSD, we see that our performance is lower than in ATTO but mostly higher than what we got in CrystalDiskMark. Generally speaking, AS SSD is considered to be one of the more accurate measures of actual drive performance. It creates an aggregate score, in this case 1446, as a result of all the speeds it collects from reads and writes in sequential, 4K and 4K-64 benchmark tests. Looking at these figures we can see that the drives are able to deliver reads of over 1GB/s but the writes are still effectively half of what the drives state.
PCMark 7 Storage Benchmark
We consider the PCMark7 benchmark to be one of the more accurate measurements of real world performance as it tests both system files, multimedia, and game performance. However, we do believe it has some issues recognizing speeds from RAID arrays.
Looking at the PCMark7 benchmark results, we can see that the Patriot Pyro SE 240GB RAID array wins, but not necessarily by a wide margin. The RAID 0 array scores in at 5702 while the Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD scores at 5388, indicating a difference of only 300 points or slightly more than 5%. This performance differential indicates that perhaps this benchmark does not quite work well with RAID arrays or that the real world benchmarks that Futuremark has created for it do not necessarily benefit from the speed increases gained from the SSDs being put in RAID 0.
Value and Conclusion
With each drive averaging in cost at around $300, these drives are definitely not cheap. But when you consider that the next best alternative to having 480GB of SSD space costs on average $500, you really have to weigh what is important to you. You can easily get two 120GB Pyro SE drives and obtain almost identical performance, however, you will only have about 220GB of usable space, less than a singe 240GB drive. With two 240GB drives, you get the benefits of having a lot of storage space while still maintaining an extremely high performance level. If you go with a single 480GB drive, you will effectively get half the speeds with a savings of only $100-$150 which isn't much in the grand scheme when you're comparing performance numbers.
While Intel has yet to make RAID 0 and TRIM a possibility for all motherboards and drives, you can already get it working if you have the right drivers and do a bit of tweaking. In the past, however, you either had to make a choice of going with RAID and losing TRIM or only using one drive and maintaining TRIM and prolonged system performance. We would recommend having at least a Z77 chipset if you want to be able to run the beta RST drivers that enable TRIM support in RAID 0.
At this point, we can say that there is no doubt in our minds that a two drive RAID 0 array is the best solution for any gamer or content producer. The real question only becomes how much SSD storage do you need? In most cases, two 120GB drives will be enough, but there will still be plenty of people that will spring for 400GB of SSD storage in RAID. There is no doubt, though, that pairing a good RAID 0 SSD array with a properly large 3 or 4TB drive is the best solution and that having two Patriot Pyro SE 240GB in RAID 0 is a quick and convenient way of building a fast and expansive OS drive.