Benchmarks are more prevalent in SSD testing than many other components, because comparisons between SSDs in real-world usage are difficult, if not impossible in many applications. For instance, when timing most program load times by hand, you might have an error of several tenths of a second, and the actual difference in the load times might be less than a tenth of a second. What this means is that comparisons become somewhat artificial and results are somewhat random based upon how you each case happens to be timed. These comparisons are inaccurate, and, in many cases, simply wrong. However, certain program suites still push SSDs and may still be used for comparison between drives. When it's all said and done, benchmarks are still the best way to determine a quantifiable difference between SSDs.
We ran three different benchmarks: CrystalDiskMark, ATTO, and AS SSD. There are four "corners" to SSD performance, which are sequential write and read speeds and random write and read speeds. Synthetic benchmarks often test an array of different file sizes in its tests, and many reviewers will make sure they report the 4K file size. Since most applications and normal usage will send 4K commands to and from the SSD, the 4K file size provides a good measure of performance during normal usage.
There is a certain amount of variability between each run of the benchmarks, so we ran them with larger sizes to allow the speeds to average over a longer period of time. We also ran three runs of each benchmark and averaged the numbers to further offset variability.
The Vertex 3 120GB Max IOPS and the Patriot Wildfire both use the same Sandforce-2281 controller and NAND architecture, so it would be expected that they perform very similarly. What we see is exactly that. The two drives essentially "trade punches" across the different benchmarks, and looking at the percentage difference between the drives, we see they are nearly identical. In terms of real-world usage, you wouldn't see any tangible difference in how the drives perform. We see how the 32nm Toshiba NAND in the Wildfire and Max IOPS drives stacks up against the performance of the 25nm Intel MLC in the Pyro drives as well.
The read and write speeds in AS SSD are usually lower than other benchmarks since they use incompressible data, which limits the advantage available from the DuraWrite controller in Sandforce drives. The 4K-64 thread test in AS SSD is where we see the 60GB Pyro fall far behind the Wildfire and the Vertex 3 Max IOPS, but in the other benchmarks, it manages to hold its own quite well.