Skip to main content

Mushkin Expands SSD Lineup With 2TB, NVMe

Mushkin laid out the early 2017 SSD roadmap from start to finish at CES 2017. In it, we found a heavy dose of Silicon Motion, Inc. (SMI) controllers paired with current and next generation flash technology. The company's role in the foreseeable future is as a value-centric provider of quality components that meet both the performance and price demands of the entry-level and mainstream shoppers.

The sole NVMe product in the lineup comes with "Helix" branding. The drive will ship in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and eventually a massive 2TB model. Mushkin will take this SMI SM2260 model to production with Micron 3D MLC NAND flash to increase performance and endurance. The performance specifications show up to 2,600MB/s sequential read and 1,100 MB/s sequential writes. We expect pricing to be competitive with other SM2260 products coming to a congested mainstream NVMe market.

ProductsHelixReactor Armor3dReactorTriactor 3DTriactor
Capacities250GB - 2TB240GB - 1920GB250GB - 2TB256GB - 2TB120GB - 960GB
ControllerSMI SM2260SMI SM2258SMI SM2246ENSMI SM2258SMI SM2256
InterfacePCIe 3.0 x4SATA 6GbpsSATA 6GbpsSATA 6GbpsSATA 6Gbps
ProtocolNVMeAHCIAHCIAHCIAHCI
NAND3D MLC3D MLCMLC3D TLCTLC
Sequential Read2.6 GB/s565 MB/s560 MB/s565 MB/s560 MB/s
Sequential Write1.1 GB/s525 MB/s460 MB/s520 MB/s515 MB/s
Random ReadUp To 232,000Up To 90,000Up To 76,000Up To 90,000Up To 87,000
Random WriteUp To 185,000Up To 90,000Up To 76,000Up To 90,000Up To 87,000

Two existing SATA-based products will receive capacity updates in 2017. The first is the Reactor that we are so fond of in 1TB. The updated model will move the needle to 2TB but still retain a similar price-to-capacity ratio. The Reactor is based on an aging SM2246 controller but utilizes MLC NAND flash that doesn't require low-density parity check (LDPC) code to extent endurance.

The Triactor with the same SM2256 controller will move from 480GB to 960GB at the high end. This is a TLC model that costs less than the Reactor but leans on LDPC to increase endurance. For the most part, the Reactor and Triactor are simple capacity size expansions.

Two new products coming will take advantage of SMI's latest SM2258 controller and 3D flash. The Armor3d is the most exciting, with Micron 3D MLC, 565 MB/s sequential read performance, and a large overprovisioned 2TB capacity size. The overprovisioned space increases performance and should make up for many of the latency issues with first generation Micron 3D MLC.

The Triactor 3D with Micron 384Gbit 3D TLC will utilize the same SM2258 controller and a very large dose of programmed SLC to keep performance very close to the Armor3d. The advantage of this product is a lower price point, but at the expense of sustained write performance.

Mushkin has a well-balanced SSD product lineup going into 2017. We found a mix of new, newer, and newest technologies without a commensurate price increase.

  • nycalex
    still doesn't come close to samsung evo or pro nvme.
    considering the 960 evo 500gb @ $249, i wonder how they will price their nvme.

    Maybe $179.99 for the $500 would give consumers a budget way to get into nvme ssd.

    by the way, been running a 500gb samsung 960 pro nvme for 2 months now.

    compared to my regular samsung 850 evo, it offers nothing in REAL world applications. I mostly game with my system. And from a perspective of a gamer, it offers the same speed.

    My 960 pro benches @ 3300mb/s in crystal disk, yet i get same loading times as a regular SSD.
    It seems to me that noot a lot of software out there can take advantage of all the throughput of a NVME ssd.
    oh well, at least i get to brag that i got the fastest consumer SSD in the world.
    Reply
  • hdmark
    nycalex, do you notice improved boot times or ANYTHING different? or is it really just a performance boost for probably heavier programs such as cad/modeling/editing?
    hoping no real improvement cuase then i have no reason to get rid of my m550 anytime soon :D
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    @NYCalEX
    That is not suprising. Moving from a single SSD to a RAID0 SSD setup didn't help speed things up either. Simple fact of life is that there are very few things that rely on raw storage transfer speed.
    HDDs were so slow, and so small, for so long that EVERYTHING on the drive gets compressed somehow. This means that every game level, every texture, every everything needs to be moved into ram and then uncompressed before it can be used by the system. With HDDs this was not a big issue because it gave overall better system performance because the data would get off the disk faster and the CPU was generally 'fast enough' to keep up with what it was being fed.
    But moving from 80-120MB/s HDD speeds (and 20-50MB/s random speeds) of HDDs to 500MB/s transfer speeds of standard SSDs changes that a bit. The SSD spends most of its time now just sitting there while the CPU churns out and processes the data that it is being fed. Moving to drives that are even faster just means the drive sits around longer waiting for the next send request.

    This could be solved by removing the compression... but then you need much larger drives. A typical game today is some 50-100GB in size. Remove compression from that and things would bloat considerably to 200+GB, which means we would need very large drives in order to install more than one game. Plus, games are designed around consoles which have HDDs... which means that the old paradigm of compressed storage and unpacking it every time is still the best paradigm for them to design around.

    NVMe is still very handy for those who do lots of video editing or other tasks where there is lots of straight copying/reading/writing to the disk. But to run most programs and games there is little to no advantage as your CPU and GPU are the bottleneck. GPUs are at least improving quickly.... but we have not seen appreciable CPU improvements in almost 6 years now... so ya... don't expect NVMe to be a big help to performance any time soon. They are lower power, and they are smaller which makes them great for laptops, AND they have more direct system access which makes them more responsive than a typical AHCI SSD... but in general they are better for laptops than your typical desktop setup unless you have a truly monster of a build that does crazy work.
    Reply
  • JackNaylorPE
    19131935 said:
    @NYCalEX
    That is not suprising. Moving from a single SSD to a RAID0 SSD setup didn't help speed things up either. Simple fact of life is that there are very few things that rely on raw storage transfer speed.
    .

    So true ... our opinions on SSDs are based upon tests which have no impact on how we actually use computers. I have two cars, a small SUV and a Porsche 930. When I drive to work in the morning, I get to work the exact same time no matter which one I take. The way your PC works is kinda like a car during morning rush hour, stop and go, traffic. Certainly the Porsche can accelerate faster and is capable of higher speeds ... but that doesn't account for much when you rocket ahead for a few hundred yards and then spend the next 40 seconds waiting for the car in front of you to get outta the way so you can move again.

    a) Raw synthetics.... yes 100s of MB per seconds **would be** an important thing ... if anyone actually did that on a regular basis. Occasionally, in our SOHO, we wipe our backup drives as since deleted files accumulate over time and take up otherwise useful space. But even here with TBs of data to be read / written, it has no impact on what I do w/ my PC as I'm sleeping when this activity takes place at 3 am.

    b) Youtube videos showing stopwatches ticking away while they open 100 tabs in Chrome ... Other than that video, has anyone has ever actually done this.

    c) You only *see* a difference if you stare at a screen during say booting, you will notice a difference between a HD and SSD, You will however not notice the difference between an SSD and a SSHD. You won't notice if I swap out your super-duper benchmark topping SSDS with an economy model because the difference in everyday tasks is inconsequential.

    No legal secretary ever got an additional brief typed in her workday, no CAD operator ever finished another drawing and no gamer ever reached a further way point because they had an SSD. If a Fortune 500 company put SSDs in 10,000 customer service PCs not one extra phone call would be handled in any given day. Expecting a productivity increase from an SSD is like expecting a baseball game to go faster when the pitcher (all other stats being equal) throws a 98 mph fastball instead of 90 mph. The difference is just insignificant as it's miniscule compared the time between pitches.

    There are applications which do benefit in a production environment such as a video editing / or rendering workstation. CAD workstations not so much as opening an 8 MB file takes the same amount of time regardless of where it's stored.

    We ran blind testing with 5 users on a desktop (SSD / SSHD and HD) and 1 user reported that the HD boot "seemed" longer on one occasion after several weeks of testing. in the laptop test (SSD + HD vs. SSHD), none of the 5 users noticed anything. Now I'd bet if we told them what was done and when they were using what, they would find differences by focusing on what might be different, but in the course or normal usage, they didn't notice.

    How fast windows boots for example just doesn't come into play when the daily routine after pushing the start button is checking voice mails, inbox on ya desk, taking off jacket, getting coffee, not to mention discussion of last night's game or what was on talk-radio that morning, etc. Professional Servcies Management Journal studied blue and white collar workers and recorded how much time in an 8 hour day they spend actually "working" ... for blue collar it was 55% ... for white collar it was 35%.... an SSD is not going to have much of an effect on that.

    How fast a file opens doesn't come into play when a typist is reading the red markups from the boss on the paper copy he marked up while that program / file is loading. When I load Witcher 3, the marginal 2 second advantage that the SSD has over the SSHD, is lost because I am selecting my playlist, opening my inventory spreadsheets for items I have collected / need, opening several W3 links which I use as a source on info, etc, that the difference just doesn't impact me in any way.

    Outside of "bragging rights", having a faster SSD has little impact on 99% of users because the bottleneck on must systems is the user.

    Reply
  • alidan
    19131199 said:
    still doesn't come close to samsung evo or pro nvme.
    considering the 960 evo 500gb @ $249, i wonder how they will price their nvme.

    Maybe $179.99 for the $500 would give consumers a budget way to get into nvme ssd.

    by the way, been running a 500gb samsung 960 pro nvme for 2 months now.

    compared to my regular samsung 850 evo, it offers nothing in REAL world applications. I mostly game with my system. And from a perspective of a gamer, it offers the same speed.

    My 960 pro benches @ 3300mb/s in crystal disk, yet i get same loading times as a regular SSD.
    It seems to me that noot a lot of software out there can take advantage of all the throughput of a NVME ssd.
    oh well, at least i get to brag that i got the fastest consumer SSD in the world.

    you hit a parody point somewhere around 300-400mb read where nothing really benefits from more outside of things like video work or the rare programs. its one of the reasons that I want toms to add in a hdd and now a sata ssd to the ssd real world performance portions.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    @JACKNAYLORPE
    lol, I thought I was long winded. I think you just won a Pulitzer on that post you just did :D

    @Toms Hardware
    Would love to see real world benchmarks on some of these SSDs! Granted, it may cause you to catch SSD makers with their pants down and they won't send you free stuff to test anymore... that may be bad.

    Ironically, even knowing that there is no practical difference, I still want an NVMe SSD in my next build. Perhaps not one that costs an arm and a leg... but I like the idea that I can build a tiny little performance machine that is no larger than a PSU, Mobo, GPU, and a tower cooler. Having something so small, so compact, and with so few wires would be slick. Certainly smaller than my Cosmos case I am currently using!
    Going forward I want a big hefty home server, and all of the end-user devices to be as small and quiet as possible... minus the displays which should be 4K and as large as possible!
    Reply
  • CRamseyer
    You guys are missing some of the big picture. SATA SSDs are about to become fairly slow. We've already seen a few DRAMless drives come to market and more are on the way.

    Also, we do performance tests with real world software and show the performance with real world software. I also have a new test for the next review that measures latency in real world software.
    Reply