Mushkin Rolls Out Budget-Friendly M.2 Atlas Vital SSD

Mushkin has joined the ranks of SSD manufacturers offering M.2 SSDs. Mushkin designed the Atlas Vital for Ultrabooks, notebooks and small form factor SSDs, which is the standard fare for this type of drive. The 6 Gbps SATA Atlas Vital comes in the 2280 form factor, denoting that it measures 22 x 80 mm in length and width, and sports the oh-so-familiar SandForce SF-2000 series controller.

The trusty SandForce 2000-series controllers have been around for a long time, but they still manage to deliver enough performance for the majority of workloads. SF-2000 series controllers do not require DRAM, which is important in the M.2 space because it reduces the number of components on the PCB, thus leaving room for other components - such as more NAND. The lack of a DRAM buffer also helps insulate the SSD from data loss during unexpected power loss, and reduces cost and design complexity.

The Atlas Vital comes in capacities of 120, 240, 250, 480 and 500 GB and provides up to 86,000 4K random read IOPS. There is no indication of the random write performance, but we do know the SSD weighs in with 550/535 MBps of sequential read/write speed.

Mushkin is one of the few SSD manufacturers that actually packages its own NAND. The company receives NAND in wafers and cuts them down to size, and then packages the die for its SSDs. Many third-party SSD vendors are forced to buy pre-packaged NAND, which is costly and exposes them to supply and pricing turbulence. Mushkin indicated the Atlas employs MLC NAND, but it did not specify what type or from what vendor.

Previous generations of the Mushkin Atlas series featured mSATA designs, but quick industry adoption of the M.2 standard makes the inclusion of M.2 models inevitable for all SSD vendors. The Atlas Vital SSDs feature the 6 Gbps SATA interface, and for those in search of more performance, there isn't going to be a long wait. Mushkin has its Hyperion SSD waiting in the wings and already demoed prototypes at CES 2015. The Hyperion is built with a Phison E7-based PCIe 3.0 x4 controller, which pushes out up to 2.8/1.2 GBps sequential read/write speeds and up to 300,000 random IOPS.

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Mushkin Atlas Vital120 GB240 GB250 GB480 GB500 GB

The Atlas Vital is shipping now, and we have included the current pricing in the chart above. We caution readers that SSD pricing is volatile, and we encourage you to check prices over several days to find the best deal. The SSDs only come with a three-year warranty, which is common in the M.2 market.

Paul Alcorn is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Paul Alcorn
Deputy Managing Editor

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.

  • jaber2
    I am sorry I must have missed it, which part is Budget-Friendly?
  • Larry Litmanen
    I am sorry I must have missed it, which part is Budget-Friendly?

    $189 for a 500GB is pretty good, and prices tend to fall after a month or two.

    This is SSD, not HDD, it's all about that speed and you really do not need more that 250 GBs for OS and a few games.
  • Calculatron
    $110 for a 240gb SSD isn't bad.

    Call me when it's 2x PCIe, not SATA, though - just to sound like a snob.
  • tical2399
    Where the hell is the Mushkin Hyperion pci-e m.2 drive. Saw articles in January and haven't heard squat since.