Back at CES 2019, Mushkin unveiled a new M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD in the Helix-L. The new SSD promised NVMe level performance and a reasonable price point, though at the time pricing was not available. Today they have announced availability as well as pricing with the 1TB model coming in at $120, 500GB is $63, while the 250GB drive is $43. The drives are said to reach speeds up to 2110 MB/s reads and 1700 MB/s writes (1TB model) offering users much faster than SATA performance at closer to SATA pricing.
The Helix-L uses the Silicon Motion SM2263XT controller, SLC caching and Host Memory Buffer (HMB) technology instead of an integrated DRAM cache. In a nutshell, HMB technology uses system memory to cache the translation table instead of using the more costly (and better performing) DRAM cache. This allows companies to save money and offer a less expensive, though typically slower, NVMe based storage.
Speeds on the smaller capacity drives are a bit slower on reads with writes taking the more notable performance hit (as per usual). The 250GB model is rated at 2010/1250 MB/s (R/W) with the 500GB model reaching 2105/1670 MB/s. IOPS reach up to 240,000/260,000 IOPS on the 500GB and 1TB models while the 250GB is slower on reads but features the same write IOPS at 200,000/260,000 respectively. A more detailed specifications table for each capacity is below.
|Product||250GB||512 GB||1 TB|
|Controller||Silicon Motion SM2263XT|
|Interface||PCIe 3.0 x4 / NVMe|
|Sequential Read||2,010 MB/s||2,105 MB/s||2,110 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||1,250 MB/s||1,670 MB/s||1,700 MB/s|
|4K Random Read||200,000 IOPS||240,000 IOPS||240,000 IOPS|
|4K Random Write||260,000 IOPS||260,000 IOPS||260,000 IOPS|
|Endurance||150 TBW||300 TBW||600 TBW|
|MTTF (Mean Time To Failure - Hours)||1,500,000|
Other features on the Helix-L include Mushkin’s M.E.D.S data protection suite which has built-in LDPC ECC, data shaping for increased endurance, global wear leveling to even program/erase counts, and NVMe deallocate functionality (essentially TRIM for an NVMe drive). Mushkin’s MTBF on the Helix-L is 1.5 million hours with up to 600TB TBW (on the 1TB drive) while being backed by a three-year warranty.
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Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.