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Mushkin Delta 1TB SSD Review: Mediocrity Defined

The Mushkin Delta is a PCIe 4.0 drive with not much to offer.

Mushkin Delta 1TB SSD
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

The Delta is a rather uninspiring 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD that uses QLC to poor effect. There are better options available in almost every direction, although the Delta might be suitable for PS5 expansion at the right price.

Pros

  • +

    + Simple design

  • +

    + DRAM, with higher peaks than E12S-powered SSDs

Cons

  • -

    - Poor performance for a PCIe 4.0 drive

  • -

    - QLC is limiting, especially for write workloads

  • -

    - Spotty availability, especially at 4TB

  • -

    - Pricing is not compelling

  • -

    - Niche use even for console

Mushkin is an American company known for its memory products, including DRAM and SSDs, USB flash drives, and memory cards. Outside of the realm of enthusiasts, most of their existing drives aren't particularly well-known, though the Pilot-E was a popular choice at 2TB for some time because it traded blows with ADATA’s SX8200 Pro and the popular HP EX950. Mushkin’s upcoming Vortex also looks promising. 

As the naming convention suggests, the Mushkin Delta sits beside its Alpha and Gamma lines. All three use Phison SSD controllers, a popular source for controllers, with the Alpha using the popular E12S, the Delta coming with the faster E16, and the Gamma coming with the fastest E18. The Alpha and Delta use QLC flash that trades off endurance and performance for better capacity and cost, while the Gamma comes with TLC flash that's typically the faster alternative.

Phison was an early adopter of the PCIe 4.0 interface for AMD’s X570 chipset launch, and the E16 has found popularity recently. Prices for E16-powered SSDs have come down, and these drives have found new life as a suitable budget choice for the PlayStation 5, even when coupled with QLC flash. Many drives share this hardware, so if you’re someone who may be tempted to grab something similar, consider this more of a blanket review.

Specifications

Product1TB2TB4TB
Pricing $128.99 $248.25 $499.99
Capacity (User / Raw)1024GB2048GB4096GB
Form FactorM.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280
Interface / ProtocolPCIe 4.0 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 4.0 / NVMe 1.3PCIe 4.0 / NVMe 1.3
ControllerPhison PS5016-E16Phison PS5016-E16Phison PS5016-E16
DRAMDDR4DDR4DDR4
MemoryMicron 96L QLCMicron 96L QLCMicron 96L QLC
Sequential Read4,700 MBps4,975 MBps4,975 MBps
Sequential Write2,100 MBps3,750 MBps3,975 MBps
Random Read195,000 IOPS380,000 IOPS700,000 IOPS
Random Write510,000 IOPS650,000 IOPS650,000 IOPS
SecurityN/AN/AN/A
Endurance (TBW)200 TB400 TB800 TB
Part NumberMKNSSDDE1TB-D8MKNSSDDE2TB-D8MKNSSDDE4TB-D8
Warranty5-Year5-Year5-Year

The Mushkin Delta is rated for up to 4,975/3,975 MBps of sequential read/write throughput and up to 700K/650K random read/write IOPS. The drive comes in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB flavors, which is unsurprising as this drive is based on QLC flash. Availability for this drive is hit and miss at the moment, but you can find the smaller SKUs at around $0.12 a gigabyte. The 4TB’s MSRP is also around this range. Unfortunately, this price is higher than some competing products.

Endurance is also fairly typical for QLC flash — the drive can absorb 200 TB of data per TB of capacity. Most users will probably not write this much data, but the ratings are low for those expecting the typically high endurance that comes with Phison controllers. It’s nice to see a five-year warranty, though. Of course, drives from competitors should share these characteristics, so this is simply a baseline.

Software and Accessories

This drive comes packaged alone. You'll need to use free software to clone your existing drive.

A Closer Look

Image 1 of 3

Mushkin Delta 1TB SSD

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 3

Mushkin Delta 1TB SSD

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 3

Mushkin Delta 1TB SSD

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Mushkin Delta has a somewhat attractive top label, if that’s your thing, and the back one lists basic information such as the model number and capacity.

Image 1 of 2

Mushkin Delta 1TB SSD

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 2

Mushkin Delta 1TB SSD

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Here we have the venerable Phison PS5016-E16, or E16, SSD controller, which is ostensibly a mid-range PCIe 4.0 design. This controller leverages eight channels and supports DRAM. Entry-level designs will usually lack DRAM and have lower performance in sequential workloads due to the quad-channel design, while the higher-end options can push the interface's limits.

The SK hynix DDR4 DRAM is labeled H5AN4G8NBJR. The “4G8N” tells us these are 4Gb packages in an 8-bit configuration (512MB). As there is another package on the back, the total DRAM capacity weighs in at 1GB. This is surprisingly ample and good to see.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The flash is labeled IA5BG66AWA, so it's 96-layer Micron QLC. These are 1Tb dies, meaning the drive has two per package. So the drive has two packages on each side, for a total of four. This QLC was a bit of a last hurrah for Intel and Micron’s cooperation, and we’re beginning to see better QLC from all manufacturers, for example, Intel’s 144-layer flash in the 670p. We will see 176-layer QLC this year from Micron and Solidigm (Intel's newly-sold SSD business). 

MORE: Best SSDs

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

MORE: All SSD Content

Shane Downing
Shane Downing

Shane Downing is a Freelance Reviewer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering consumer storage hardware.

  • WrongRookie
    Blech...the design alone confirms that its a shallow drive with nothing better than even inland...

    I wanna see Asus take a step in on the SSD market. If gigabyte can do it, so can Asus.

    Meanwhile...there's Lexar who is atleast trying with RAM...wonder if they can pull in the SSD market...
    Reply
  • peachpuff
    Go home mushkin, you're drunk.
    Reply
  • 1_rick
    "As the naming convention suggests, the Mushkin Delta falls between its Alpha and Gamma lines. "

    LOL no: Greek alphabet - Wikipedia
    Edit: I get that Mushkin's naming convention works that way, but the Greek alphabet doesn't.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    So the SK Hynix Gold P31 1TB is not only faster and more efficient, it's also $20 cheaper...Remind me again why TomsHardware doesn't include this drive as a gold standard mainstream PCIe 3.0 based NVMe drive for comparison for PCIe 4.0 based NVMe drive review charts?

    1TB Performance Results for SK hynix Gold P31 - SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: High-Performance, Unprecedented Efficiency (Updated) | Tom's Hardware (tomshardware.com)
    Reply
  • WrongRookie
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    So the SK Hynix Gold P31 1TB is not only faster and more efficient, it's also $20 cheaper...Remind me again why TomsHardware doesn't include this drive as a gold standard mainstream PCIe 3.0 based NVMe drive for comparison for PCIe 4.0 based NVMe drive review charts?

    1TB Performance Results for SK hynix Gold P31 - SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 NVMe SSD Review: High-Performance, Unprecedented Efficiency (Updated) | Tom's Hardware (tomshardware.com)

    Maybe because that drive isn't available elsewhere? I can't find this one in my local area.

    And maybe this is just me...but I guess they want to strictly make it as a 4.0 thing more so than a 3.0 one.

    Still agree that you have loads of options than with the mushkin one...
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    WrongRookie said:
    Maybe because that drive isn't available elsewhere? I can't find this one in my local area.

    And maybe this is just me...but I guess they want to strictly make it as a 4.0 thing more so than a 3.0 one.

    Still agree that you have loads of options than with the mushkin one...

    Except Amazon and Newegg...
    Reply
  • WrongRookie
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    Except Amazon and Newegg...

    I was referring to being available internationally. I'm not from US and from my amazon search engine...its not available.
    Reply