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Mushkin Helix-L M.2 NVMe SSD Review: NVMe on a Budget

Low Price, Decent Perf

(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

It’s strange to look at all the high-performance NVMe SSDs out there and think that SATA used to be the limit. Even the cheapest NVMe SSDs are significantly faster than what the SATA 6Gbps interface can deliver. As an entry-level NVMe SSD, Mushkin’s Helix-L is a solid option.  

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

While it features a DRAMless architecture, Silicon Motion’s latest firmware and the new HMB feature seems to provide ample performance in most consumer workloads. Silicon Motion optimized 4K QD1 access on this controller config. When gaming, we saw load times that were up there with the best SSDs. When transferring files around, it even copied at a faster rate than the Kingston A2000, which features DRAM, while being much more power-efficient than that drive.

It's only when the Helix-L is stressed with heavy writes that it lags behind that of a SATA based SSD, though not by too much. When writing constantly to the device, it can absorb upwards of 137GB of data before it falls into a degraded state. Even then, write performance is significantly better than the Intel SSD 660p.

Overall, Mushkin’s Helix-L is a decent buy for those looking to save money while still getting a taste of NVMe speeds. It’s priced to sell and has a 3-year warranty. Although it lacks any software or accessories, with competitive prices and Samsung 970 EVO Plus-like endurance, the Helix-L offers a lot of bang for the buck.

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  • Nitromon
    I think most people focus too much on the performance comparison, which in my opinion if they're within range should all be the same, especially if you're upgrading from a 5400 rpm HDD. What I found most impressive about this NVMe is the power consumption and efficiency. I like to know if anyone can add, this also factors into the heating?

    One of the drawbacks of NVMe when I was considering between that and a SATA was the power consumption and heating since I was getting it for a laptop. Most out there, such as Samsung, runs at 2.7-2.8A, or max at 9-10W!!! They can run up to 85-90*C.

    The specs for this Mushkin Helix L is max active at 4.5W, or 1.36A. That is 1/2 the power usage of most other NVMe. But if this review is accurate, at least in the test of the 50GB transfer, it was only 3.72W or 1.127A!! That's amazing! And at a average consumption of 2.15W, that's 0.65A. I have a mSATA right now rated at 0.65A and it doesn't even heat up.
    Reply