A Closer Look
There isn't anything special about the retail package for this series. To shave costs as much as possible, Mushkin used a blister pack that only includes a show card for effect and the drive.
From the outside, the Reactor 256GB is just as unremarkable as the retail blister pack. It does use a 7mm Z-height design, so it fits in Ultrabooks and notebooks that require the slimmer design.
Upon first inspection, the Reactor looks like any other SSD. They are all pretty much the same from this angle, with little variation in layout and only component differences. The connector is special on the Reactor, though. Parent company Avant Technology designer Paul Goodwin is responsible for this change. The PCB is the SATA power and data connector. This saves on BOM (build of materials) costs and provides better signal integrity than a separate connector that needs to be soldered to the board.
Mushkin chose Silicon Motion's SM2246EN four-channel controller as the base of the Reactor. Silicon Motion allows companies to provide input on the firmware, so each company has something a bit different. Many of the existing products with this controller have been discontinued and replaced with new SMI SM2256 controllers and TLC NAND flash. That's what makes the Reactor 256GB special now. Mushkin doesn't plan to discontinue this product line anytime soon.
We are still on the fence about third-party NAND flash packaging, as it doesn't allow us to verify what flash is used. Mushkin tells us that it uses genuine Micron flash from wafers.