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Mushkin Reactor 256GB SSD Review

Mushkin's Reactor SSDs sell for very low prices online, and the 1TB model is one of our top value picks. Is the 256GB model as good of a value? We answer that today.


After looking at the test results, you may discard the Reactor and consider it a poor product. The 256GB model doesn't have the same value as the two larger-capacity models, failing to offer mainstream performance at an entry-level price. But we do see some potential here.

The low queue depth random performance hurts the Reactor 256GB's value as an operating system drive, but the high sequential performance, especially compared to most TLC-based drives, gives this model life as secondary storage to install games on. Mushkin billed the Reactor as a model designed for gamers, and that user group will benefit the most from MLC over TLC with SLC cache. When you install games that are now up to 50+ GB in size, you want the high sustained-sequential-write speed and not a tiny buffer that quickly falls to less than HDD levels.

Further saving the Reactor is the fact that most new low-cost SSDs will ship with TLC. The longer Mushkin keeps this model around, the better it will look for the target audience. Micron and Toshiba are not planning to build quad-plane TLC flash, so anything using TLC from either company will find lower than HDD sequential-write performance. Samsung, on the other hand, has a real gem with the 850 EVO. It's the drive all others must undercut on price in order to compete today.

As it sits right now, both the Reactor 256GB and the 850 EVO 250GB sit right at $90. That's a bad place for the Reactor 256GB and again shows how Samsung is turning the screws on other SSD manufacturers. For the Reactor 256GB to compete with entry-level drives, like Mushkin does with the larger-capacity versions, the price needs to first get into entry-level territory.

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Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Storage. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. 

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Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.