It’s been quite some time since we had a Mushkin SSD laid bare on our testbench, but the company hasn’t been sitting on its laurels since we gave the Reactor 1 TB our hearty recommendation. At CES this year, the company had a whole arsenal of drives on display.
Let’s start with the low end. The Source 2, as you might expect, is a new and improved version of Mushkin’s Source SSD, which was the company’s first 3D TLC drive. The Source 2 makes the upgrade to Micron’s latest 96-layer 3D TLC flash and Silicon Motion’s SM2258XT controller, but it’s still a budget-oriented, DRAM-less drive. The Source 2 will be available in capacities as small as 120 GB and as large as 1 TB, with the quickest versions hitting 560 MB/s sequential reads and 520 MB/s sequential writes. Random reads clock up to 78K IOps, and random writes up to 81K. Not very groundbreaking, perhaps, but the world needs entry-level SATA SSDs.
Next up are a pair of PCIe x4, NVMe drives: the Helix-L and Pilot-E. Early versions of these M.2 gumsticks were spotted last year at CES, but it seems the two have reached their final forms, and launch is nigh. The Helix-L is sort of a gussied-up Source 2, similarly packing 96-layer 3D NAND and omitting a DRAM cache. Silicon Motion’s SM2263XT runs the show. It will come in 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB versions, the largest of which will stretch to 1710 MB/s sequential reads and 1500 MB/s sequential writes. On the random side, reads will peak at 235K IOps and writes at 272K IOps.
The Pilot-E is the most exciting of Mushkin’s internal drives, without question. It’s essentially the same as the existing Pilot drive, but upgraded to Silicon Motion’s SM2262EN from the SM2262. On paper, the old Pilot was similar to Adata’s excellent XPG SX8200, so releasing an upgraded follow-up is just fine in our book. The top-end Pilot-L will be a whopping 2 TB unit that reaches sequential read speeds of 3300 MB/s and write speeds of 2480 MB/s. Random reads will scale up 369K IOps, with writes going just a bit further to 377K IOps.
Finally, Mushkin brought a duo of detachable data devices, the Carbon X100 and Carbon Z100 external SSDs. The company didn’t share exact specs with us, but the X100 is a USB 3.1 Gen2 SSD that will allegedly deliver symmetric 1000 MB/s sequential read and write rates. The Z100 is an aluminum-clad, Thunderbolt 3 affair that promises to be even faster. From what we’ve seen other companies produce in terms of high-speed external SSDs, we wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the X100 and Z100 are just Helix-L and Pilot-E drives strapped to bridge controllers and tucked away into enclosures. Stay tuned for launch dates and target prices as we get our hands on them.