Now that Intel is finally embracing PCI Express 4.0 support on the desktop (with Rocket Lake), as its rival AMD has done since Zen 2, there is sufficient motivation for SSD makers to push the envelope, in terms of raw speed. Enter Mushkin, which joins a select group of companies now offering a PCIe 4.0 SSD line rated to hit read speeds north of 7GB/s.
More specifically, Mushkin's new Gamma SSDs swing for the fences with up to 7,175MB/s of sequential read performance and up to 6,800MB/s of sequential write performance. That's according to Mushkin's rated specifications—we have not tested its latest SSD line, so how actual performance compares with advertised specs remains to be seen.
There is reason to be optimistic, though. The Gamma series is powered by Phison's flagship E18 controller. It's a beastly controller that supports max read and write speeds of up to 7,400MB/s and 7,000MB/s, respectively, along with capacities of up to 8TB.
The Gamma series gets close to tapping the controller's full speed capabilities, which itself is not far off from saturating the PCIe 4.0 x4 bus that today's fastest SSDs leverage—the theoretical maximum bandwidth (not accounting for losses due to overhead and other factors) is 8,000MB/s.
Be that as it may, the Gamma line is not actually the fastest rated SSD family out there, or even the second fastest. Here's where it lands among the competition:
- PNY XLR8 CS3140—7,500MB/s reads, 6,850MB/s writes
- Adata XPG Gammix S70—7,400MB/s reads, 6,400MB/s writes
- Mushkin Gamma—7,175MB/s reads, 6,800MB/s writes
- Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus—7,100MB/s reads, 6000MB/s writes
- Samsung 980 Pro—7,000MB/s reads, 5,000MB/s writes
We have not tested the faster rated SSDs either, so again, we can't speak to actual performance. Regardless, the Gamma finds itself in strong company among the best PCIe 4.0 SSDs for gaming. If the hierarchy of real world speeds ends up mimicking the advertised sorting, then the Gamma would be the third fastest SSD on the market, in both reads and writes.
Mushkin's offering the Gamma in two capacities initially: 2TB and 1TB. I've reached out to Mushkin for information on pricing and availability and will update this article when I hear back.
In related news, Mushkin also unveiled a presumably more affordable Delta line, offered in 4TB, 2TB, and 1TB capacities. While not rated to hit the same whiplash inducing speeds of the Gamma line, they're still performance oriented models, with up to 4,975MB/s of sequential read performance and up to 3,975MB/s of sequential write performance. To put all those numbers in perspective, the best performing SATA SSDs top out at around 550-580MB/s.
Both drive families carry a five-year warranty.