Mushkin launches a full suite of M.2 SSDs

SSDs using the NVMe protocol have been slowly gaining ground on traditional SATA SSDs. While the first NVMe SSDs launched in 2015 (Intel SSD 750 and Samsung 950 Pro), 2017 was the year when the competition became serious, and 2018 will continue that trend with even more offerings from all the major players. Mushkin hasn't offered any NVMe drives until now, but the company is looking to change that with a full suite of models.

Starting at the top, the new Mushkin Pilot-E drives will use the Silicon Motion SM2262EN controller, with capacities ranging from 250GB to 2TB. The drives use TLC 3D NAND, though the specific brand isn't given, and boast read/write speeds of up to 3.5/3.0GB/s and 370K/300K IOPS for random IO. The drives come in an M.2 form factor with a 3-year warranty, with pricing and availability yet to be determined. Mushkin states that the warranty uses standard Jedec measurements but neglects to give a specific TBW (Total Bytes Written) values.

One step down is the Pilot line of M.2 drives, which appear to be similar in most areas to the Pilot-E, only with the Silicon Motion SM2262 (SM2262G based on the image) controller. The Pilot line will range in capacity from 120GB to 2TB, uses TLC 3D NAND, and boasts read/write speeds of up to 3.2/1.9GB/s and 370K/300K random IOPS. It's not clear if the small difference in performance from the Pilot-E is due to the controller, the specific type of NAND, or some other factor. These drives also come with a 3-year warranty.

Third is the Helix-L M.2 line, which goes after the budget NVMe crowd. Again, the drives use TLC 3D NAND, this time with the SM2263XT controller. The Helix-L line will also be DRAM-less and will leverage NVMe's Host Memory Buffer feature to keep performance high. Capacities range from 120GB to 1TB, with read/write speeds of up to 2.4/1.7GB/s and 280K/250K IOPS. As with the other models, these carry a 3-year warranty, with pricing and availability information coming closer to launch.

On a slightly different note, Mushkin will also have new Triactor 3DL SSDs. These also use the M.2 2280 form factor, only with a SATA interface instead of x4 PCIe. Pricing and performance will both be lower than the NVMe drives, with capacities of 120GB to 1TB and read/write speeds of up to 550/505MB/s and 73K/80K IOPS, along with a 3-year warranty.

If any of this sounds similar to the Edge Memory SSD announcement yesterday, it's worth pointing out that both Mushkin and Edge Memory are owned by Avant Technology. The Edge NextGen drive appears to be virtually identical to the Pilot SSD, while the Pilot-E and Helix-L use slightly different configurations.

Jarred Walton

Jarred's love of computers dates back to the dark ages when his dad brought home a DOS 2.3 PC and he left his C-64 behind. He eventually built his first custom PC in 1990 with a 286 12MHz, only to discover it was already woefully outdated when Wing Commander was released a few months later. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Brigham Young University and has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.