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Mushkin just launched a fast and relatively affordable SSD series

Mushkin Pilot-E SSD
(Image credit: Mushkin)

It's still early, but so far in 2020 we have not seen SSD pricing shoot up to any alarming degree. Providing more reason to be optimistic, Mushkin's new Pilot-E series has landed on Amazon at affordable price points.

Affordable is relative, of course, but in this case, we're talking about $74.99 for the 500GB model and $249.99 for the 2TB model. There is also a 1TB model listed, but it's not in stock yet, and there is no mention of price.

Mushkin's new SSDs pair 3D triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash memory with a Silicon Motion 2262 controller. They ship in the M.2 form factor, leverage the PCI Express 3.0 bus (NVMe interface), and deliver more-than-respectable speeds for the money.

  • Pilot-E 2TB—3,500MB/s seq. read, 3,100MB/s seq. write
  • Pilot-E 1TB—3,500MB/s seq. read, 3,000MB/s seq. write
  • Pilot-E 500GB—3,500MB/s seq. read, 2,300MB/s seq. write

It does not get a whole lot faster until navigating the handful of PCIe 4.0 SSDs on the market, and for those drives, you need an X570 motherboard to take full advantage of their capabilities.

I'm happy to see Mushkin come out of the gate with relative aggressive pricing. Just a few weeks ago, multiple reports surfaced saying SSD pricing could shoot up this year due to rising costs of NAND flash memory chips. A power outage at one of Samsung's plants only added to the speculation.

"The demand performance of NAND Flash products exceeds off-season expectations, while supply growth appears to be conservative, and suppliers have reduced their inventories. Therefore, contract prices of NAND Flash products are expected to keep rising in 1Q20," TrendForce said in early January.

It could still happen, but hasn't so far. I also think these new Mushkin drives are a good sign of what to expect—not much in terms of price movement, which is a good thing.

Mushkin's pricing is generally on par with the competition. For example, this 2TB Adata XPG SX8100 sells for $249.99, same as the 2TB Pilot-E, and has a slightly slower sequential write speed (3,000MB/s). The Pilot-E also boasts faster 4K random read and write speeds—up to 339,000 IOPs and 358,000 IOPs, respectively, versus 290,000 IOPs and 240,000 IOPs for the Adata model. So on paper, it's faster for the same money.

I imagine the 1TB model will be in stock soon, and probably priced somewhere around $149. Meanwhile, the other two are all available now. All three are backed by a three-year warranty.

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).