Published on Monday, 11 April 2016 19:07
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NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory) based SSDs may be the "hottest" thing in the storage industry right now (at least since the very first PCIe based solutions appeared several years ago) but it will be long before they'll be able to compete with regular models in price/capacity especially now that prices have taken another dive (also thanks to their introduction). Even so however that may not be enough for some people to get their hands on a high-performance and high-capacity model so in an effort to further reduce cost (and thus make SSD technology available for even entry level casual consumers) manufacturers have started launching models using lower-cost and performance NAND flash controllers and modules. The latest TRIACTOR line of SSDs by Mushkin was designed and manufactured with high price/capacity ratio in mind and today we're taking a closer look at the 480GB variant (and we're actually among the very first people to do so).
For nearly 20 years, Mushkin has been dedicated to helping overclockers, gamers, IT managers, digital artists and mobile professionals enhance their computing experience by providing reliable, high-performance products. Mushkin products include a line of Flash Memory-based products and complete selection of memory upgrades for desktops, notebooks and servers. Since the company’s founding in 1994, Mushkin has received numerous awards and commendations for quality, reliability and technical excellence.
Much like quite a few other manufacturers (for example ADATA and their SP550 SSD model) for this particular line of SSDs Mushkin decided to pair the latest SM2256A NAND flash controller by Silicon Motion with 1ZNM 256Gbit TLC NAND flash by SanDisk and 256MB LPDDR DRAM by Nanya. The SM2256A controller includes a single 32-bit Argonaut RISC processor core (same as its predecessor the SM2246EN) which in turn features their NANDXtend ECC technology (LDPC & RAID5-like data recovery) and supports DevSleep (power save feature), TRIM (garbage collection), SATA v3.1, AES-256bit hardware encryption and TCG Opal 2.0. TLC may not be as good as MLC or the "premium" SLC NAND flash both in terms of performance and durability but since Mushkin states that the TRIACTOR has an MTBF of 2 million hours we're at least "safe" in terms of longevity. As for performance we've tested several SSDs in the past featuring controllers by Silicon Motion and although we'd like to see more we are well aware that their excellent support (Silicon Motion also provides the firmware and updates for their controllers) is the reason as to why many SSD manufacturers choose to trust them. With that out of the way let's move forward and see just how good the latest Triactor 480GB SSD by Mushkin really is.