Mushkin Reactor 512GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


After I recently had a look at Mushkin’s Striker SSD, it is now time to take a closer look at the Mushkin Reactor SSD and that’s just what I am doing in today’s review. Mushkin’s Reactor solid state drive promises simultaneous capacity and performance while also keeping the initial costs of purchase in the mainstream spectrum. The Reactor drive is available in three capacities from 256GB to 1TB, but I’m taking a closer look at the 512GB model today.

The Mushkin Reactor is a basic mainstream drive that will be a great solution in any workstation system or gaming rig. It is built around the Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller which is a little cheaper than the Phison S10 for example. In return, we get a drive that is cheaper to purchase. It still delivers a great performance thanks to the use of MLC NAND and it is rated for sequential operations up to 560MB/s reading and 460MB/s writing. The random access performance isn’t bad at all either and the drive comes with a rating of up to 71K IOPS reading and up to 75K IOPS writing.

With solid performance figures like these, the Reactor drive has no reason to hide behind any other competing drives. Capacity wise you got three options in this series where the 512GB model that I’m having a look at today is right in the middle. There’s also a smaller version with 256GB capacity and the larger model with 1TB capacity. That’s a lot of fast storage at an affordable price thanks to clever hardware choices.

The drive has a couple features less than the Mushkin Striker SSD that I recently reviewed, but the basics are well covered on this drive too. The Reactor has the basic S.M.A.R.T. and Trim features as well as early weak block retirement, DataRefresh, and built-in BCH ECC with up to 66 bits per 1kb. The only thing that could be considered missing is DevSleep and that’s only really relevant for notebook users anyway.

Just because the Reactor drive doesn’t have the DevSleep feature doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a great upgrade for any notebook, laptop, or ultrabook out there. The 7mm height and default 2.5-inch form factor makes the upgrade quick and easy in either case. The Reactor is also a light drive and that’s something everyone can appreciate for their portable devices. You don’t want to carry any more weight with you than absolutely necessary.

The SATA power and data connectors are default in the sense of pin connectors, as it should be, but they are also another place where Mushkin managed to save a little in order to provide you with a better-priced drive. The connectors are almost transparent when you shine a light on them, but they still appear to be an equal quality when compared to conventional connectors stability.

Mushkin’s Reactor SSD is one of the few drives these days that’s still assembled with screws, which makes my life a lot easier when showing you what the drive looks like on the inside. The enclosure itself is put together with four screws and the PCB is also secured to the case with four screws. In the photo below we also see the thermal transfer pad located on the controller that connects to the chassis. This effectively turns the entire drive into a heatsink and it’s something we’ve seen quite often in other drives because it simply works well.

Having a closer look, we see the Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller next to eight NAND chips from SanDisk.

The other side of the PCB has another eight NAND chips and a Nanya RAM chip as a cache buffer.

Feature Highlights

  • Capacity and Performance
  • Optimal Data Flow: Optimized for dependable and reliable data flow
  • TRIM Support when used with compatible operating system
  • Shock-Resistant: Designed for continued reliable function
  • 3 Year Warranty: Quality guaranteed

Specifications

  • Capacity: 512GB
  • Dimensions: 7mm X 69.85mm X 100.5mm
  • Performance: Up to 560MB/sec (Read) / Up to 460MB/sec (Write)
  • IOPS: Up to 71,000 IOPS (Read) / Up to 75,000 IOPS (Write)
  • MTBF: 1,500,000 hours
  • Controller: Silicon Motion SM2246EN
  • Interface Type: SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s) interface (backwards compatible with SATA 2.0 (3Gb/s) and SATA 1.0 (1.5Gb/s))
  • Temperature Range: 0-70°C
  • Warranty: 3 years limited

Packaging

The Mushkin Reactor comes in a simple blister package that showcases the included drive itself.

It is surrounded by a simple inlay that also shows the drive’s main features on the rear. Other than that, there isn’t much to the package.

Mushkin Expands the REACTOR SSD Series

Mushkin has announced the expansion of their REACTOR SSD line-up in recognition that not every user needs the same amount of storage. The REACTOR SSD was launched as a 1TB version which might be too much for some people, both storage-wise and certainly on the price point. Now Mushkin has added a 256GB and a 512GB version to the series for just those people.

The Mushkin REACTOR SSD is built around a Silicon Motion SM2246EN SSD controller and it is rated with transfer speeds of up to 560MB/s reading and 460MB/s writing in sequential tests. The random 4K figures look equally great with a performance of 74K IOPS read and 76K IOPS write.

Mushkin is an American company that both develops and manufactures their products in-country, so it’s no surprise that this is where the drives will be available first. American customers and fans can also get a little bonus at the moment as Mushkin launched a new campaign together with NewEgg for a bonus on your purchase as well as a sweepstake for a complete gaming system.

 

To celebrate this launch of these two new REACTOR capacities, Mushkin launched a campaign with NewEgg where you’ll get a $30 Ghost Recon Phantoms voucher with the purchase of participating Mushkin products and as long as supply lasts. Starting May 1, 2015, gaming fans can also enter the Ghost Recon Phantoms Sweepstakes for a chance to win up a custom-built Mushkin Extreme Gaming PC and much more.

Corsair Force LX 256GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Corsair is known to provide us with a wide spectrum of Solid State Drives and we have already tested many of them in the past. Now the time has come for their newest entry level and budget drive in the Force family; the Corsair Force LX 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD).

There isn’t really any computer anywhere in the world that wouldn’t benefit from an upgrade of a solid state drive. You don’t need to have a brand new and high-end system to gain the benefits, even older system will benefit greatly in performance from such an upgrade. On top of that, it is one of the simplest and cheapest upgrades you can do. Solid state drive prices are dropping lower and lower all the time while the performance figures keep rising.

Corsair is trying a lot of new controllers since they moved away from the now out-dated SandForce controllers, and this drive is using a Silicon Motion controller. As comparison, their high-end and mainstream drives use the LAMD controller now. This drive also features Micron 20 nm MLC flash, and those two together should show us some stable figures.

Being a Corsair Drive it comes bundled with the Corsair SSD Toolbox; a collection of useful tools and information-readouts about your solid state drive. While other drives in your system will show up in the tool, the core functions are restricted to Corsair disks, as to be expected. But that is OK, as each company provide tools for the important things in one way or another.

The Corsair SSD Toolbox has a very simple interface and doesn’t look to fancy. This is a great thing for a tool like that. You can read out all the basic drive information like firmware, size and raid setup. It also allows you to update the firmware of the drive, a thing that has gotten easier since we’ve put the SandForce controllers behind us. It’s to be noted that for drives released prior to the Force3 series , they need their own independent tools.

Corsair have also switched to making drives without over-provisioning, they have however given the users the option to do this themselves if they wish to. This can of course also be done via the SSD Toolbox. It also has a page for all the S.M.A.R.T. information and a cloning tool to duplicate your old system disk onto a brand new high speed SSD.

On user request they have also added a feature for manual and scheduled TRIM functions for garbage cleaning. The final function of the Toolbox is the secure wipe function, one that is great to have directly there instead of having to boot into a separate Unix/Linux system to do so.