Mushkin Reactor 512GB Solid State Drive Review

by - 6 years ago

«»

Introduction


mushkin_reactor_512gb-photo-angle one

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.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-photo-top

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.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-photo-bottom

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.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-photo-side

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_reactor_512gb-photo-connector

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.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Photo-inside out

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

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Photo-pcb 1

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

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Photo-pcb 2

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.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-photo-box front

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_reactor_512gb-photo-box rear

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Testing & Methodology


Hardware

Software

  • AIDA64 Storage Benchmark
  • Anvil’s Storage Utilities
  • AS SSD Benchmark
  • ATTO Benchmark
  • CrystalDiskMark
  • IOMeter
  • PCMark 8 Storage Benchmark

In a bid to make our testing as thorough and as accurate as possible, we have devised a testing methodology to give us the maximum amount of data. Whilst this means that testing each drive will take considerably longer to test – nearly 36 hours – the picture that we are able to build upon the overall performance of each drive is far clearer and it provides a more accurate analysis at how a drive performs under different conditions.

There are many ways to test a storage drive and we have chosen to include close to every test possible. We will start with a normal benchmark analysis of the formatted drive with various fillage scenarios. Depending on how a drive is built, it might perform differently depending on how much data it already is storing. To test this, the drive will be tested empty as well as with 25%, 50%, and 75% space usage. For these tests, we will be using Anvil’s Storage Utilities, AS SSD Benchmark, ATTO Benchmark, and CrystalDiskMark. Besides these synthetic fill tests, the drive will also be tested with PCMark 8’s storage benchmark in order to get real-world performance results.

Following the fillage tests, the partition will be removed and we test the drive’s raw performance. These tests will determine the hardware’s capabilities while removing any interference from the set file system. AIDA64’s storage benchmark, IOmeter, and HD Tach are all great tools for this and they help us paint an even clearer picture of the drive.

Durability is also a factor when it comes to NAND-based drives as the chips only can be rewritten so many times before they’ll stop working properly. Modern SSDs come with wear-level algorithms to increase the lifetime and reduce this factor as much as possible. We also take this into consideration in our reviews, but real-world conditions would take years to complete. Luckily Anvil’s Storage Utilities comes with an endurance test to simulate this. It is considerably faster, but it is still a process that can take up to three days where we’ll write up to 15 TB data to the drive in the form of thousands and thousands of small files in various sizes and compressibility.

Following the conditioning process, all of the previous benchmarks will be run again in the same scenarios and order. This will give us a great view on how a drive will perform after 3 years of usage and that is a very relevant factor.

Modern operating systems all take care of the TRIM command in the background and it isn’t something normal users need to worry about. However, For these reviews, I will add a waiting period between each benchmark to make sure that the TRIM command has been fully executed and finished. We want a clear picture of the drives performance with minimal interference from the operating system.

On each page that follows with the benchmark results, I have inserted the screenshots from the benchmark results, created a drive analysis chart for fill-level as well as a drive comparison chart for each software used, where possible.

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

AIDA64


AIDA64 is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. It provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring.

It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives and is compatible with most Microsoft Windows operating systems. It also has a disk benchmark tool, and that is the one I’ll be using.

Fresh Drive

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-aida suite

The Linear Read and Write tests measure the sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It gives, as the name says, a linear view of the drives overall performance from start to end.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-aida read linear

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-aida write linear

The Random Read and Write tests measure the random performance by reading or writing variable-sized data blocks at random locations on the surface of the drive. The Random tests are actually a combination of both speed and access times as it moves the position before each new operation.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-aida read random

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-aida write random

The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading or writing small 0.5KB data blocks at random locations on the drive surface.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-aida read access

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-aida write access

Conditioned Drive

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-aida suite

The Linear Read and Write tests measure the sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any. It gives, as the name says, a linear view of the drives overall performance from start to end.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-aida read linear

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-aida write linear

The Random Read and Write tests measure the random performance by reading or writing variable-sized data blocks at random locations on the surface of the drive. The Random tests are actually a combination of both speed and access times as it moves the position before each new operation.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-aida read random

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-aida write random

The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading or writing small 0.5KB data blocks at random locations on the drive surface.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-aida read access

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-aida write access

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Anvil’s Storage Utilities


Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a new benchmarking utility that we have started using here at eTeknix, it’s completely free to download and has the ability to test mainly hard drives and solid state drives, but also any other form of storage medium that you can throw at it.

As well as testing the drive in a variety of benchmarking tests, it also has a drive endurance test that consistently reads and writes data to the selected medium to give days, months and potentially even years of use in a shorter period of time to see how the drive copes in the longer term.

Fresh Drive

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-anvils compr 75

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-anvils incompr 75

Conditioned Drive

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-anvils compr 75

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-anvils incompr 75

Drive Performance

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Chart-Anvils_compr

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Chart-Anvils_incompr

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-Anvils

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

AS SSD


The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system caches. In Sequential tests, the program measures the time it takes to read and write a 1 GB file respectively. To give a clearer picture of the drives tested, I’ve chosen to include all tests. Special the copy test is one that I think is relevant on the consumer level as it gives the user a view into one of the operations he’s going to do many times.

Fresh Drive

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-asssd_combined

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-asssd compr

Conditioned

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-asssd_combined

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-asssd compr

Drive Performance

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Chart-ASSSD_seq

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Chart-ASSSD_ran

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-ASSSD_seq

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-ASSSD_ran

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

ATTO


The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

Fresh Drive

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-atto 75

Conditioned

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-atto 75

Drive Performance

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Chart-ATTO

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-ATTO

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

CrystalDiskMark


CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random 4KB/512KB read/write speeds.

Fresh Drive

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-cdm 75

Conditioned

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-cdm 75

Drive Performance

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Chart-CDM

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-CDM_seq

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-CDM_ran

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

IOmeter & PCMark 8


IOmeter

OMeter is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. It is used as a benchmark and troubleshooting tool and is easily configured to replicate the behavior of many popular applications. One commonly quoted measurement provided by the tool is IOPS.

IOMeter allows the configuration of disk parameters such as the ‘Maximum Disk Size’, ‘Starting Disk Sector’ and ‘# of Outstanding I/Os’. This allows a user to configure a test file upon which the ‘Access Specifications’ configure the I/O types to the file. Configurable items within the Access Specifications are Transfer Request Size, Percent Random/Sequential distribution, Percent Read/Write Distribution, Aligned I/O’s, Reply Size, and TCP/IP status among others.

Sequential Performance

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Chart-iometer seq

Random 4K Performance

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Chart-iometer ran

Drive Comparison

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-IOmeter_seq

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-IOmeter_ran

PCMark 8


PCMark 8 Storage benchmark is used test the performance of SSDs, HDDs and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games. You can test any recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

Fresh Drive

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchNew-pcmark

Conditioned Drive

mushkin_reactor_512gb-BenchCondi-pcmark

Drive Comparison

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-PCmark_score

mushkin_reactor_512gb-ChartComp-PCmark_bandwidth

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Final Thoughts


Pricing

At the time of writing, the Mushkin Reactor 512GB solid state drive can be yours for $169.99 at NewEgg, £142.62 at LambdaTek, or starting from €164.90 through Geizhals.

mushkin_reactor_512gb-Chart-Price

Conclusion

When a company promises a good performance and a lot of capacity for a small price, I get sceptical and I’m sure that it’s the same for most of our readers. The Mushkin Reactor promises these things, and it keeps what it promises. We saw a drive that performed very well for its position as a mainstream drive without it costing a fortune.

Mushkin found a few corners to cut as we saw on the initial introduction page such as using the cheaper Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller as well a different SATA connector. Together with the overall drop in NAND prices, Mushkin is able to deliver a very competitive drive at a good price. We saw a sequential performance up to 555 MB/s reading and 456 MB/s writing which isn’t bad at all. The random performance was equally great with around 70K IOPS when reading and writing. We also saw a drive with an impressively steady performance during the fillage tests and also after the conditioning.

Feature wise we find all the basics including SMART, Trim, Garbage collection, and ECC functionality and the 7mm drive will fit well into most notebooks and ultrabooks as well as normal PCs. It doesn’t feature the newer DevSleep functionality to decrease the power consumption even further during sleep modes, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a great drive in a portable system anyway. It’s a very light SSD which is a great thing for a portable system.

It’s also worth noting that all Muskin’s SSDs are assembled in the US which is something that you’d think would increase the costs over those assembled overseas at cheaper rates, but that’s not the case. The drives are very competitive in their pricing and you get a nice 3-year warranty on top.

Pros

  • Good mainstream performance
  • Steady performance through all fillage tests
  • Same performance after conditioning of the drive
  • Cheap costs per GB storage
  • Available up to 1TB capacity

Cons

  • None

Neutral

  • No DevSleep feature
  • No SSD Toolbox or Software

“Musking delivers a great performance to price ratio with their Reactor SSD series. The 512GB-sized model that I tested ran through all the benchmarks with great and steady results.”

Bang-For-Buck

Mushkin Reactor 512GB Solid State Drive Review

Thank you Mushkin for providing us with this sample.

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Testing & Methodology
  3. Aida64
  4. Anvil's Storage Utilities
  5. AS SSD
  6. ATTO
  7. CrystalDiskMark
  8. IOmeter & PCMark 8
  9. Final Thoughts
  10. View All

Author Bio

1 Comment on Mushkin Reactor 512GB Solid State Drive Review

  • Avatar Colin says:

    Great review. I just picked up a 1TB Reactor and couldn’t be happier.

    One bit of error: In the final thoughts you state: “It’s also worth noting that all Muskin’s SSDs are assembled in the US which is something that you’d think would increase the costs over those assembled overseas at cheaper rates, but that’s not the case.”

    This may have been the case in the past but the drive clearly states: “Hecho en Mexico” – Translated from Spanish: Made in Mexico. The company website only states the products are: “Engineered in the USA.” Now this could explain why the earliest reviews of the Reactor had a green PCB and used Micron NAND and a Samsung DRAM vs. blue PCB, Sandisk NAND and Nanya DRAM in this review.

    Thanks

Related Posts

0 SHARES

0 SHARES

0 SHARES

0 SHARES

0 SHARES

0 SHARES