Most storage news right now revolves around falling SSD prices but there are a number of new low-cost products coming to market. Just last week we tested the Inland Professional SATA III sold by MicroCenter that sells for just $75 (480GB). This week we look at the Mushkin Source, a Silicon Motion, Inc.-based (SMI) SSD using the latest 3D flash memory technology.
Mushkin announced the Source series not long after CES this past January. The company moved to a full lineup comprised of SMI controllers with the NVMe Pilot series at the top and the Source on the very bottom.
The drive uses a DRAMless architecture, like the Inland Professional SATA III and several other very low-cost models entering the market. These products are a little different from the planar flash DRAMless SSDs we dogged in articles over the previous two years. 3D flash improves performance, and of more concern, endurance. Still, this class of SSD is in a lower product tier compared to mainstream SSDs that often cost just a little more.
Mushkin brings the Source to market in the typical four sizes that range from 120GB to 1TB. This series does come in two form factors, 2.5-inch and M.2 2280, both using the SATA III interface.
The sequential read performance for the three largest sizes is 560 MB/s and that dips to 510 MB/s for the 120GB model. The sequential write speeds all surpass 515 MB/s for all of the 120GB that writes large block size data at 440 MB/s. The random read performance takes a step down with each size but starts out at a brisk 78,000 IOPS for the 1TB Source. The 250GB gets a 54,000 IOPS rating but the 120GB lets that drop to just 29,000 IOPS. Random write performance stays fairly constant thanks to the SLC buffer. Mushkin claims between 81,000 and 79,000 depending on the capacity.
Mushkin tapped the SMI SM2258XT controller for the Source series. This is a low-cost DRAMless controller often found in entry-level SSDs and products designed for low write environments. Mushkin packaged its own flash using Micron 64-layer 3D TLC memory.
Pricing, Warranty, And Endurance
Prices start at just $35. That is an amazing entry-point for any modern SSD. The 250GB drive moves the needle to $56 and the 500GB costs $105. The large 1TB Source SSD comes in at just under $200. Mushkin backs the series with a 3-year limited warranty. The warranty covers 50 TBW for every 128GB of raw flash. The 1TB drive comes with 400 TBW and the rating simply cuts in half with each step down the capacity ladder.
A Closer Look
The Mushkin Source is a basic SSD design with little flair. It does use a metal case instead of a plastic design we often find on entry-level models, a nice plus for the series.
PRICING: You can find the product discussed for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal: