We've talked about the Silicon Motion, Inc. (SMI) SM2262 controller quite a bit already this year. The controller is a critical component in the three NVMe SSDs offering shoppers the best value today. The Adata SX8200, GAMMIX S11 and HP EX920 were among the best in our Game Load Time editorial that compared over 120 products. Did you know there is another, even lower-cost, SM2262 SSD available?
Have you heard about the Mushkin Pilot?
The Pilot only shaves a few dollars off the price of the Adata and HP SM2262 drives but it's technically the lowest priced SM2262 SSD available in America at the moment. With prices starting at just $49.99, the Pilot offers gamers and enthusiasts an exceptional value. The 1TB Pilot sells for nearly $100 less than the 1TB Samsung 970 EVO.
The PCIe 3.0 x4 interface allows the Micron 64-layer memory to reach high random read levels to give users a superior experience. Even if we removed the pricing details, this controller and flash combination still impresses us.
Mushkin brought the Pilot series to market in four sizes ranging from 120GB to 1TB, with the usual stops in between at 250GB and 500GB. Physically the design is nearly identical to the Adata SX8200, GAMMIX S11 and HP EX920. Other than the two Adata models, all of the drives use a different firmware and each company has a different overprovisioning strategy.
The performance varies between each capacity. The 1TB model we have to test today delivers the highest performance with just over 2,700 MB/s sequential read and 1,755 MB/s sequential write speeds. Random performance tops 282,000 IOPS read and 280,000 IOPS write.
The high performance comes from the SMI SM2262 controller paired with Micron 64-layer TLC. Mushkin didn't make many, if any, changes to the Silicon Motion, Inc. reference design from what we can see. The Pilot does use different firmware from what we've tested with in the past, the Adata and HP drives with the same controller.
Pricing, Warranty, And Endurance
The Pilot starts at just $49.99 but that's just for the 120GB model. Mushkin was one of the only companies to bring an SM2262 drive to market in that capacity. The fun starts with the 250GB Pilot that sells for $74.99. The 500GB increases the cost to just $134.99 and the 1TB raises the bar to $284.99.
Mushkin covers the series with a three-year warranty. We reached out for endurance details. The company doesn't list any endurance restrictions on the product page or data sheet.
A Closer Look
Mushkin ships the Pilot in a blister pack to keep the overall costs low. The drive uses a double-sided design with two flash packages on each side of the standard M.2 2280 form factor SSD.
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