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Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review (Page 2)

Chris Ramseyer | Aug 1, 2019 at 11:00 pm CDT - 2 mins, 49 secs reading time for this page
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Mushkin

1TB Class Performance Testing

Sequential Read Performance

Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 21 | TweakTown.com
Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 22 | TweakTown.com

We filled our charts with other lower-cost drives selling today plus the original Samsung 970 EVO (later replaced in Samsung's line-up with the 970 EVO Plus). The Helix-L is the only DRAMless model on the list, but it competes directly with the 4-bit per cell (QLC) drives from Intel and Crucial. The SX8200 and EX920 use older flagship controllers from Silicon Motion, the same also used in the Mushkin Pilot. The Pilot joins the other drives on Amazon today, but they all cost between $20 and $30 more than the Helix-L.

In the sequential read test where we scale the workload through queue depth (QD), the Helix-L trails the other drives but is very close to the Crucial and Intel QLC models it competes with directly on price.

Sequential Write Performance

Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 23 | TweakTown.com
Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 24 | TweakTown.com

The Helix-L also shows low performance in the sequential write test. DRAMless SSDs generally don't scale well with increased QD in write tests, so the results on this chart were expected. Users do get nearly 1,500 MB/s for transfers to the drive. This is nearly a 3x increase over high-quality SATA SSDs that sell for around the same price as the Helix-L 1TB.

Sustained Sequential Write Performance

Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 25 | TweakTown.com

The architecture uses a dynamic SLC buffer that scales depending on the amount of data you have on the drive. The system works well unless you fill the drive. We recommend keeping 20% of the drive's overall capacity free when possible.

Random Read Performance

Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 26 | TweakTown.com
Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 27 | TweakTown.com

We expected to see higher random read performance with the 1TB Helix-L. The drive matches the 1TB Samsung 970 EVO, so that's a plus. It also trails many of the other drives with the same Micron 64L flash. This is one of the areas where Micron's flash increases performance over Toshiba and Samsung with many products. In addition, the performance metric makes your computer feel fast using consumer-grade applications.

Even though the performance is on the lower-end of the scale between the drives tested, you still get nearly 12,000 random read IOPS at QD1. This is more than most SATA SSDs, and two years we would call it a performance leader for even NVMe products.

Random Write Performance

Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 28 | TweakTown.com
Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 29 | TweakTown.com

The 1TB Helix-L scales incredibly well with random data writes for a DRAMless drive. This is where the host memory buffer (HMB) technology really helps to increase performance. The performance path is nearly identical to the ADATA SX8200 from QD1 to QD8.

70% Read Sequential Performance

Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 30 | TweakTown.com
Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 31 | TweakTown.com

Mixing sequential data, reads and writes, the Helix-L outperforms the two QLC SSDs in our charts today. The Helix-L doesn't quite make it to the level of the DRAM drives with TLC memory.

70% Read Random Performance

Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 32 | TweakTown.com
Mushkin Helix-L Low-Cost NVMe SSD Review 33 | TweakTown.com

Where the 1TB Helix-L stumbles in our synthetic tests is the random mixed workload. The drive only delivers 1/3 the performance as the next lowest drive at QD1, and the gap grows from there as you move up the list. This impacts multitasking and leads to more latency running several applications at one time.

Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Chris Ramseyer

Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

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