LAS VEGAS, NV — Mushkin on Wednesday formally announced its lineup of M.2 SSDs that it will be offering this year. All the drives are based on various controllers from Silicon Motion as well as 3D TLC NAND memory. Mushkin’s fastest Pilot-E-series SSDs will offer peak sequential read speed of up to 3.5 GB/s and will thus be aimed at high-end desktops.

This year Mushkin will offer four lineups of SSDs in M.2 form-factor and will continue to offer three families of 2.5”/SATA drives that were introduced earlier, so it is evident that module SSDs are taking over, at least in case of Mushkin. All of the new M.2 drives will use 3D TLC NAND memory (probably made by Micron) and will be powered (mostly) by Silicon Motion’s latest controllers featuring ECC engines based on LDPC methods. Needless to say, different drives will be aimed at customers with different budgets and needs.

The entry-level M.2 SSD lineup from Mushkin is the Triactor 3DL M.2 based on the Silicon Motion SM2258XT controller and featuring a SATA 6 Gbps interface. The Triactor 3DL M.2 will be available in 120 GB – 1 TB configurations (note that Triactor 3DL in M.2 and 2.5" form-factors have different configurations and modules seem to reserve more memory for overprovisioning) and will hit performance levels one would expect from a modern SATA drive — up to 550 MB/s sequential read speed and up to 505 MB/s sequential write speed in case of capacious drives. Mushkin intends to ship the Triactor 3DL M.2 drives sometimes in February.

A more advanced SSD family from Mushkin to be released in the coming months is the Helix-L. Based on Silicon Motion’s new SM2263XT controller for fast yet inexpensive SSDs, this one will use a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface and will be available in 120 GB – 1 TB configurations and will be DRAMless. Mushkin specs the drives for up to 2.4 GB/s sequential read speed as well as up to 1.7 GB/s sequential write speed, which looks rather good on paper. We do have an SM2263XT-based drive in our lab, but test results are not yet in, so we cannot verify Mushkin’s claims. The manufacturer plans to make the Helix-L products available in late February, or early March.

Next up comes the Pilot, Mushkin’s new “extreme performance” offering powered by Silicon Motion’s SM2262 controller with a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. Mushkin will supply Pilot SSDs in capacities ranging from 120 GB to 2 TB and equipped with a DRAM cache, thus targeting pretty serious PCs. Higher-end Mushkin Pilot SSDs support sequential read speed of up to 3.2 GB/s as well as sequential write speed of up to 1.9 GB/s, according to figures released by SMI and repeated by Mushkin. Random read/write performance of the Pilot is up to 370K/300K IOPS, but Mushkin does not specify exact models that offer such performance. The manufacturer expects to release its Pilot drives sometimes in February.

Mushkin’s consumer M.2 lineup will be led by the flagship Pilot-E series based on Silicon Motion’s SM2262EN controller. The “ultimate performance” Pilot-E will be offered in 250 GB – 2 TB configurations and will be rated for up to 3.5 GB/s sequential read speed as well as up to 3 GB/s sequential write speed. As for random performance, it will be in line with the Pilot series. It is noteworthy that both the Pilot and the Pilot-E SSDs are not equipped with heat spreaders (at least, based on their press shots). Mushkin intends to launch the Pilot-E drives this March, but keep in mind that companies tend to spend time ensuring that their premium offerings deliver the best possible performance and reliability.

Brief Specifications of Mushkin 2018 M.2-2280 Consumer SSDs
Family Triactor 3DL Helix-L Pilot Pilot-E
Positioning Value
Performance Extreme Performance Ultimate Performance
Interface SATA 6 Gbps PCIe 3.0 x4
Capacity 120 GB - 1 TB 120 GB - 2 TB 250 GB - 2 TB
Controller SM2258XT SM2263XT SM2262 SM2262EN
Sequential Read 550 MB/s 2400 MB/s 3200 MB/s 3500 MB/s
Sequential Write 505 MB/s 1700 MB/s 1900 MB/s 3000 MB/s
Random Read IOPS 73K IOPS 280K IOPS 370K IOPS
Random Write IOPS 80K IOPS 250K IOPS 300K IOPS
Pseudo-SLC Caching Supported
DRAM Buffer No Yes, capacity unknown
Warranty 3 years
MTBF 1,500,000 hours

Since pricing of NAND flash is fluctuating, SSD makers tend not to announce MSRPs of their products well ahead of their availability and two or three months is a long time when it comes to pricing of commodities (such as memory). That said, it is hard to predict prices of Mushkin’s new SSDs. Clearly, the Pilot and the Pilot-E series drives designed to hit maximum performance will cost accordingly, do not expect any bargains here. As for other products, let’s wait and see.

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Source: Mushkin

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  • Bullwinkle-J-Moose - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    Waiting for your review of the Pilot-E

    Expecting less than 3500 MB/s peak

    Expecting Peak for less than a few seconds

    Expecting Max average to be less than 1/2 of the listed 3500MB/s speed

    Can't wait for the throttling specs

  • djayjp - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    It won't load any apps faster.
  • cyberguyz - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    Looks like something that just might push samsung 960 Pro off the top of the pile. I would like tro see some samsung vs mushkin head-to-head loving.
  • shabby - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    No drive has even caught up to the evo let alone the pro, especially at qd1, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
  • Flunk - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    With a Silicon Motion controller? I have my doubts.

    As for toe to toe, Mushkin is an integrator, they buy NAND, and controllers and then slap them on a board, quite often based on the controller maker's reference design. They really don't have the resources to go up against Samsung, who builds their own NAND and controllers.
  • CrazyElf - Thursday, January 24, 2019 - link

    The HP EX 920 with the same Silicon Motion SM 2262 controller did exactly that.
  • lazarpandar - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    I don't care if it's half that speed I just want 2tb nvme... not gonna pay 1k for a 960 pro either.
  • Alistair - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    I'm in the same boat. I want a 2tb drive, not Samsung, but as fast as Samsung. (Samsung doesn't provide warranty coverage).

    Nice to see a lot of possibilities from CES. Hope to see a lot of new models on the market soon.
  • Dragonstongue - Thursday, January 11, 2018 - link

    I know there is limited space on mobo for this "style" of SSD, but, am sure if they took the time they could have a small heatsink with heatpipes on it something along the line of (ssd is ___ attach heatpipes to it which are leading to the small "mem sink" denoted by ##)
    as long as the SSD is not overly thick, it should not compromise usage in near any case/motherboard, and at least would be functional, keep it from throttling so it allows heat generated to more easily shed to surrounding airflow, unlike pretty much every "heatshield" or whatever you want to call them that really do nothing more than offer a cleaner look and some protection at the cost of pretty much everyone of them actually being a culprit of a guarantee to throttle from heat...

    They have a LONG distance usable in like 90% of case/motherboards where the flash slot is on the motherboard, it is the thickness (usually) that can be the problem, the motherboard makers and the SSD makers need communicate better, as although this "style" is the new thing, they are anything but low cost and at least IMO they are putting them in the most akward locations.

    Cool to the maker they get to save cost of the normal 2.5/1.8mm "shell" that older SSD use (which I prefer) but is not always a win for anything but raw performance for the end user, pay big $ for something that will likely throttle performance away, instead ot maybe slowing it down so is 99% unlikely to throttle or something ^.^
  • Fujikoma - Saturday, January 13, 2018 - link

    I was hoping for an MLC option. Flash drives are fine for TLC, but not for a boot drive.

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