Mushkin at CES demonstrated its new SSDs in 2.5”/7 mm form-factor aimed at mainstream PCs with a SATA interface. The new Reactor Armor 3D and Triactor 3D use 3D NAND flash memory, the same controller from Silicon Motion and offer nearly similar performance. The main difference is that the former use 3D MLC, whereas the latter uses 3D TLC memory.

The NAND flash industry is transitioning to various 3D NAND architectures that enable higher densities, lower per-bit costs and higher endurance compared to planar flash made using very thin process technologies. So far it has not been easy for independent makers of drives to secure a supply of 3D NAND memory because some manufacturers are cutting down the share of produced flash they sell on the open market, whereas 3D NAND from others does not suit SSDs well. In the recent months ADATA was the only independent supplier of drives to offer 3D NAND-based drives, but as we observed at CES, the situation is about to change. Mushkin is another company to announce a lineup of SSDs featuring 3D NAND and targeting different market segments, from entry-level to the high-end. Unlike ADATA, Mushkin is announcing all of its 3D NAND SSDs at once, which implies that the company can get enough chips for different kinds of drives.

Mushkin’s Reactor Armor 3D and Triactor 3D SSDs are based on Silicon Motion’s SM2258 controller, but while the former uses 3D MLC NAND, the latter uses 3D TLC NAND from an undisclosed manufacturer. The SM2258 controller has four NAND flash channels, LDPC ECC technology, a SATA interface, a DRAM buffer support as well as pseudo-SLC (pSLC) caching in order to maximize SSD performance. At present, the SM2258 is virtually the only market-ready third-party SSD controller with that supports 3D NAND (technically speaking, the SM2256 also supports 3D NAND, but drive makers prefer the more advanced controller so to address the higher end of the SSD spectrum), so Mushkin’ s choice is not surprising if the company needs rapid time-to-market (which is also why it does not wait for Phison's PS5008-E8). What is even more interesting is that Mushkin is considering to add 3D NAND-based drives to the Reactor lineup that uses the SM2246EN controller (this one is qualified for 3D MLC as well). It does not look like the company has made any final decisions, but it is considering such possibility in a bid to continue addressing the entry-level segment with the Reactor lineup.

Mushkin does not disclose the name of its 3D NAND flash supplier, but we have a reason to believe that this is Micron. SanDisk and Toshiba are shipping their 64-layer BiCS NAND inside their removable media products and promise to use this memory for their SSDs. But as of now, 64-layer BiCS chips have not been qualified for SSDs. 3D NAND from SK Hynix is also available for various products, but it has not been qualified for SSDs just yet.

The Reactor Armor 3D SSDs will be available in 240 GB to 1920 GB configurations, whereas the Triactor 3D drives will feature 256 GB to 2 TB capacities. The former family will take advantage of MLC and offer slightly better endurance albeit at a higher price, whereas the latter lineup will be more aggressively priced thanks to cheaper memory. At the same time, it is noteworthy that both product lines include high-capacity (~ 2 TB) drives, an indicator that they target customers who need a lot of non-volatile memory and can pay for that.

As for performance, Mushkin rates sequential read speed of both Reactor Armor 3D and Triactor 3D drives at 565 MB/s, whereas sequential write speed is rated at up to 525 MB/s and 520 MB/s (when pseudo-SLC caching is used) respectively. Random performance of the drives is specified at up to 90,000 read IOPS and up to 85,000 write IOPS.

Mushkin's Reactor Armor 3D and Triactor 3D SSDs
Capacity Reactor Armor 3D Triactor 3D
Capacities 240 GB - 1920 GB 256 GB - 2 TB
Controller Silicon Motion SM2258
Sequential Read Up to 560 MB/s
Sequential Write Up to 525 MB/s Up to 520 MB/s
Random Read IOPS Up to 90K IOPS
Random Write IOPS Up to 85K IOPS
Pseudo-SLC Caching Supported
DRAM Buffer Yes, capacity unknown
TCG Opal Encryption No
Power Management DevSleep
Warranty 3 years
MTBF 1,500,000 hours

Mushkin did not announce MSRPs or ETAs for its new Reactor Armor 3D and Triactor 3D drives, but said that they will be covered by its three-year warranty.

Related Reading:

Source: Mushkin

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Michael Bay - Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - link

    He`s shilling here for the roof koreans from time to time, don`t bother.
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - link

    You'd have to go to the destroyer, which is an absurdly long trace to get an impactful difference
    I don't do synthetic testing as the numbers are not reliably related to any specific hardware

    Try comparing a synthetic test result to an actual copy/paste test and see if the numbers are the same

    Any test result change from different hardware and software is easy to calculate when testing with actual instead of synthetic workloads

    synthetic results cannot be predicted reliably when hardware changes

    For example, if we stick with testing real data ONLY on Windows 10, then any change in result can be seen and reliably predicted when we switch hardware

    With synthetic results, I don't see how they relate to actual data OR changes in hardware and cannot be assured that they are correct in any given situation
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Thursday, January 19, 2017 - link

    I don't buy that you don't buy it

    Maybe you should just try it?????
  • fanofanand - Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - link

    Why would you use an 850 Pro on a SATA2 port?
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - link

    Why would you use an 850 Pro on a SATA2 port?
    To boot Windows XP in 3 seconds

    SATA 2 ports are fast enough to test and compare different operating systems directly with one another

    DUAL BIOS on a SATA 2 motherboard prevents malware from hosing the motherboard and allows booting directly to Windows XP

    Why would I do that?
    Microsoft told me that Windows 7 boots faster than XP
    They were WRONG!

    Microsoft then told me that Windows 8.1 boots MUCH faster than XP
    They were VERY wrong!

    Microsoft then said that Windows 10 boots the fastest of all
    They were VERY VERY wrong!

    I don't believe what Microsoft tells me and like to test everything myself so I know for a fact when any Microsoft shill gives me a line of Bullshit

    UEFI systems with SATA 3 ports prevent me from doing many of the tests I rely on, or prevent me from running non-spyware Operating Systems and software

    Show me a Kaby Lake motherboard that can boot directly to Windows XP-SP2 in IDE mode (not AHCI) and do it from BIOS/not UEFI without running a virtual machine and I will buy it TODAY !!!

    I refuse to be limited to a Spyware Platform and allow Microsoft to dictate what I can and cannot run on "MY" system

    Does that answer your question?
  • MamiyaOtaru - Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - link

    he must be new here to have even wanted to ask.

    You sound like an abused spouse - moaning about Microsoft while clinging to a Microsoft operating system. Do us all a favor and switch to Linux
  • Lolimaster - Monday, January 16, 2017 - link

    They just have a wrong perspective using speed as metric. Unless they move huge chunks of data they don't really need more than sata3 offers (it's nice to have if costs are the same).

    You don't even get a noticeable improvement in the most importan thing SSD offers (random 4k reads) from sata to nvm pci-e 4x.
  • Samus - Monday, January 16, 2017 - link

    Performance degradation is noticeable with TLC drives to an average consumer. Simply installing Windows 10 or a large game on a 120-240GB SSD will draw a huge performance hit for up to an hour as the SLC buffer fills and slowly flushes out to NAND in the background. It's just entirely unacceptable the algorithms some drives use that cause this noticeable lack of performance, because some drives like the Trion 150 show considerably better consistency once the buffer is full compared to, say, an ADATA SP550.

    And I agree, at the end of the day, it's just ridiculous to consider TLC over MLC when the reliability is inevitably going to be better and a negligible cost difference. There are still plenty of MLC drives available that are "cheap."
  • theeldest - Monday, January 16, 2017 - link

    3D TLC NAND has higher endurance and reliability than 1 generation old planar MLC. This is due to a drastic increase in cell size (most recent planar NAND is/was 15/16 nm whereas the 3D NAND is around 40-ish nm).

    When the cell size is in the teens of nanometers, we're well under 100 electrons per cell. With the 40-ish nanometer cells in 3D NAND, we're back up to the 1000+ electrons per cell.

    3D TLC is reliable.
  • Lolimaster - Monday, January 16, 2017 - link

    Maybe reliable but the performance hit once you fill the SLC-buffer is there (10-30GB). And the more you fill the disk the worst it will perform. I won't mind having QLC drives with proper redundancy for mostly read-only scenarios, in some future as replace for 20TB's+ HDD drives.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now