Mushkin has a strong SSD line-up for 2019, but the company slow-walked new models to market. Amazon still shows SM2262-powered Pilot models in stock even though competitors ADATA and HP have long sold out of SX8200 and EX920 drives. The 2018 inventory may have played a role in the 2019 line-up delay. Regardless, the new Pilot-E and Helix-L hit Amazon recently, and we're ready to see what the American SSD company has to offer.
Today we're testing the mainstream model from Mushkin 2019 product line, the Helix-L. This NVMe SSD uses the Silicon Motion, Inc. SM2263XT controller with Micron's mighty 64L 3D TLC. Technically this is a DRAMless SSD, but through the magic of PCIe, the drive uses a small portion of your system's memory to map the flash translation layer giving the Helix-L similar performance to more expensive mainstream products with a DRAM buffer.
Mushkin released the Helix-L series in three capacities, 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB. All three capacities use the same SMI SM2263XT controller paired with Micron 64L NAND.
The performance differs between the three sizes with the large 1TB capacity sporting the best numbers. That drive tops 2,110 MB/s sequential read and 1,700 MB/s sequential write speeds. Random performance comes to 240,000 IOPS read, and 260,000 IOPS write.
Pricing, Warranty, and Endurance
The series starts at just $38 for the 250GB model. The 500GB capacity costs $55, and the 1TB model we have to test today is $99.
The endurance doubles with each capacity starting with 150 TBW for the 250GB drive. The 500GB allows for 300 TB of warrantied writes, and that again doubles to 600 TBW for the 1TB drive. The series carries a 3-year limited warranty.
A Closer Look
The Helix-L ships in a retail-friendly blister pack. You will quickly notice the package and the drive label list this as the Helix and not the Helix-L. The drive doesn't change much from the reference design SM2263XT we tested for Silicon Motion over a year ago. At the time, we never expected to see a 1TB NVMe SSD sell for less than $100.