Thursday , 24 July 2014
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Mushkin Atlas 240GB mSATA SSD Review – Top Performance at an Unbeatable Price

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

On considering the branding of  the Mushkin Atlas, Mushkin could not have picked a more fitting representation of this SSD if they tried.  Charles Atlas started promoting fitness and body building in 1929 and his advertising was most famous for the scrawny kid on the beach getting sand kicked in his face by the big guy.  He has been the embodiment of fitness and strength for over 80 years and is no less than a legend in the world of fitness.

The Mushkin Atlas is certainly representative of that scrawny kid as it is the smallest consumer storage medium available, yet it has just pulled off performance results in PCMark Vantage, Crystal DiskMark 4k random write results and Anvil write IOPS that are of the best we have ever seen.  Proving your the best of the best in PCMark Vantage is no easy task but the Mushkin Atlas pulled that off.

FORMER:

Availability for mSATA SSDs is still ‘get what you can get when you can get it’, however, everything is not all candy and roses for the Mushkin Atlas. When we look at the top four available mSATA drives on the market right now, the lowest priced drives of similar capacity go to the Crucial M4 and AData SX300 with prices in and around $117.99 (128GB) and $249.99 (256GB) compared to Mushkin prices of $172.99 and $349.99. One can click on any of the three links to check for any price reduction.

UPDATE:

Shortly after our report was published, Mushkin contacted us and stated that they valued our opinion and had adjusted the price of the Mushkin Atlas accordingly and included a link to Newegg that showed the new Atlas pricing to be $84.99, $129.99 and $239.99, the latter being $10 cheaper than competitors pricing.

The Mushkin Atlas is the top mSATA SSD that we have tested to date and it’s consistent performance throughout our testing was great to see.  Looking at the PCMark Vantage Total Point Score’ which is the result of eight tests based on simulated typical user activities, the Atlas was the fourth highest SSD we have ever tested short of PCIe and RAID testing.  You simply couldn’t ask for better performance from the worlds smallest consumer storage device.

Initially, we expressed our concerns with respect to pricing and earlier today we received an e-mail from Brian Flood, Mushkin’s Director of Product Development.  Brian thanked us for our candid opinion with respect to pricing, let us know that Mushkin valued our opinion and a subsequent price reduction of the Atlas line was  put in place.  A quick check of Newegg.Com showed Atlas pricing to be $84.99 (60GB), $129.99 (120GB) and $239.99 (240GB) which officially makes the Atlas the highest performing and lowest priced mSATA SSD available to date!  Editors Choice!!!

Watch for the Mushkin Atlas mSATA SSD at Amazon.

FORUM DISCUSSION

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • pcuser

    Any reason that Anvil RC2 and Intel RST 11.2.0.1006 are not being used in the benchmarking?

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      No reason… we change our systems quite often and test with a number of different versions. There is no appreciable difference.

  • JC

    What’s your opinion on the differences between this Mushkin Atlas 240GB and the Crucial/Micron M4 256GB mSATA especially with the current price difference?

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      What differences would you speak? Crucial has had a great show with thr Marvell controller and, for the typical user experience, there is no difference at all. The visible difference will only be see with specific tasks that need the speed for incompressible file transfers.

  • alan

    which one do you recommend on mSATA lenovo Y480, for a reliable OS drive?

    Mushkin Atlas 240GB vs Crucial m4 256GB mSATA

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Both of these drives are stellar and I would be hard pressed to choose between the two. There is something worth watching closely however and that is the fact that SandForce has JUST announced their release of enhancements to the SF-2281 processor that will significantly improve battery life of laptops up to as much as an hour. Now, if that were to filter into product already on the market which we don’t know about at all, that might be a key factor in my choice.

      • alan

        Indeed, i remember seeing something like Mushkin Enhanced Atlas Series on newegg, does the enhanced atlas refer to the enhancements of the SF-2281 processor ?

      • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        The Atlas, nor any other SF SSD, has the newly announced enhancements as of yet.

      • jason701802

        Any idea when those enhancements will be hitting the shelves?

  • Mathieu

    Hello there,
    First thank’s for those great reviews!! actually reading this from Paris, the matter is there is not a lot of choice here yet for a 256gb msata. The only one we can get on a french website is the Crucial M4. My Question is do you think the M4 is compatible with a toshiba portege Z930 ?
    Thank’s in advance!

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      That SSD will work perfectly in that system! I have the Z830 in use nd m very familiar with Toshiba Ultras.

  • dv1556

    Anyone know if this is compatible with the Samsung S9′s? Specifically the 13.3…??

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Of course it is.

  • TSpawN

    Hey, is this SSD compatible with my Lenovo ideapad y560p notebook?
    Thanks!

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      If the Ideapad accepts an mSATA, of course it will work.

  • Gabriel

    Why did you assume that Mushkin named this card after Charles Atlas, of all people (and you DO know Charles Atlas was a stage name, right)? Doesn’t it make far more sense to simply assume it was named after Atlas, the Greek Titan?

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      You could be absolutely right!

  • kleos

    Hi Les,
    Seriously good reviews. How will this work on SATA 2 motherboards? Any difference? Can`t find any mini-itx boards with SATA 3 msata support.

    • kleos

      Did more research. Looks like all desktop boards only support SATA 2 mata. How would they work on them and how many laptops support SATA 3?

  • http://profiles.google.com/alexzavatone Alex Zavatone

    It’s “competitors’ pricing”. Please take the time to get basic apostrophes right.

  • viper

    Hi Les how are ya man.., I’m building a serious gaming laptop starting with a Clevo P270WM barebone body., and with an X79 chipset and an intel core i7 3960X extreme processor and maybe 2 or 3 Nvidia 680 gaming cards from gigabyte and a blu-ray reader microsoft windows ultimate 64bit.., but i need to know what is (the best and fastest gig memory and solid state drive for my set up with money not being an issue and what should i use as my second hard drive besides the ssd being my primary should i use a regular hard drive or a ssd as a second drive slot for a faster computer or is it a waste of cash…,thank you my email is kaledawad@gmail.com I’ll leave it up to you to design my memory and ssd/hdd units being you are the man for this job.., and sould i use this for my laptop
    MUSHKIN ATLAS 240GB MSATA SSD

  • Ken

    Hi Les
    I really need your help. I have alienware M14x R2 . I’m thinking upgrade the mSata . I really like the mushkin atlast . I do more research detail about that msata .Then i find out my alienware msata port only support sata 3 up to 3gb/s I dont know if i get Mushkin atlast I can get maximum speed around 555 mb/s read and write 520 mb/s ???
    This point I dont know what different bettween Sata II and Sata 3 ( My case only support 3gb/s) how different on speed of sata 3 6gb/s and sata 3 3gb/s ? please help me out. thanks

    So if I get the mushkin atlast 240gb support 6gb/s. The speed on the mushkin will change down speed as same as sata II ? please give me some advice

    I’m thinking about this one too

    http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?imodule=CT256M4SSD3

    That one is sata III kind of cheaper than mushkin atlast. I’m thinking about that because mushkin atlast is out of stock every where.

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Any mSATA will work but the key is learning whether your mSATA is SATA 2 or SATA 3. If it is SATA 2, it will only push SATA 2 speeds which are typically up to 275MB/s read and write, depending on the drive. For the most part, there arent many people alive that can tell the difference visibly between SATA 2 and SATA 3 speeds during typical use. It is measured in milliseconds. It is when you are transferring heavy loads incompressible data that you have to be aware of your needs.

      • KEN

        Thanks for your fast respond. I have call my technical support dell. They said my msata port support up to Sata 3 but they said the speed is only 3gb/s . I’m really dont understand about that. So if my support only 3gb/s so the Mushkin will downgrade speeds from 6gb/s to 3gb/s so do you know how much different about 3gb and 6gb ?
        thanks for your time.

      • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        You will not see any difference at all in typical computer use and, will only in transfer or manipulation of highly incompressible. These are where it would be nice to have the SATA 3 speeds.

      • Ken

        Finally i bought the mushkin atlas, The speed r awesome :D thanks for your review and your time :)

  • Ray

    Hi Les,
    I recently purchased the Mushkin Atlas DX 240GB mSATA SSD from Newegg for my Lenovo Y580 and noticed that it’s using Micron Nand Chips instead of the Toshiba Nand Chips, my question is should I return it and exchange it and hope I’ll get another one that has the Toshiba Nand chips in it?

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      It would’nt concern me. We have no bearing on the type of NAND flash memory in use by manufacturer. Curious as to what the model number is on the memory though.

      • Ray

        I think it states 2JA28 NW289 on top of the NAND and the Micron logo right beside those alpha numeric number. Is this a toggle Nand flash or asynchronous type?

      • zentype

        I have to admit this is definitely frustrating for tech heads like me who specifically look for the Sandforce + Toggle NAND combination (heck even this review mentions it) and then Mushkin goes and switches the Toshibas with Microns… Crucial M4 msata (Micron Nand) is rated 1.2million mtbf. The original Toshiba NAND equipped Atlas DX is almost double at 2 million mtbf. Now they’ve quietly switched to Micron NAND…

        You never know what you’re going to get because of changes like this.

        I actually backed out of an order because the vendor checked and told me the atlas I had ordered wasn’t using Toshiba toggle nand..

        So they lost a customer because of this… Hope someone at Mushkin sees this, it doesn’t pay to go cheaper sometimes.

      • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        Agree and will pass to Mushkin…

      • zentype

        Thanks. I would be interested to see what they have to say in reply. I would gladly pay more for the premium Toshiba NAND.. Really disappointed that Mushkin switched and still called them “Deluxe”.. DX has always meant premium toggle NAND… Now you don’t know what you’re getting.. If I wanted a Micron NAND ssd I’d get the Crucial M4 (and the numerous reports of failures I’m finding on the web is keeping me from buying any more of those)

  • ssbkk

    Thanks for your review! About Toshiba vs Micron Chips. I would like to share my experience I had with Crucial M4 on my Lenovo T420s. It crashed a few time and could not reboot. I contacted Crucial and they confirm that it is not compatible with Lenovo T420s, they are so kind to take my return.. So I am not sure anymore that any mSATA SSD can go into any mSATA slot. And if Mushkin change the chip to Micron (which the M4 could not be used in Lenovo T420s) then will it be incompatible with Lenovo T420s too?

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      I can’t speak to your situation but a simple Google search brings up happy T420 owners using the M4 mSATA so, indeed it must be compatible.

  • udi weiss

    Hi all ,

    so after i read this review i decided to give it a try and enter to the ssd world.

    I installed my new Mushkin atlas 128GB , did clean install with windows 8. went threw the win7 optimization guide and at last ran the AS SSD benchmark, and sadly I got poor results compare to this article.

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/33/asssfs.jpg/

    screen capture with my results… and for power on till desktop 28 sec…
    my machine is lenovo e420s

    any ideas
    thanks in advance

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      My guess is that its your system and not the SSD. Do a Crystal Diskmark test regular and then in safe mode. Also…what is STORAHCI?
      Please take your results to our forum page.

  • Dwaine

    I’m considering using the atlas as a desktop drive replacement. Do I need something like the “Renice mSATA to SATA 3″ adapter used here? can’t find much on what’s required if anything.

    • http://www.thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      Yes you would need that adopter.

  • pcuser

    Mushkin has Announced 480GB Atlas mSATA SSD to arrive in January 2013 @ $499US

    Specifications:

    - SandForce SF-2281 SSD processor with unthrottled IOPS
    - SATA III (6Gb/s) interface
    - Supports ATA APM, Security Set, NCQ
    - TRIM support (OS/driver support required)
    - S.M.A.R.T. support
    - Built-in BCH ECC (Up to 55 bits correctable per 512 byte sector)
    - High speed MLC NAND
    - MO-300 (mSATA) form factor (50.80 x 29.85 x 4.85mm)
    - Mini PCIe Interface
    - User-upgradeable firmware
    - RoHS, FCC, CE
    - 3-year limited warranty

    http://www.ntcompatible.com/news/story/mushkin_announces_worlds_first_480gb_msata_solid_state_drive.html

  • simply_eff

    The new 120GB DX versions are shipping with SanDisk toggle nand SDZNPQCHER-032GT.

  • Rick

    I bought a Mushkin Atlas 240gb ssd drive because of this review. When I got it I realized my computer build may be in jeopardy. Can I install this on a ASUS z77 Sabertooth mother board with a Fractal Design R4 case. How do I attach it?

  • Thomas Gregan

    Why am i getting such a different speeds from your benchmark? any idea?

    [url=http://postimg.org/image/8n7hbzk91/][img]http://s18.postimg.org/8n7hbzk91/Screenshot_2014_04_19_16_16_22.jpg[/img][/url]

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