The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe is an SSD bred through a company that, like many others, has a framework in the memory field to rely on. Unlike many others though, Mushkin’s lineage starts at the base of The Rocky Mountains and their ‘Welcome Message‘ by Company President, D. George Stathakis, speaks of community values and ideals often lost in the realm of technology.
Today’s report examines the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB 6Gbps SSD. Let’s see if these values can carry through to our final statement.
A quick look at the Mushkin Site reveals that Mushkin is offering two models of their new 6Gbps SSD line, the Chronos and Chronos Deluxe SSD. The Chronos contains asynchronous NAND flash memory and is targeted at the value conscious consumer while the Chronos Deluxe contains premium Toshiba Toggle Mode NAND flash memory and is an enthusiast offering. Both versions are available in 120 and 240GB capacities, have a three year limited warranty and boast ‘SandForce Driven’ transfer speeds in excess of 500MB/s with 90,000 IOPS at 4k aligned random write disk access.
The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB SATA 3 SSD is encased in a one inch thick foam housing with a cover that slips on and provides a basic description of the SSD and includes an adapter bracket for desktop use. The cover design is rather simple and we might suggest it wise to include such things such as model, capacity, warranty information and the fact that the Chronos is backwards compatible to SATA II on the package face itself. As SSDs are still in their infancy, we have been very outspoken in stating that the consumer should be able to identify such things right from the outset.
I would also include the ‘SandForce Driven’ logo and identify that the Chronos family is capable of equal read and write transfer speeds in excess of 500MB/s.
CASE AND COMPONENTS
The protective casing of the Chronos is two piece, aluminum with smooth edges and gunmetal in color. The pieces are secured by place by 4 torqx screws, one of which has a security seal to prevent tampering. There are manufacturer stickers on the front and back of the case and once again, we might suggest some creativity, however, this will in no way detract from the performance of the drive itself.
Once opened, we can see the typical green printed circuit board (PCB) as well as the SandForce SF-2281 on the front of the PCB. What is becoming the norm in SSDs these days is the movement back to 3Xnm NAND and placement of eight memory chips on the board rather than 16.
The Chronos Deluxe uses premium Toshiba 32nm toggle mode NAND flash memory and each module is 32GB for a total RAW capacity of 256GB. SandForce SSDs require 16GB of storage for firmware and over provisioning needs and final formatting leaves the user with 224GB available storage space. The 240GB capacity reflected on the exterior packaging represents the available storage space before formatting which is common in all such manufacturers packaging and not simply that of ‘SandForce Driven’ SSDs.
BENCHMARK PROTOCOL AND THE TEST BENCH
This is The SSD Review Test Bench Number One. A quick click on the photo will give you a better look.
In testing, our main objective is to obtain results as pure and as accurate as possible and we want to ensure that no anomalies slip through. Simply put, we want to provide you with the absolute best results the tested hardware can provide. Repetition in testing is standard and, if necessary, we may conduct specific tests in Windows 7 safe mode to ensure the OS has little to no influence on the end result.
In order to validate and confirm our findings, testing is supported by industry accepted benchmark programs. All results are displayed through capture of the actual benchmark for better understanding of the testing process by the reader.
We would like to thank Gigabyte, Corsair, MSI, OCZ, Fractal-Design, and Icy Dock for sponsoring components of our Test Bench.
SSD COMPRESSION AND TESTING FLUCTUATIONS
All SSDs are not created equal and many new SSD enthusiasts realize that when they test their new drive to confirm specifications and ensure all is in order. SandForce controlled SSDs use compression techniques in storage whereas many others do not. This creates a bit of confusion when enthusiasts test the drive with random data through benchmarking programs such as AS SSD and Crystal Diskmark (random data sample). The results seem to be lower than the listed specifications.
The results actually present a false portrayal of the drives ability when compared to other drives such as the Samsung 470 Series and Crucial M4 SSDs that we have reviewed previously. It is for this reason that all of our comparison testing is done through PCMark Vantage. PCMark Vantage HDD Suite simply provides evaluation results based on transfer speeds reached through typical user patterns. Vantage provides a better testing medium, in that, it sees through the typical synthetic benchmarks and provides us with true to life results of the drive.
Software used for testing by The SSD Review consists of Crystal DiskMark, ATTO Benchmark, Anvil Storage Utilities, HDTune Pro along with FutureMark PCMark Vantage.
All do a great job of showing us the numbers that we want to see, or dont want to see in some cases, while PCMark Vantage x64 is an excellent program which recreates tests that mimic the average users activity, all the while providing a medium to measure each.
Pg1 – Introduction, Components & Test Protocol
Pg2 – ATTO, Crystal DiskMark & Anvil Storage Utilities
Pg3 – HDTune Pro Benchmarks
Pg4 – PCMark Vantage Comparison and The Verdict