HD Tune is a Hard Disk Utility with many functions from error checking, health testing (S.M.A.R.T.), and of course benchmarking. To build upon our real world write test we also looked to see where the write speeds leveled off to by using HD Tune Pro. If SLC caching is being utilized, this test will typically show it.
The Mushkin Source features an SLC cache, which is apparent in the chart above. HDTune reveals that it had to write over 160GB of data to the NAND before it degraded to performance levels of about 60MB/s.
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
The Mushkin Source is an entry-level SSD, so we weren’t expecting a whole lot performance out of it, especially since it utilizes a DRAMless controller. However, during our benchmarking session, it still did fairly well in spite of that. In sequential file reads it attained speeds of 560MB/s and in sequential writes, it hit 522MB/s. As well, it hit 74,163 IOPS read and 83,405 IOPS write in Crystal Disk Mark.
In PCMark 8 we saw that just like other DRAMless SSDs before it, the Mushkin Source scored about the same and delivered similar bandwidth, which was just under 200MB/s. In PCMark 8’s extended test the extreme workload pushed it to limits it probably will never be pushed to in real life, but, it helps us to gauge which drives are better suited for heavy use and which aren’t. In this case, the Mushkin Source isn’t something you want to use if you have a heavy write workflow.
Interestingly enough, the new 3D NAND and more sophisticated SLC cache algorithms seem to have improved raw sequential write performance. During our 30GB media transfer, the Mushkin Source wrote at a rate of 503MB/s. As well, HDTune revealed that its SLC cache can be as large as 160GB. So, if you are transferring around large files now and again, the Source won’t slow down like older 2D NAND based DRAMless SSDs do.
And, to top this off, it is very efficient. During our file transfer test, the Mushkin Source sipped power, delivering efficiency performance at 341MB/s per watt. With this score, it tops our chart and takes first place out of all the SATA SSDs we’ve tested to date. Even at idle it is one of the most efficient SSDs, consuming just 29mW of power. This SSD looks like a great laptop HDD replacement from this alone.
At the end of the day, the most important factor to consider here is its price. The amount of difference in performance you get out of the Mushkin Source vs another, more costly DRAM-based SSD, isn’t enough to justify spending more if you’re on a tight budget. For the normal daily tasks of using your PC for web browsing, office productivity, or even gaming, the Mushkin Source will deliver more than enough performance.
If you have an old PC you haven’t upgraded with an SSD yet, we’d say it’s about time to do so. At the price of just $82.99 for 500GB of space, the Mushkin Source is a good bang for the buck, and it comes with a sticker. Sure, it doesn’t come with a fancy 5-year warranty or any value adders like more expensive SSDs, but when the price is king, you can’t have everything.