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Mushkin Pilot-E M.2 NVMe SSD Review – The Pilot Climbs to 3.4GB/s

So I am playing around with the SSDs that I had received from Mushkin awhile back and I suddenly notice that the Mushin Pilot SSD that I have in hand…. isn’t actually a Pilot at all.  It is the newest, and unreleased, Mushkin Pilot-E containing the newest SMI 2262EN controller.  A quick search around the internet shows nothing posted and a quick call to my friend Nick at Mushkin has him laughing; I am apparently one of the fortunate few to have the pre-release version that should be available later this month. The other SSD on hand that you see in this shot is the newest DRAM-less Helix-L which will be the subject of a later report.   Notice the size difference of these controllers, nevertheless.

The Mushkin Pilot-E is expected to be available in capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB and is a PCIe 3 four lane M.2 SSD that uses the latest NVMe 1.3 protocol. Performance is listed at 3370MB/s read and 2500MB/s write with  361K read and 376K write IOPS at low 4k random disk access.  Power is listed as being up to 5.3W active and 0.3W idle and this SSD will have a 3-year warranty.

Rather interesting is Mushkin’s listing of the Mushkin Enhanced Data Protection Suite.  This suite speaks of built in LDPCC ECC, end-to-end data path protection, data shaping for greater endurance, global wear leveling as well as NVMe Deallocate function support, this being the NVMe equivalent of TRIM.

The big change between the Pilot-E from the Pilot released just a few months back is that this version has the SMI SM2262EN 8-channel controller vice the earlier SM2262.  Performance is moving up from 2680MB/s read/1755MB/s write to 3370MB/s read and 2500MB/s write.  Mushkin won’t commit to the manufacturer of their 3D TLC memory in use (Micron) and this particular M.2 SSD is a two-sided SSD.

Each side of the PCB contains two pieces of NAND, each having a RAW value of 256MB for a 1TB total capacity (1024MB actually), and the volume available to the consumer post formatting is 931GB.  Each side of the SSD contains a NANYA 512MB DDR3 1600Mhz DRAM chip for a 1GB total buffer.

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Brendan
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Brendan

Just FYI, txbench, my favorite window-based erase tool (and now one of your benchmarking tools) now has additional support for NVMes drive and better trim capabilities w/ their end of April 2019 release 0.96 beta.

https://www.texim.jp/txbenchus.html

[I still pinged them about adding ATA Sanitize Crypto Scramble Ext, but many drives map that behavior for ATA Secure Erase Enhanced so depending on the drive, you can sometimes get there anyway. One day…]

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Balsamic Vinaigrette
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Balsamic Vinaigrette

So, it’s been 4 months since this review and Mushkin still doesn’t list this SSD drive on their website…despite its widespread availability. I actually bought one from Amazon and I’m regretting it already. My read speeds are way lower than what you report here and they appear to have changed the PCB design. Let’s see if their tech support gets back to me.

I could have gotten the Adata version (MS2262EN) of this drive for $10 more or a Samsung 970 EVO for $30 more.