Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB MKNSSDCR120GB-DX review

The Mushkin 120GB Chronos Deluxe is another great SSD option for cost-conscious buyers.
Photo of Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB  MKNSSDCR120GB-DX

This is shaping up to be a banner year for SSD adoption. The Kingston SSDNow V300 Series SV300S3D7 we reviewed recently won accolades for an excellent price/performance ratio, but the Mushkin 120GB Chronos Deluxe ($105 list) aims to challenge Kingston for the title. The Mushkin 120GB Chronos Deluxe offers even higher performance than the V300 at virtually the same price point. That’s actually a bit surprising given how much the two drives have in common. They’re both 120GB drives that use SandForce’s older SF-2281 controller. They both support SATA 3.0 and a maximum 6Gbps transfer rate. Mushkin claims a mean time before failure (MTBF) of two million hours, while the Kingston’s V300 is just one million, but these statistics don’t map very well to real-world failure rates, regardless.

Despite their common technological heritage, Mushkin and Kingston quote rather different performance figures. Kingston claims sequential read/write speeds of 450MBps, while Mushkin states the Chronos Deluxe should hit 560MBps sequential read and 515MBps sequential write.

Right now, the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB is a bit more expensive than the Kingston drive (it lists as $104.99 at NewEgg, as compared to $102.99 for the Kingston V300). It is, however, also slightly faster. Both of these drives use synchronous rather than asynchronous flash (asynchronous flash is cheaper, but also slower as it relies on an external clock chip). The Mushkin drive uses NAND built on a 25nm process while the V300 uses Toshiba’s newest 19nm multi-level cell (MLC) memory.

We compared the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe to the Kingston V300 with a high-end OCZ Vector 256GB tossed in for good measure. The Vector is considerably more expensive than either of the two budget drives; it’s included here to illustrate the performance difference between low and high-end SSDs. Our review unit was tested using an Asus P877V-Deluxe motherboard with 8GB of DDR3-1600 and an Intel Core i7-3770K CPU. The P877-V Deluxe offers multiple SATA controllers from Intel and Marvell; the V300 was connected to Intel’s 6G SATA port.

The performance figures for AS-SSD and SiSoft Sandra reflect a drive’s performance in a particular type of data workload. Sequential read/write tests measure an SSD’s capabilities when reading or writing a large block of contiguous data. A single large movie or ISO image will test a drive’s sequential performance (assuming that the target drive isn’t badly fragmented). In the synthetic AS-SSD test, the OCZ Vector, Chronos Deluxe, and Kingston V300 were all close to each other in sequential read tests, with scores of 509MBps, 471.5MBps, and 466MBps, respectively. The Kingston V300 fell well behind the Chronos Deluxe in sequential write performance (263.28MBps compared to 163MBps), but the OCZ Vector was faster than both drives combined, at 495.72MBps.

The 4K read/write tests ascertain the performance of an SSD or HDD when reading and writing small chunks of data. These small read/writes are vital to the everyday performance of a storage solution. The “64 Threads” test in AS-SSD means that the benchmark program spins off 64 separate 4K read/write tasks. This stretches the controller’s ability to manage such workloads, but also provides a more realistic performance metric—an operating system is constantly reading and writing data to multiple services and programs simultaneously. The 4K read/write performance with 64-threads enabled showed a similar pattern to the AS-SSD test. The Chronos Deluxe outpaced the Kingston V300 at 181MBps read/215MBps write, as compared to 116MBps read/153MBps write for the Kingston drive. Again, the OCZ Vector is far faster at 358MBps and 303 MBps, respectively.

The random read/write performance data from SiSoft Sandra is a measure of a drive’s sustained performance when reading and writing a contiguous block of information to a randomly chosen location. These metrics are important because they collectively measure the different types of storage tasks an SSD or HDD performs, even if they don’t represent user workloads. SiSoft Sandra 2013′s random read/write tests again show the OCZ Vector, Kingston V300, and Chronos Deluxe performing similarly in random reads (531MBps, 487MBps and 507MBps respectively), but quite differently in writes. The Chronos Deluxe’s 276MBps write speed was much faster than the Kingston V300′s 177MBps rate, while the OCZ Vector broke 500MBps in the same test.

PCMark 7 is a different type of test. The test uses real storage workloads created by recording traces of hard drive activity when playing games, loading music or video, or copying files. These traces are used to measure the performance of storage products in comprehensive real-world scenarios. The OCZ Vector scored a 5419 in PCMark 7′s storage tests, compared to a 5,164 for the Kingston V300 and 5,244 for the Chronos Deluxe. These figures indicate that every day users won’t see much difference between the three devices. If you work with large files or particular types of data transfer, products like the Vector still offer significant advantages.

Overall, the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB is a great option. The Vector is the fastest drive overall, but for bargain-conscious customers, Mushkin has a great product. The Kingston V300 is still a good drive—t won an Editors’ Choice award for budget SSDs—but if the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe is any indication, we’ll see a quick succession of prime SSDs at consumer-friendly price points over the next few months.

Specifications
Rotation Speed SSD
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 120 GB

Verdict
The Mushkin 120GB Chronos Deluxe is another great SSD option for cost-conscious buyers.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc