If you’ve still got a regular HDD kicking around in your PC or laptop, you’re long overdue for an SSD upgrade. There’s a plethora of sizes and options available in the market, and American company Mushkin is looking to tease you to upgrade with some of their wallet-friendly SSDs.
Today we’re looking at the Mushkin Source SSD, an extremely affordable drive that comes in capacities of 120GB up to 1TB. We’ve got the 500GB variant to test out, which would make a great upgrade as a main OS drive while still offering plenty of storage space for the rest of your files.
Pricing is fiercely competitive – the Mushkin Source 500GB is available on Amazon for $64.99, considerably cheaper than the WD Blue at $79.00 or the Samsung 860 EVO at $72.00. The models also come in a standard 2.5” size or in M.2 2280 format.
Features and design
What makes the Mushkin Source so affordable is that it’s DRAMless, which brings about its own series of pros on cons. SSDs typically have a DRAM chip which contains a map of where data is stored on the drive’s flash chips, which allows the drive to quickly navigate and retrieve information. Eliminating this chip means you can bring the cost of the drive down by a bit, but there are some drawbacks.
Firstly, the drive now has to use its NAND flash chips to store the drive map, which is much slower than storing it in a DRAM chip. This can introduce slowness and stuttering in certain programs, depending on how the drive is being accessed by the OS. Second, and more importantly, DRAMless drives write more operations to the NAND flash to compensate for the lack of a DRAM chip, which means that your drive will tend to wear down faster as well.
The Mushkin Source comes in very plain plastic packaging, with a brief overview of the drives’ features printed on the back, as well as a small sticker if you want to proudly display to the world that you’re using a Mushkin drive. The drive itself features a metal enclosure, which is a step up from the usual plastic body that we’re accustomed to seeing on SSDs. Specs-wise the drive is SATA III compatible, and comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
Crystaldisk Mark (Sequential) Read:559 MB/s; Write: 517.9 MB/s
Crystaldisk Mark (Random) Read:214.9 MB/s; Write: 328.6 MB/s
ATTO Benchmark (Sequential) Read: 559.24 MB/s; Write: 511.84 MB/s
In our CrystalDiskMark benchmark the Mushkin Source SSD scored 559MB/s sequential read and 517.9MB/s write. That’s suitably fast when it comes to launching programs or copying large amounts of data across, but if you’re copying smaller files or doing lots of random read/writes, you’ll notice that performance certainly takes a dip.
This means that if used as a primary OS drive, the Mushkin Source will be a speedy upgrade from a regular hard drive, but you’ll notice a few hiccups that occasionally pop up, especially with copying files over in Windows Explorer. Transfer speeds start off steady, but tend to dwindle down before picking up again.
Similar performance was seen in ATTO Benchmark, which again reflect the budget pricing of the Mushkin Source. At the end of the day, this is still an SSD, and will be comparably faster than a regular or older drive.
Strapped for cash and want to make every penny count? Then the Mushkin Source SSD is the perfect choice for you. You’ll get decent performance out of it without blowing too much cash, and if you’re intending on using it as a scratch drive for certain applications or even just as a drive upgrade for an older laptop, then you’re all set to go.
It’s fine to use as an OS drive as well, but there will be very occasional instances where you’ll see slowness kick in, especially during file copy operations. Still, as a budget SSD the Mushkin Source does really well, and you can’t argue with that.