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Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB SSD Review

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AkG

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Vista Start Up / Adobe CS5 Load Time

Vista Start Up


When it comes to hard drive performance there is one area that even the most oblivious user notices: how long it takes to load the Operating System. While all the other tests were run with a Windows 7 operating system, this particular test uses another older test bed's “day to day” OS (copied over to our new testbed) which has accumulated a lot of crud over the months from installs and removals. We chose the Anti-Virus splash screen as our finish line as it is the last program to be loaded on start up.



While the synthetic tests results showed slightly elevated read performance and slightly depressed write performance, the real world results are impressive across the board.



Adobe CS5 Load Time


Photoshop is a notoriously slow loading program under the best of circumstances, and while the latest version is actually pretty decent, when you add in a bunch of extra brushes and the such you get a really great torture test which can bring even the best of the best to their knees. Let’s see how our review unit faired in the Adobe crucible!



A three way tie for third place really is nothing to be ashamed of; especially when you consider both drives that share third place with the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB cost more than it does.
 
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AkG

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Real World Data Transfers

Real World Data Transfers


No matter how good a synthetic benchmark like IOMeter or PCMark is, it can not really tell you how your hard drive will perform in “real world” situations. All of us here at Hardware Canucks strive to give you the best, most complete picture of a review item’s true capabilities and to this end we will be running timed data transfers to give you a general idea of how its performance relates to real life use. To help replicate worse case scenarios we will transfer a 10.00GB contiguous file and a folder containing 400 subfolders with a total 12,000 files varying in length from 200mb to 100kb (10.00 GB total).

Testing will include transfer to and transferring from the devices, using MS RichCopy (set to 1 file depth) and logging the performance of the drive. Here is what we found.





As with both the Adobe and Vista real world performance tests, the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB exited our tests with a solid third place finish for both the small and large file copy tests.
 
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AkG

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Conclusion

Conclusion


The Mushkin Chronos presents us with an interesting and somewhat unique combination of price and performance; a pairing that has been a rare occurrence in the enthusiast level SSD market these days. Usually, a sub-$300 price for a 120GB drive equated lower expectations for real world benchmark numbers but Mushkin has bucked that trend.

The Chronos Deluxe’s use of Toggle Mode NAND and a forward thinking interior design combined for some impressive results and helps this drive redefine what a SF2281-based 120GB SSD should be able offer consumers. This extra boost in performance is of course thanks to Mushkin's smart choice of the exact same density Toggle Mode NAND one would find competitors’ 240GB iterations. The fact that there are only eight modules instead of 16 really doesn't impact performance enough to be of a concern for most people.

Granted, the Chronos Deluxe isn’t the fastest SSD available nor does it really pull out ahead of the equally well priced Patriot Wildfire in most tests. So if cost wasn’t a factor, there really isn’t anything here that stands out from the competition and we have no doubt OCZ, Patriot and other manufacturers will quickly revise their pricing structures after seeing what this thing can do. There are also certain periphery concerns like some people’s experience with the dreaded SandForce BSOD / system bug which has been reported on almost every SF2281 drive. We can’t speak to this issue as we haven’t experienced it yet (after intensively testing nine different drives) but it does exist nonetheless.

This may be generalizing a bit too much but one of the main problems we have seen in the current SSD market is price fluctuation. Last week the average price of some flash memory capacities hit an all time low which had a trickledown effect upon SSD pricing. The high end 120GB toggle mode equipped drives which were going for $320 a few weeks ago are now hitting the $275 mark. However, even this new pricing structure gets put to shame by the Chronos Deluxe. At around $255 it sets a new standard where enthusiast level performance is now finally well within the reach of most consumers. What’s not to like about that?


Pros:

- Performance which comes close to 240GB models in many tests
- Toggle Mode 1.0 NAND
- Includes 2.5” to 3.5” adapter
- Increased write endurance compared to most 25nm NAND equipped drives
- Reduced price compared to many in its class


Cons:

- While lower priced than many, it still is an expensive drive
- Performance will vary based on data type (compressible vs. incompressible)
- Slight reduction in sequential read speed compared to ONFi 2, 120GB drives
- 160MB+ firmware update packages

 
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