Mushkin 32GB SDHC Review

nVidia_Freak - 2011-06-29 18:39:42 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: nVidia_Freak   
Reviewed on: July 13, 2011
Price: $52.99 @ Mushkin's Website

Introduction:

Flash memory is very important for computers and in particular for data storage devices. Their lack of moving parts vastly improves their reliability, and memory chips themselves are very small so storage devices based on flash memory can be very compact and lightweight. As if that isn't enough, flash memory can be read from, and written to, much faster than standard optical and mechanical storage media. Rather than being limited to reading particular sectors a particular number of times per minute, memory cells are accessed by an electrical signal, and because there are no moving parts, that signal can access the cell at all times, or as little or as long as is needed. Other parts, such as the controller chip and connection type, may limit transfer speeds and affect access times, but the basic principal always holds.

Their compact size and theoretically high access speeds make flash memory particularly suited for small, portable devices such as cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, and more. In particular, SD cards are an attractive alternative to USB flash drives with their variety of applications, compact size, and competitive pricing. Their use of memory chips also makes it very easy for memory manufacturers to jump into the arena and offer their own array of products. Mushkin is one such company that has recently begun to offer a modest selection of SD cards. Mushkin is best known for its desktop memory products and the performance and value they bring, so perhaps this is also the case of its SD card offerings. Today I'll be examining Mushkin's 32GB Class 10 SDHC memory card and comparing it to others. Forthwith, however, a gander at its physique.

 

Closer Look:

Mushkin's 32GB Class 10 SDHC card comes in rather standard packaging among SD cards. That said, it's not horrible, tacky, or cheap looking — it has a very clean design. The packaging itself is of the absolutely bedeviling clam-shell variety, though I did find it to be one of the least troublesome to open. On the front, Mushkin tells me what I get, while on the back, Mushkin tells me why I should be glad that I have it. Very ordinary, but no over embellishments. That's more than I can say for the majority of package-marketing. Besides the SD card, a small, plastic carrying case is provided. This is definitely not an uncommon accessory, though it's not quite standard and thus a satisfying inclusion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The SD card sports Mushkin's standard green and clean coloring and is a pleasing contrast to the black housing. Obviously this has no bearing on how the card itself will perform, but should one care for things that not only perform, but are also at the same time pretty, then this might turn out to be something you'd like. I'm more of a utilitarian in that regard and consider performance to be the priority, and if it can look pretty too, then that's great. On the other hand, photogenic parts are much easier to position and photograph.

Specifications:

Format SDHC
Size 32GB (29.8GB formatted)
Class Rating Class 10 (10MB/s minimum guaranteed transfer speed)
Operating Temperature -25 °C to 80 °C
Dimensions
32mm x 24mm x 2.1mm
Warranty
3 Years

 

Features:

 

Information courtesy of Mushkin available online at http://mushkin.com/Digital-Storage/SD-microSD/MKNSDHCC10-32GB.aspx

Testing Setup:

To test Mushkin's 32GB Class 10 SDHC card, I will run a series of benchmarks to provide as accurate a representation of its performance as possible. Flash Memory Toolkit and SiSoft Sandra will both be used to measure access times and to benchmark read and write speeds in various circumstances. Remember that FMT and Sandra are, however, synthetic benchmarks. To gauge real-world performance, I will also use a set of compressed files of various sizes to measure write speeds under typical usage. These compressed files correspond to those that are used in our product reviews that use the WinRAR benchmark. Let's begin!

Testing Setup:

Comparison Storage Cards:

 

Testing: Flash Memory Toolkit 2.0

Low-level Benchmark:

The first benchmark will use the low level benchmark from Flash Memory Toolkit 2.0. Higher read/write speeds and lower access times are better.

Mushkin's 32GB Class 10 SDHC card is off to a respectable start. It surpasses all but the high-performance SD cards.

Testing:

The next benchmark will be FMT's 'File Benchmark' that will write files of varying small sizes to the drive to more accurately gauge real world performance. Higher read and write speeds are better.

File Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here the results aren't mixed. Mushkin's 32GB Class 10 SDHC card certainly performs when writing files, but seems to be lacking when reading those files.

Testing:

SiSoft's Sandra 2011 SP3 features a specific benchmark for thumb-drives and other externally based flash media. Sandra 2011 writes files of varying sizes to the drive multiple times to measure performance, reminiscent of Flash Memory Toolkit's testing method. A sub-benchmark is also conducted that focuses more on sector use. Higher read and write speeds are better.

Removable Storage Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with Flash Memory Toolkit, Sandra 2011 SP3 shows Mushkin's card consistently writing at higher transfer speeds, and in doing so, surpassing Kingston's 32GB Class 10 offering, but at the same time, not reading those files back as fast as it could. Make no mistake, however, it is much closer to meeting class 10 specifications than Kingston's 32GB Class 10 card.

Testing:

Nothing reveals the true performances more than actually using the hardware as it was meant to be. That's why this last benchmark is very simple and something anyone can do. Files of varying sizes, small and large, are transferred to the memory cards and the time taken is recorded. Time measurements are taken using a stopwatch. The stopwatch is started as soon as the Windows file transfer window appears and stopped after it closes. After an individual file is tested, it is then deleted before the next file, and the preceding steps are taken again until testing is complete. Average transfer speeds are then calculated by dividing the real file size by the recorded transfer time. Lower transfer times and higher speeds are better.

Custom File Transfers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These results are more revealing than those originating from synthetic benchmarks, and the results are very good. What the above charts show is Mushkin's 32GB Class 10 card not only performing very close to class 10 specification enough to say that it does, but it also easily beats one of its rivals from Kingston. What this tells me is that Mushkin's card is a very good one to have should you do more than run synthetic benchmarks all day. But should you buy it?

Conclusion:

Mushkin's Class 10 32GB SDHC card performs very well and holds up against competition without waiver. Should one purchase it? If one is in the market for an SDHC card with a 32GB capacity, then certainly I would recommend that you at least consider it. It's a mid-priced class 10 card for its capacity, and it holds up. Mushkin has the history and experience with memory to be able to make an attractive memory card and it has done just that. It may cost negligibly more than lower-class rated cards, so there's really no reason to take those unless you are so entirely strapped for cash that another $8 will seriously hurt you.

Mushkin includes a carrying case with the card, which is a small but appreciated extra and would certainly come in handy on the go. Keeping the card in its carrying case when not in use ought to make it just a little harder to misplace or have it fall out of a pocket or wallet when reaching for something else. My only gripe with the card is that it doesn't read quite as fast as other cards, although it still does meet class 10 specifications. I will always argue that write speeds are the more important of the two so long as the read speeds aren't horrendously slow, and that stands here. If you're looking to spend around $60 for a high-capacity SDHC card, remember that Mushkin's card is fairly priced and performs very well. Give it a shot!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: