Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 60GB Reviewccokeman -
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
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The Callisto series of solid state drives (SSDs) from Mushkin were released just four months ago and showed that the use of the Sandforce 1200 series controller offered performance superior to that of the INDILINX and Jmicron controlled drives that were the mainstay in the market at that time. The one downside to that original Sandforce controller-equipped drive was that it was equipped with a firmware that capped 4K random write performance to 10,000 IOPs. Even so, it delivered great performance that outpaced the results delivered by other drives with competing SSD processors, including the INDILINX-equipped Mushkin Io. Fast forward that same four months and Mushkin has updated the firmware on this new "Deluxe" version of its Callisto series drives so you get the Sandforce controller's uncapped 4K random write performance of up to 50,000 IOPs.
Other than the uncapped firmware, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe has the same feature set, with read speeds of up to 285 MB/s and write speeds of up to 275 MB/s, the Sandforce SF1200 consumer grade controller, TRIM support, 34nm MLC Flash memory, 2,000,000 hours MTBF, and a three year warranty. The Callisto Deluxe comes in the same capacities as the original - 60GB (our test drive), 120GB, and 240GB. The pricing for this drive comes in at a meager (for SSDs) $144 for the 60 GB version I am testing. Performance-wise, I look for this drive to show the same characteristics as its predecessor, the Callisto.
Let's start out looking at the packaging of the Callisto Deluxe. The front panel shows the product name with a small crescent to the left of the name. This moon shape makes reference to the third largest moon of Jupiter, Callisto, with the product description underneath. The upper left has the Mushkin Enhanced logo, while the bottom right contains a tag with the product number and SKU. The rear panel has a short sales pitch on the merits of the Mushkin Callisto series of solid state drives that includes speed and silence along with TRIM support. The bottom left has a link to the Mushkin website and a notation about the drive being assembled in the United States.
Once you remove the outer packaging sleeve, you have what looks like a book inside. By flipping this open to the first "page" of dense foam, you have the included 2.5 to 3.5 inch drive bay adapter for mounting the Callisto inside your chassis. Under this is the drive and yet further down into the layers of foam are the screws for mounting the drive.
With everything pulled out, you have the drive mounting screws and the 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch adapter - this being something more manufacturers are including with its 2.5 inch drives. It just makes installing them an easy task, rather than trying to find an adapter or cobbling something up. It is simple and sleek to match the Callisto drive.
The first look shows that you have a 2.5 inch form factor drive with an added adapter. But it's not what goes on outside the drive that makes a difference in performance, but what's inside - a Sandforce-equipped drive with an "Enhanced" firmware for increased performance. Let's see if it delivers.