Mushkin Chronos 60GB Review

ccokeman - 2011-10-25 18:37:04 in Storage / Hard Drives
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: December 15, 2011
Price: $129.99

Introduction:

Due to semi-recent flooding, HDD prices have gone, and are still, through the roof! While this makes adding some more storage, or replacing a bad drive, a kick in the nuts, it still does some good. That is, it makes the price of SSDs look just a bit friendlier. Sure the prices haven't gone down, but let's say you want to pick up a 1TB drive. These drives are still double the price that they used to be, with enterprise drives being even more expensive. The cheapest 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s drive is $150, but this price will inevitably drop down to what it used to be. Instead of giving in to the increased cost of the mechanical HDD, you could put your money toward an SSD, wait for your next pay check, and then, hopefully, pick up a drive for some extra storage. Of course, for this path to make sense, you'll have to jump on it before HDD's drop in price.

Today we will be looking at a 60GB SSD, the Mushkin Chronos. This drive is priced at a modest $120. This means you could easily pick it up as opposed to that 1TB drive, and then put the $30 you saved toward a larger HDD once the prices become more reasonable. Just like the other SSD's we've looked at, the Mushkin Chronos 60GB is a SATA 3 6Gb/s drive. It is also looking at sequential read and write speeds of 525MB/s and 495MB/s respectively. The SandForce 2281 controller should also give the drive a 4KB random write of 85,000 IOPS. For those of you that worry about an SSD's life span, the Chronos 60GB has a two million hour MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures). So is the Mushkin Chronos 60GB worth the cost? Probably, I mean it's an SSD, if you want your computer to boot up fast, an SSD is the easiest way to do it! However, let's put this drive through the OCC benchmark suite to find out for sure!

Closer Look:

The Chronos 60GB SSD arrived in green and black package, which sported the Mushkin logo in the top left corner. A window is located toward the bottom of the packaging, which will allow you to see the Chronos SSD, as well as its information. Flipping the drive over reveals two advertisements, one for Mushkin memory, and one for Mushkin flash drives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening up the packaging reveals the drive, as well as its 3.5" adapter, nice and snug in a plastic clamshell. The drive's included screws are located in a little baggy, which was taped to the 3.5" adapter.

 

 

So now that we've removed the drive from its packaging, let's take a detailed look at the Mushkin Chronos 60GB SSD by itself!

Closer Look:

The Mushkin Chronos 60GB came enclosed inside a black plastic chassis, which was held together by four screws. Located directly in the center of the chassis is the drive's logo decal. This Decal featured some information about the SSD as well as it's name, model number, firmware revision, as well as that the drive was assembled in the USA. Flipping the drive over reveals a nice and empty underside. In fact, the only thing that occupies the underside are four threaded mounting holes. Four more mounting holes can be found on the drives sides. There is a large square hole in the Mushkin Chronos 60GB's chassis, which will allow you to access the SATA and power connectors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are planning to use the Mushkin Chronos 60GB SSD in a 3.5" drive bay you'll need to utilize the included 3.5" adapter. If this is the case you will attach the drive to the adapter via the four bottom mounting screws. You will than be able to install the Mushkin Chronos in a 3.5" drive bay, the same as you would a larger HDD.

 

 

Removing the Mushkin Chronos 60GB drive from its chassis shows us that it only uses half of the NANDS that its PCB can accommodate. The drive uses eight 25NM 8GB Micron 29F64G08CBAAA NANDS, which are powered by a SandForce 2281 controller.

 

 

 

Last but not least, let's take a quick look at the Mushkin Chronos' Sandforce 2281 8-channel controller. This controller is what gives the drive its SATA 3 6Gb/s, Windows 7 TRIM, and Duraclass technology support.

So now that we've torn the drive apart to see what makes it tick, let's find out how well it performs!

Specifications:

Capacity
60GB
Dimensions:
100.2 x 70.0 x 9.3mm
Temp. Range
0-70C
Read Speed:
Up to 550MB/sec
Write Speed:
Up to 515MB/sec
Shock Tolerance:
1500G
Vibration:
20G Peak, 10-2KHz, 3 axis
MTBF:
2 Million Hours
Controller:
SF-2281
Interface Type:
SATA 3.0 (6Gb/S)
Warranty:
3 years limited
IOPS:
90,000 (4K Random write, 4k aligned)

Features

Testing:

Testing of hard drives can be done in several different ways. One method involves leaving the drive bare and connecting it as a secondary drive in an existing system. By simultaneously cleaning the drive after each benchmark run-through, this allows you to see its theoretical peaks in performance. However, the results would only represent a best case scenario – one that you may never see unless operating a bare drive. The second method, which OverclockersClub employs, involves loading the operating system and benchmarking suite onto the tested drive. This would give performance results that emulate real-world usage more closely. Testing will be completed with the P67-based system listed below, alongside a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit that is updated to SP1 and fully patched as of the date of testing. The latest Intel Rapid Storage technology drivers and software have also been installed. All tests are conducted with the drive connected to a native SATA III 6Gb/s port on the motherboard, in an effort to eliminate any possible bottlenecks with performance.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Drives:

Benchmarks:

  1. HD Tune 4.60 Pro
  2. HD Tach
  3. SiSoft Sandra 2011
  4. Crystal Disk Mark
  5. ATTO Disk Benchmark
  6. AS SSD
  7. I/O Meter
  8. PCMark Vantage
  9. Windows Startup / Shutdown

Testing:

HD Tune 4.60 Pro measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers. In the 4.60 Pro version, the user can measure not only drive performance as a whole, but run more precise file and random access benchmarks as well.

Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

File Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

Random Access Benchmark:

 

 

 

 

The Mushkin Chronos 60GB SSD, for the most part, performed towards the lower end of the SF-2281 drives. It was however, able to come out as the top drive in the 128K Block Size benchmark!

Testing:

HD Tach v3.0.4.0: HD Tach is another hard drive benchmark utility, much like HD Tune. This benchmark measures the average read speed, random access time, and CPU utilization during operation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SiSoft Sandra 2009 SP3: SiSoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. It allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful.

 

 

The Mushkin Chronos, once again, performed toward the lower end of the SF-2281 drives.

Testing:

Crystal Disk Mark 3.0: Crystal Disk Mark is a hard drive benchmark designed to measure the read and write speeds of drives by using 4k blocks, 512k blocks, and sequential data. For the test, we chose the 1000MB option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time around the Mushkin Chronos 60GB SSD's performance was at a level indicative of it architecture. In just about every benchmark it performed toward the lower end of the SSD's.

Testing:

Atto Disk Benchmark v2.34: Atto Disk Benchmark is another aged, but good hard drive benchmark utility designed to test read and write speeds for different file sizes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time around we saw some slightly better performance from the Mushkin Chronos, but it still performed toward the lower end of the scale.

Testing:

AS SSD v1.1.3466.29641: AS SSD is a benchmark specifically designed to test the speed of solid state drives. However, it also works for traditional hard drives. It is designed to measure the read and write speeds, as well as access times for set block sizes. It also assigns a score to the read, write, and overall performance of the drive.






 

 

 

 






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mushkin Chronos once again performed at a level that is less than expected but well within its capabilities due to the lower density of the NAND used.

Testing:

IOMeter is an I/O subsystem measurement and characterization tool for single and clustered systems. It was originally developed by the Intel Corporation and announced at the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) on February 17, 1998. Since then, it has seen widespread use within the industry.





 

 

 

 









 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mushkin Chronos 60GB SSD's performance picked up in the IO meter benchmark, placing it, once again, toward the center of our charts.

Testing:

PCMark Vantage: With this benchmark, I will be running the hard drive test suite. The measurement for the hard drive suite will be the total score, then the scoring for each test will be broken down. There are a total of eight hard drive tests within PCMark Vantage and all eight will be run to gauge the performance of each drive tested.




















 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mushkin Chronos once again offered performance which placed it in the middle of our charts.

Testing:

In the world of computing, everyone likes a computer that can start up and shut down quickly. The ability to boot into your system as fast as possible allows you to start the tasks you set out to do that much quicker. Not to mention that the older you get, the greater the chance you'll forget what you wanted to use the computer for in the first place! The sweet spot is about 30 seconds or less. It is possible with conventional hard drives, though very difficult to attain this "golden" 30-second time. This should be easier with the speed of an SSD, but the only way to tell is to test it out. To run these tests, I used a stopwatch to calculate the number of seconds it took from pressing the power button on the case, to having a fully-functioning desktop. For the shut down test, I began timing from the click of the shut down button in the start menu, and stopped when the system power was off.




 

 

 

 

 






 

 

 

The Mushkin Chronos lagged behind the other SSDs in both startup and shutdown times. It was however considerably faster than a mechanical drive.

Conclusion

I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again. If you want to give your computer a nice speed boost then throw an SSD into the mix. Doing so will cost you a decent chunk of change, but it will also give you a very noticeable performance increase. Due to the recent increase in HDD prices the price difference between an SSD and an HDD doesn't look as bad. You won't however, get as much storage space from an SSD as you'd get from an HDD. With that being said, if you're currently thinking of adding another HDD to your rig, especially due to the current prices, I'd suggest putting that money towards an SSD instead. The reason being is because you'll give yourself a very nice performance increase, plus, the added space, no matter how small, should be able to tide you over until HDD prices return to normal.

If you're looking for an SSD, whatever the reason, you'll have to decide how much you actually want to spend. For just over $100 you can pick up a smaller SSD that will get the job done; however, if you want to throw more money into the mix then you'll be able to pick up a larger drive. Not only that, but the larger SSD's tend to perform better than the smaller ones just based on the lower density of the NAND flash memory. If you're in the market for one of the more affordable SSD's Mushkin has an offering for you! For just $120 you'll be able to pick up a 60GB Mushkin Chronos SSD. At 60GB and less usable space after formatting a small drives capacity is definitely a down side with the size of games and operating systems with restore features enabled; however, you'll easily be able to fit your OS as well as a decent amount of games/programs on it. In reality, this is all you really should be putting on the SSD anyway, so don't let the small size turn you away.

I was slightly disappointed by the performance offered by the Mushkin Chronos. While it was definitely faster than a mechanical drive, it had trouble keeping up with other drives utilizing a SF-2281 controller. In some ways this performance difference should have been expected, after all the density of the NAND flash is lower driving performance to a lower level. Paired with higher density NAND Flash as in a 120GB or 240GB drive the performance should scale easily to the levels of their competitors, seen by the parity in the read/write performance of the Sandforce equipped drives. Anyway let's move on to some of the good things that Mushkin delivers with the 60GB Chronos Solid State Drive. The Mushkin Chronos 60GB SSD still does offer good read and write performance for its price, especially when compared to mechanical drives. The drive also utilizes the SATA III 6Gb/s interface as well as a Sandforce 2281 controller. For those still using the SATA II 3Gb/s interface the drive is backwards compatible, although you will take a performance it. In the end I'd say that the Mushkin Chronos is a decent SSD, and well worth its cost.

 

Pros

 

Cons