Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review

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Today we are looking at two Solid State drives from Mushkin, the Chronos Deluxe 120GB and the Chronos 240GB. Both drives use the Sandforce 2281 controller, however the 120GB ‘Deluxe’ model uses expensive 3Xnm Toshiba Toggle Mode Flash.

Both drives are competitively priced in the United Kingdom today, however you pay a premium for the 120GB Deluxe model, it costs £143.99 inc vat from Aria, while the 240GB is only around £15 more expensive, at £159.95 inc vat.

Much of the additional cost is due to the higher grade NAND memory which should give better incompressible data performance. We will look at this later in the review.

first page11 Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review

Chronos Deluxe 120GB Solid State Drive
Capacity:    120GB
Dimensions:    100.2 x 70.0 x 9.3mm
Read Speed:    up to 560MB/sec
Write Speed: up to 515MB/sec
Shock Tolerance: 1500G
Vibration:    20G Peak, 10-2kHz, 3 axis
MTBF:    2 million hours
Warranty:    3 years limited

Chronos 240GB Solid State Drive
Capacity:    240GB
Dimensions: 100.2 x 70.0 x 9.3mm
Read Speed: up to 560MB/sec
Write Speed: up to 525MB/sec
Shock Tolerance: 1500G
Vibration:    20G Peak, 10-2kHz, 3 axis
MTBF:    2 million hours
Warranty:    3 years limited

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The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB ships in a lovely green and black package with the product highlighted behind a clear plastic protective cover.

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Inside is a 3.5 inch adapter bay, a support call number (which is a US number) and some mounting screws.

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The chassis is metal, finished in dark grey. the front sticker contains all the relevant information, including capacity. This is a 120GB model, although there are also 60GB, 240GB and 480GB versions available.

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The Sandforce 2281 controller can be seen in the image above left (marked ‘SF-2281VB1-SDC’). This specific drive uses high grade 3Xnm Toshiba Toggle Mode NAND. This is high performance NAND memory which should give fantastic performance with both incompressible and compressible data.

On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit Kitguru.net as the owner/source.

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This is the ‘non deluxe’ Chronos 240GB drive, which can be reflected by the sticker of the drive itself. It is plain black and not a gradient style green.

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The bundle includes a 3.5 inch bay adapter and mounting screws. They also include a support card which has a American phone number on it.

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The Chronos 240GB drive looks almost identical to the 120GB Deluxe version. The sticker colour is different.

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This drive uses NAND flash memory, marked ’29F16B08 CAME1′. This is actually Intel NAND which we have seen used before in other drives, such as the ADATA S511. It is good memory, but we noticed that it tended to suffer a little when dealing with incompressible data.

As many already know Sandforce controllers use real time compression. The controllers store a ‘representation’ of your data, not the actual data itself which is achieved by creating a partition of the available NAND flash memory.

On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit Kitguru.net as the owner/source.

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For testing, the drives are all wiped and reset to factory settings by HDDerase V4. We try to use free or easily available programs and some real world testing so you can compare our findings against your own system.

This is a good way to measure potential upgrade benefits.

Main system:

CPU: Intel Core i7 2700k
Cooler: Thermaltake Frio OCK
Motherboard: Asus P8P67 Deluxe
Memory: ADATA DDR3 2000mhz 9-11-9-24
PSU: ADATA 1200W
Graphics: Sapphire HD6950 Flex Edition
Chassis: Thermaltake Level 10 GT
Operating System: Windows 7 64 bit Enterprise
Monitor: Dell U2410

Other Drives (used in Core i7 2700k system above):
Kingston HyperX 3k 120GB
OCZ Vertex 4 512GB
Transcend SSD720 128GB
Kingston SSDNow V+200 90GB
OCZ Octane 512GB (V1.13 fw)
Mach Xtreme MX-DS Turbo 120GB
Corsair Performance Pro 256GB
Samsung 830 Series 512GB
Patriot Pyro SE 240GB
Patriot Wildfire 240GB
MemoRight FTM Plus 240GB SSD
Patriot Pyro 120GB SSD
OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 480GB
Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD OCZ Agility 3 240GB
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB
OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS 240GB
ADATA S511 240GB
Intel 510 120GB
Corsair F100 100GB
OCZ Vertex 2 120GB
Crucial Real SSD C300 64GB
MemoRight FTM.25 115GB SSD
Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB

PCIe drives test system:

OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid 1TB HDD/SSD &
OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 480GB

Test System:
CPU: Intel Core i7 990x @ 4.8ghz
Cooler: Corsair H100 Performance Liquid Cooler
Motherboard: Asus Rampage III Black Edition
Memory: 12GB Kingston DDR3 @ 1600mhz 9-9-9-24
PSU: ADATA 1200W
Graphics: Nvidia GTX580
Chassis: Lian Li X2000F
Operating System: Windows 7 64 bit Enterprise
Monitor: Dell U2410

Software:
Atto Disk Benchmark
CrystalMark
AS SSD
PCMark 7
IOMeter
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call Of Pripyat

All our results were achieved by running each test five times with every configuration this ensures that any glitches are removed from the results. Trim is confirmed as running by typing fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify into the command line. A response of disabledeletenotify =0 confirms TRIM is active.

Crystalmark is a useful benchmark to measure theoretical performance levels of hard drives and SSD’s. We are using V3.0.1 x64.

crystaldiskmark2 Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review

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4K QD32 performance is quite good from both drives, hitting a mid pack position in our table.

This is the default test, which presents each drive with incompressible data.

The sequential results above indicate that the Toshiba 3Xnm NAND Flash is a significantly better performer in the 120GB Chronos Deluxe 120GB, when compared against the Intel memory in the plain Chronos 240GB. This goes some way in explaining the huge price differences between both drives.

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When we enable the compressible data mode, otherwise known as ’0×00′ we can see the huge differences in performance for both products, particularly the 240GB Chronos drive.

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Above, some included compares from other leading solid state drives which we have reviewed in recent months.

The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

atto disk benchmark Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review

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Both drives are close to the top of the chart, peaking at around 555-557MB/s Read and 528-532MB/s write. Excellent results.

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Some comparison results from other leading products available on the market today.

AS SSD is a great free tool designed just for benching Solid State Drives. It performs an array of sequential read and write tests, as well as random read and write tests with sequential access times over a portion of the drive. AS SSD includes a sub suite of benchmarks with various file pattern algorithms but this is difficult in trying to judge accurate performance figures.

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The Chronos 240GB suffers a little with the sequential read test, due to the fact this benchmark suite only uses incompressible data. The 120GB Chronos Deluxe scores much better, averaging 474 MB/s. The overall results for both drives are around the mid table point.

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Above, a series of results from some of the competing drives we have tested in the last couple of months.

PCMark 7 includes 7 PC tests for Windows 7, combining more than 25 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. Specifically designed to cover the full range of PC hardware from netbooks and tablets to notebooks and desktops, PCMark 7 offers complete PC performance testing for Windows 7 for home and business use.

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The PCMark 7 results are interesting, we can see some gains from the Chronos Deluxe 120GB drive, specifically from the ‘Starting Applications’ test.

IOMeter is another open source synthetic benchmarking tool which is able to simulate the various loads placed on hard drive and solid state drive technology.

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We use a custom Kitguru configuration for 4k random write to measure performance. We use the same test, but for random read performance also.

iometer Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review

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Both drives deliver great results with the 4k random write test, scoring between 55,000 and 58,000 IOPS. The larger 240GB drive scores better with the 4k read test, around 35,000 IOPS.

It doesn’t matter how good any of the synthetic suites are, the real meat of the testing has to be under absolute real world conditions. This proves difficult as to record results we have to narrow down fluctuation. Therefore while we would say these are the most useful results to get from this review, there is always going to be a slight margin for error – its not absolutely scientific.

Firstly we installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Edition onto each of the drives and performed a clean update from Microsoft with all patches and security fixes. We then install a basic suite of software, such as Office, Firefox and Adobe Design, then we install AVG free antivirus. We used a digital watch for this startup and repeated the test five times for each drive – once we had these five results we averaged the results and took that for the final figure.

windows 7 boot time Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review

The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB scored 22 seconds, alongside the Patriot Wildfire 120GB, which is a great result. The larger 240GB drive was a repeatable 1 second slower, scoring 23 seconds.

stalker Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review

The Mushkin Chronos 240GB completed the load in 19 seconds, which was a second slower than the smaller Deluxe version, which took 18 seconds. Hard to tell the difference in the real world, but repeatable results in our labs.

The market today is flooded with Sandforce 2281 powered Solid State drives, so much of the buying decision has to be clearly based on the pricing.

The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB is definitely the faster of the two drives, being equipped with expensive 3Xnm Toshiba Toggle Mode Flash. It performs exceptionally well with both incompressible and compressible data and if you need a drive that will cope with all kinds of data files then it proves to be a wise buying decision. It is priced around the £145 mark in the United Kingdom.

The Mushkin Chronos 240GB is certainly no slouch either, however due to the lower cost NAND memory it can struggle with incompressible data, dropping to around 220MB/s-260MB/s during sequential read and write testing. The Deluxe 120GB by comparison scores around 465 MB/s in a sequential read test.

The Sandforce 2281 controller has been the market leader for a very long time, but it has been superseded by OCZ’s Vertex 4, which we reviewed in April. This new design has revolutionised the performance sector delivering class leading results with both incompressible and compressible data. The 128GB drive has dropped in pricing to £106.79, which is unbelievable. If you want a lightning fast drive at this size there is no better deal right now.

aria conclusion page image4 Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review

Both of the Mushkin Chronos drives are competitively priced, although the 120GB Deluxe model is significantly more expensive. ARIA are stocking it for £139.99 inc vat. We would like to see this drop to around £125 inc vat before we would give it a higher score.

The Chronos 240GB drive seems a slightly better deal to us, there is no doubt it can’t compete head to head with the ‘Deluxe’ model in regards to performance, however it is only £10 extra with twice the capacity. ARIA are stocking it for £149.99 inc vat.

Pros:

  • Sandforce 2281 controller is still very fast.
  • Good IOPS performance from both drives.
  • Deluxe version is strong with incompressible data.

Cons:

  • A lot of competition in this sector.
  • 120GB ‘deluxe’ model could be priced a little better.

Kitguru says: Both are great drives, and the price is right for the 240GB model. The OCZ Vertex 4 however is in a different league. Sandforce need to update their controller to truly compete now.

WORTH BUYING8 300x300 Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD Review, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
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