Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB SSD Review
Some companies make a concerted effort to be the first to market with the latest technology and deal with any issues as they pop up while others prefer to sit back and wait until all the problems have been ironed out. Mushkin fits into the latter category and as a result, they have become known for producing stable, long lived products. Their entry into the current SATA 6 market has followed their hallmark measured approach but the end result may be something unique.
Mushkin’s Chronos lineup is composed of two separate product ranges: the Deluxe and the standard version. They both use the same SandForce SF2281 controller but the Deluxe uses high performance but expensive Toggle Mode NAND while its lower priced sibling uses ONFI 2 modules.
At face value, the Chronos Deluxe 120GB isn’t all that much different from a number of SF2281-based drives we have seen over the last few months. However, like many other Mushkin products its price is what really sets it apart from the competition. At around $255 it can still be considered a premium drive but the Chronos is actually less expensive than similar products like the Patriot Wildfire 120GB and OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS.
Much like the Callisto before it, the Chronos Deluxe 120GB comes clad in a charcoal gray case which means it won’t stand out in most enclosures. While not necessarily the most striking design choice we have seen recently, it is a durable all metal case that is more than adequate in the aesthetics department.
The interior architecture of this drive makes it look like Mushkin das taken the same approach that Patriot with the Wildfire 120GB with one entire side of the PCB (eight ICs) completely bereft of any NAND modules. All eight NAND chips reside on one side and the SF2281 controller itself is housed on the other side of the board. This means the 8 NAND chips are the same capacity and similar type as the ones found in most 240GB drives.
The eight ICs are Toshiba branded, 32nm Asynchronous Toggle Mode MLC NAND and are the same as those found in the Patriot Wildfire 120GB. While Toggle Mode 1.0 NAND which has a slightly slower interface speed of 133MB/s compared to 200MB/s for ONFi 2.x NAND.
Unlike the 40GB Callisto we reviewed, the Mushkin Chronos includes a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter; but does not include any additional accessories.
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