As previewed early this year at CES, Mushkin is now launching their first SSDs using 3D NAND flash. The new Reactor ARMOR3D is the replacement for the successful Mushkin Reactor, which held on to its position as one of the most aggressively priced MLC SATA SSDs as the mainstream segment of the market migrated almost entirely to using TLC NAND flash. The value-oriented Mushkin Triactor hasn't been around for quite as long as the Reactor but it too is being upgraded, to use 3D TLC NAND.

The new Mushkin drives continue the pattern of using Silicon Motion SSD controllers, with both new models incorporating the current SM2258 controller. The 3D MLC and 3D TLC NAND comes from Micron, the first flash manufacturer to provide 3D NAND in volume for independent drive manufacturers (Samsung has largely been keeping their 3D NAND for their own SSDs, and the rest are still ramping up production capacity). Both models use the first-generation 32-layer 3D floating gate NAND flash, not the upcoming 64-layer 3D NAND.

The major hardware components of the new Mushkin SSDs make them broadly similar to the ADATA SU800, SU900 and XPG SX950 SATA SSDs, all based on the SM2258 controller and Micron 3D NAND. There may be minor firmware differences between ADATA and Mushkin's offerings and they don't exactly match on overprovisioning ratios and usable capacity, but performance should be broadly similar between drives using the same NAND and similar capacity.

Mushkin has not announced MSRPs, but the usual online retailers should have these drives in stock soon with competitive pricing.

Mushkin Reactor ARMOR3D and Triactor 3D SSDs
Capacity Reactor ARMOR3D Triactor 3D
Capacities 240 GB – 960 GB 512 GB, 1 TB
Controller Silicon Motion SM2258
NAND Flash Micron 3D MLC NAND Micron 3D TLC NAND
Form Factor 2.5" 7mm SATA
Sequential Read Up to 565 MB/s
Sequential Write Up to 510 MB/s Up to 525 MB/s
Random Read IOPS Up to 80k IOPS
Random Write IOPS Up to 80k IOPS Up to 82k IOPS
Pseudo-SLC Caching Supported
DRAM Buffer Yes
TCG Opal Encryption No
Power Management DevSleep
Warranty 3 years
MTBF 1,500,000 hours

Mushkin is initially offering a narrower range of capacities than ADATA, with 240–960GB for the Reactor ARMOR3D, and 512GB and 1TB for the Triactor 3D. Larger capacities are likely to be introduced when NAND prices get back down to reasonable levels, but that may not happen until it's time to move to 64-layer 3D NAND. Mushkin is offering three-year warranties on both new models. ADATA's 3D MLC SATA SSDs come with five and six year warranties, so Mushkin will have to beat them on price.

Mushkin also has their first NVMe SSD in the pipeline. The upcoming Mushkin Helix will pair the Silicon Motion SM2260 controller with Micron 3D MLC NAND, and like these new SATA drives its closest competition will be another ADATA drive, the ADATA SX8000.

Source: Mushkin

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  • BrokenCrayons - Monday, June 12, 2017 - link

    It's nice to see 3D MLC on a SATA controller for those of us with older systems. I haven't owned a Mushkin Reactor in the past, but I'm probably going to be looking for a ~500GB SSD in the next few months so maybe one of these would suffice if the price is reasonable.
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - link

    SATA drives will still be important for the foreseeable future. Heck, in the future high end systems may use a cheaper SATA SSD for mass storage in place of a HDD. You'll have an NVMe M.2 (or PCIe expansion card) SSD for your main drive, and a slower SATA SSD for secondary storage. Yes the speed boost might be a benefit, but to me the main advantages are higher reliability and zero noise/vibration vs a mechanical drive. Good for silent systems. Although suspended (or otherwise heavily decoupled from the chassis) HDDs are pretty darn quiet even under load.

    But the cost/GB still needs to come down substantially before they have a shot at replacing HDDs for secondary storage purposes. SSDs have been getting faster but cost/GB has virtually stalled for a long time.
  • Glock24 - Monday, June 12, 2017 - link

    Why is the MLC drive slower than the TLC one? Are the specs swapped?
  • K_Space - Monday, June 12, 2017 - link

    Could be because of the larger capacity of the TLC drives - (it says up to)?
  • Samus - Monday, June 12, 2017 - link

    It likely comes down to SLC cache trickery.

    The MLC drive will have overall better steady state performance; the TLC drive is just going to burst faster for very short intervals.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, June 12, 2017 - link

    So they go to 3d nand, but dont bother going above 1TB?

    Bit of a swing and a miss there.
  • SunnyNW - Monday, June 12, 2017 - link

    From the article "Larger capacities are likely to be introduced when NAND prices get back down to reasonable levels, but that may not happen until it's time to move to 64-layer 3D NAND."
  • Drumsticks - Monday, June 12, 2017 - link


    ...sigh. It's a mainstream SATA SSD. Why it needs a gamer tag eludes me. Ah well. It's nice to see more 3D MLC showing up in mainstream.
  • Hurr Durr - Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - link

    Because gamers don`t need anything above mainstream SSD, duh.
  • Ej24 - Monday, June 12, 2017 - link

    SO glad to see MLC isn't dead yet. I've been very disheartened by the lack of MLC drive recently. I found a supplier with surplus MX200 drives from Crucial and snapped up 2 1TB drives. The last good SSD Crucial put out. With the current race to the bottom I wouldn't be surprised if we see Quad Level Cell Nand...

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