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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 01 February 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Mushkin Callisto Deluxe Solid State Drive
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Mushkin Callisto Deluxe
SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD
Mushkin Callisto Deluxe Conclusion

Mushkin Callisto Deluxe SSD Review

SandForce-driven SSDs continue to be the hot ticket for solid state technology into 2011, offering outstanding bandwidth speed and operational performance at an affordable price. SandForce RAISE technology provides redundant protection for single SSD computer systems, while data is automatically secured with AES-128 encryption. SandForce's SF-1200 storage controller has already found its way into many of the fastest SSDs available, paving the way for Mushkin to utilizes the SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH processor in their Callisto Deluxe MLC SSD series. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the 60GB Mushkin Callisto Deluxe MKNSSDCL60GB-DX against some of the most popular storage devices available. Our benchmark tests will demonstrate that 4K IOPS performance is more important than speed for high-power computer users.

Over the past two years, Solid State Drive storage devices have become the a must-have item for high-performance computer enthusiasts. Impartial towards either PC, Linux, or Apple platforms, SSDs have the power to transform slow computers into blazing-fast speed machines. The SandForce SF-1200 has quickly become the de facto SSD controller for companies seeking recognition, and for good reason. The Mushkin Callisto Deluxe embraces the SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH processor, and according to Mushkin it can produce up to 50,000 IOPS with only 7% over-provisioning to generate maximum performance with optimal capacity.

Just when PCs were starting to seem irrelevant in this fast-paced world of mobile gadgets and smart phones, along comes a new product that changes the entire landscape. SSDs, or more formally Solid State Drives, have finally lifted computers beyond the age of spinning metal magnetic platters. Delivering a boost in speed that no memory upgrade or new processor could ever dream of, solid state drive technology has sent hard disk drives packing. Mushkin Enhanced, an enthusiast memory, flash, and power supply company, further commits to their passion for high-speed storage and delivers the Callisto Deluxe. Based on the SandForce SF1200 controller, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe SSD delivers up to 285 MB/s read bandwidth and 275 MB/s write speeds. Best of all, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe comes with a three-year warranty to protect the consumer whenever trouble might occur.

Muskin-Callisto-Deluxe-SSD-Splash.jpg

For decades, the slowest component in any computer system was the hard drive. Most modern processors operate within approximately 1-ns (nanosecond = one billionth of one second) response time, while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning desktop storage products exhibit a 9,000,000 ns - or 9 ms (millisecond = one thousandth of one second) initial response time. In more relevant terms, The processor receives the command and waits for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; which is usually the hard drive.

The theoretical goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor, and the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, just consider that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.

Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap. The difference a SSD makes to operational reaction times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their HDD counterparts. The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiast make with regard to SSD technology is grading them based on bandwidth speed. File transfer speeds are important, but only so long as the operational IOPS performance can sustain that bandwidth under load. Benchmark Reviews tests the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe SSD against some of the most popular storage devices available, and demonstrate that 4K IOPS performance and a quick response time is more important than a bandwidth speed rating.

Manufacturer: Mushkin, Inc.
Product Name: Mushkin Callisto Deluxe
Model Number: MKNSSDCL60GB-DX
Price As Tested: $129.99 at Newegg (as of 01/31/11)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Mushkin.

Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance

As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: bandwidth determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and operational IOPS performance is how fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.

For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: Muskin Callisto Deluxe Solid State DriveRobert17 2011-02-01 23:37
Well thanks again Olin. Nice review. The more SSDs you test, the more crowded the competition becomes to the advantage of the end user. All is well in the SSD-verse. (PS, forgot the site, but I did see a "sale" item on an SSD, 64Gb @ $84 last week. $$ Looking better all the time.)
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# Waiting,.......RealNeil 2011-02-02 07:06
Good look at SSD's. Thanks for your time and effort putting this all together Olin. I'll refer back to this info when I'm ready to buy more of these drives. I'm still waiting for SSD Prices to come down a little more. I only have one of them, an OCZ Agility-2 that is seriously fast, but I can't afford to put one in the other computers yet.

Maybe SSD makers could learn a lesson from Amazon, whereby they lowered the prices of their Kindle Readers and then had the very best sales and profits that they have ever recorded in the last quarter of 2010.
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# Garbage collection (of words)Ron 2011-02-02 16:58
I would re-check your facts about GC being as bad as defragging aN SSD drive. Yes, it will add some extra wear, but this would be nothing on the order of a full defrag. When these drives are used in a situation where TRIM is not available, then GC is the only solution available. I am very wary of their speeds when in a "dirty" state, and how a normal home desktop user would really be affected. I think cheap Slow long lasting SSD would be great(direct competitor to hard drive) simply for the Noise, power and space requirements. £/GB equality.
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