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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage
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 Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

Our performance rating considers how effective the 60GB Mushkin Callisto Deluxe SSD performs in operations against direct competitor SATA storage solutions. For reference, SandForce specifies the SF-1200 at 260 MB/s read and write, while Mushkin increases performance expectations to 285 MB/s read and 275 write. The faster read/write speeds often times push IOPS performance lower in some SandForce SF-1200 drives. In our benchmark tests, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe performed at or above this speed, and occasionally surpassed other SSDs of the same SF-1200 series. For example, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe SSD delivered 279/274 MBps peak read and writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark SSD speed tests, but Everest Disk Benchmark produced 271/257 MB/s, making this one of the fastest SATA-3GBps MLC SSD's Benchmark Reviews has ever tested. The retail MKNSSDCL60GB-DX kit that Mushkin sent for testing uses firmware capable of 50,000 IOPS, yet operational performance measured only 29,086 when tested with Iometer. The Callisto Deluxe series dominates other SSDs lacking SandForce controller technology while delivering impressive bandwidth speed, but didn't deliver nearly the IOPS performance Mushkin suggests. Even with the results we received, enthusiasts can still expect high operational performance and functionality for demanding applications.

SandForce SSDs have taken the market by storm, which has helped companies like Mushkin to expand their reach into the high-performance storage hardware segment. Not only are these SandForce-based solid state drives extremely fast, but more importantly they're capable of SLC-level operational performance I/O and NAND durability. The Mushkin Callisto Deluxe builds from the powerful SandForce SF-1222 solid state processor, which brings innovation to the SSD industry by prolonging MLC NAND flash module lifetime and delivering RAID-like data redundancy. When one SandForce product is physically identical to another, the overall value depends on price, warranty, and customer support. If you're price shopping, a quick stroll through our other recent SandForce SF-1200 product reviews will reveal other SSD options.

Muskin-Callisto-Deluxe-SSD-Splash.jpg

Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Like their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, Solid State Drives are meant to place function before fashion. Anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. Mushkin has created a back-to-basics look with the black textured finish and white branding on their Callisto Deluxe SSD series. As solid state storage controllers become faster and more advanced, heat dissipation through the enclosure walls may demand that chassis designs become more beneficial than they previously needed to be. This isn't the case yet, and the metal chassis suits SandForce SSDs nicely.

Construction is probably the strongest feature credited to any solid state product line, and the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe series is no exception. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses because of their architecture and technology, but the hard metal shell adds a superfluous level of protection. If any Mushkin Callisto Deluxe product happens to fail during the 3-year warranty period, end-users may contact Mushkin via their company website, or the support forums. Conveniently, there's also a toll-free telephone number (800-569-1868) for free technical support and customer service questions. Alternatively, they offer several other contact options.

Benchmark Reviews has tested the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe against many of its closest competitors, and while IOPS performance didn't match their specification the bandwidth speeds were impressive by their own merits. In fact, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe offered faster speeds than most other SSDs, including the OCZ's Vertex 2. High-performance computer enthusiasts will enjoy the a noteworthy 0.14 ms response time, which assures a nearly-instant reactions when called upon. Based on the SATA-3.0 SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH processor, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe SSD series delivers native TRIM garbage collection (in Windows 7) and SMART support with impressive transfer speeds. More importantly, SandForce DuraClass technology adds their proprietary RAISE and DuraWrite features not available to other SSDs, and the end result is a product that could last up to five times longer with less wear on NAND flash modules due to 7% over-provisioning.

As of 01 February 2011, Muskin offers several SSD capacities with an extremely competitive pricing. Newegg sells the following Mushkin Callisto Deluxe solid state drives:

$99.99 40GB MKNSSDCL40GB-DX
$129.99 60GB MKNSSDCL60GB-DX
$179.99 90GB MKNSSDCL90GB-DX
$219.99 120GB MKNSSDCL120GB-DX
$365.99 180GB MKNSSDCL180GB-DX
$449.99 240GB MKNSSDCL240GB-DX

Rating the overall value for Mushkin's Callisto Deluxe SSD series, the online pricing positions these drives as some of the most affordable solid state products in each capacity. While some manufacturer's offer an occasional mail-in rebate, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe usually competes on price without them. With a three-year warranty and toll-free support, there's certainly a lot of positive force behind the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe SSD series.

The 60GB Mushkin Callisto Deluxe solid state drive we tested in this review managed to push bandwidth speed performance to the highest point we've seen from any 2nd-generation SATA-3GB/s drive with Everest/AIDA64. Although it's disappointing to see this drive perform below the suggested IOPS level, the Callisto Deluxe SSD still delivers an exceptionally attractive operational performance (IOPS) reaching past 29K and well-suited for home or small business servers. All Mushkin Callisto Deluxe SSD kits come with a 2.5" into 3.5" converter tray, which desktop computer enthusiasts should welcome. Overall the Callisto Deluxe series gives consumers an excellent value at nearly every capacity, and still keeps the three-year product warranty. For high-performance enthusiasts and hardcore gamers, the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe offers blazing fast transfer speed and excellent operational performance at a fair price.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award for Quality Recognition

+ Delivers 29,086 4K IOPS in Iometer
+ Outstanding 279/274 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
+ SandForce SF-1200 processor supports TRIM, SMART, and RAISE
+ DuraWrite technology extends NAND lifetime
+ Top-level enthusiast operational I/O performance
+ 3-Year Mushkin product warranty
+ Several standard and extended SSD storage capacities
+ AES-128 Automatic encryption and password data protection
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life

Cons:

- Does not approach 50,000 IOPS specified
- Not 3rd-Generation SATA-6.0 compliant
- Lacks integrated USB Mini-B data connection
- Some manufacturers offer five-year warranty

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.25
  • Appearance: 8.75
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.25
  • Value: 7.25

Final Score: 8.80 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.


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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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