Final Words

The more SM2246EN based SSDs I review, the more I'm convinced that Silicon Motion is becoming a very serious player in the controller market. Despite the use of 16nm NAND, the Reactor is an excellent performer and it also proves that the SM2246EN can handle 1TB of NAND without a hitch (whereas some controllers struggle with high capacities). The power efficiency is also great thanks to slumber power support, making the Reactor a viable option for laptops as well (which was a concern I had with the Transcend SSD370 that we reviewed last week).

My biggest criticism is the fact that Mushkin doesn't offer any lower capacities. In the end, a 1TB SSD will still set you back by over $350, which is why the majority of people are more interested in 128-512GB SSDs. As I mentioned on the introduction page, I suspect this has to do with the limited availability of Micron's 16nm NAND, but once the supply gets better Mushkin should have no problems bringing additional capacities to the market. On the other hand, the 1TB-class SSD market certainly needs more players because there aren't that many models available and only a couple that are value-oriented, so I'm also happy to see that Mushin chose a segment that isn't too crowded yet.

Furthermore, the lack of hardware encryption (TCG Opal 2.0 & eDrive) and software toolbox are also notable shortcomings, but neither of these is critical. Hardware encryption isn't very widely used among consumers due to the lack of freeware software and education, so especially for a value drive like the Reactor it's not a very big deal. As for the toolbox, I would certainly like to see one as it offers the end-user an easy way to monitor the drive, but most of the toolbox functionality can be replaced by freeware software if needed.

Amazon Price Comparison (2/9/2015)
Mushkin Reactor $390
Transcend SSD370 $400
Samsung SSD 850 EVO  $390
Samsung SSD 850 Pro $610
SanDisk Extreme Pro $479
SanDisk Ultra II $390

The pricing of the Reactor is very competitive. It's among the cheapest 1TB-class SSDs around, although right now there are two other SSDs (850 EVO & Ultra II) that are priced exactly the same. Out of these three, the 850 EVO would be my number one pick because it's the fastest and has by far the most extensive feature set, but in the past it has been retailing for around $450. I'm not sure whether the current price is due to a sale or if it's a permanent change, but in any case it's the best 1TB SSD deal around at the moment. That said, if the price of the 850 EVO goes up to $450 again, the Reactor will become a better choice because despite the performance and features I don't find the 850 EVO to be worth $60 more.

Either way, the Reactor is without a doubt one of the best value 1TB SSDs around and deserves a recommendation from us. Its performance is good regardless of how intensive the workload is and the performance doesn't come at the cost of power efficiency. To be frank, if I was on a lookout for an affordable 1TB SSD, the Reactor would be one of the first drives I would look at.

Power Consumption
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  • prime2515103 - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    Is it just me or are SSD review getting really boring? Every time I see a new one I think, "Maybe something new and exciting this time..." but it never happens. I think SATA needs to be put to rest.
  • piroroadkill - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    Yeah, SATA3 is making everything boring as hell now.
  • ddriver - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    That's a limiting factor only on sequential access. There is still huge potential to be harnessed for random access, but nobody seems to be in a hurry to boost IOPS.
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    SATA, or more accurately AHCI, is the limit when it comes to IOPS/latency.
  • cm2187 - Friday, February 13, 2015 - link

    I can only talk for myself but personally I could use more size than speed. There is very little of what I do that would give me a different experience at twice the speed of the current SSD specs. But give me a 4TB SSD as cheap as 6TB HDD are today and now I can replace all these spinning disks.
  • 0ldman79 - Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - link


    I might keep a couple of mechanical drives, but I'd love for the price to be closer to the mechanical drives for the capacity.

    Too bad that's not the way our market works in much of anything these days.
  • Solandri - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    PCIe actually doesn't make that big a difference. Your perception of how fast/slow things are is in terms of seconds you have to wait. These benchmarks are in MB/s which is the inverse of your perception. If you plot these benchmarks correctly in sec/MB, all these SSDs are pretty much the same, and the PCIe SSDs only give you a small fraction of the speedup you got going from SATA2 to SATA3. e.g. Imagine you need to read 1000 MB.

    10 sec = 100 MB/s HDD
    4 sec = 250 MB/s SATA2 SSD (6 sec improvement)
    2 sec = 500 MB/s SATA 3 SSD (2 sec improvement)
    1.25 sec = 800 MB/s PCIe SSD (0.75 sec improvement)
  • nathanddrews - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    This is very true, but doesn't make me want it less. :-D

    What kills me is the lack of "affordable" 2TB+ drives. How is that we go from $400 for 1TB in a 2.5" drive to $1,500-$4,000 for 2TB? I expected that all these die shrinks and 3D technologies would have made 2TB+ SSDs possible in the ~$700-$900 space, but there's nothing to buy! FFS, what gives?
  • DanNeely - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    It's a giant game of chicken, and no one wants to be the first to kick over the enterprisy pricing gravy train. We saw the same thing a few years ago when 512TB drives started at $350 but the cheapest 1TB ones were well north of $1k.

    At the risk of sounding overly cynical; I suspect the first vendor to blink will be whoever is first to either get the higher nand density or the 32 chip controller needed to make a 4TB flash drive in a 2.5" form factor.
  • Cogman - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    Mostly it comes down to demand. Nobody is really demanding 2TB SSD drives. As a result, there is little competition and little incentive to make a $800 drive (even though it is totally feasible).

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