As is typical with this generation of SandForce drives, the final capacity available to the user on the 120GB Chronos MX is 111GB (technically GiB) as reported in Windows. This includes the 7% spare area and the perceived lost capacity when converting from the physical measure in GB to the virtual measure in GiB. The spare area is reserved by the manufacturer to allow unmolested NAND to be available to the controller for drive maintenance, wear-leveling and the handling of expended flash cells. All of this maximizes drive life and typically the greater the spare area, the longer the lifespan.
So here we are faced with yet another SF-2281 powered SSD – I think this makes number 17. The market is flush with them. As such, there’s really nothing ground-breaking we are going to be able to drop on our readers in our reflection on how the Chronos MX testing went. By and large, performance was very good and on par with the better SF-2281 drives on the market. We weren’t exactly expecting anything groundbreaking and we got what we expected.
As we mentioned in the introduction, the MX model is only currently available in the 120GB capacity. Right now, this is the sweet spot for price/capacity. The current pricing we found online lists the drive at $119 USD which is roughly $0.92 per usable GB. As NAND prices continue to fall, we are seeing some drives as low as $0.70 per usable GB but those are typically the more budget oriented models which is not the category the Chronos MX falls into and strikes more of a balance between performance and cost.
In the packaging, Mushkin placed a card giving customers the support number to call with questions/problems along with a quote which embodies their customer service philosophy. Nice touch. When all is said and done, the Mushkin Chronos MX is a fine drive that can hang with the best of them. Unfortunately, that can also be said for a lot of drives these days due to the glut of SF-2281 drives on the market and there’s little to make any one of them really stand out. That’s basically where we fall with the Chronos MX – it gets lost in the crowd although we can’t fault Mushkin for getting in on the SandForce train. In this economy, prospective customers are going to ultimately land on the drive carrying the lowest price tag and/or with the most extras unless they really have a loyalty towards a particular brand. We eagerly look forward towards the next round of controllers and the advancements that competition breeds.
Legit Bottom Line: While there’s certainly nothing negative we can say about the Mushkin Chronos MX 120GB, there’s also very little we can say that sets this drive apart from its peers. It’s a solid offering, worthy of your consideration if you can wade through the legions of SF-2281 drives available without getting distracted by the shiny.