With the storage manufacturer space becoming more and more competitive, users are getting spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing storage options for their PCs or laptops. For those looking for the ultimate speed when it comes to storage, PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSDs are currently the best pick for supported motherboards, offering excellent read/write speeds and varying capacities.
Mushkin’s latest offering comes in the form of the Gamma PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, which the company is hoping to pitch to gamers and those that require blazing fast read/write speeds or incredibly short bootup times. It’s a drive that’s also great for heavy multimedia work such as Adobe Premiere Pro, as the drive can handle moving 4k footage around very easily.
Price wise, you’re looking at $499.99 (around 25¢ per gigabyte) for a 2TB model which we’re reviewing here – a 1TB model is also on offer for $259.99 (around 26¢ per gigabyte) if you prefer. That’s priced quite reasonably, considering the WD Black SN850 retails at $529.99, but falls short of the Samsung 980 Pro which is priced at $429.99 - all for the 2TB models.
Here’s how the Mushkin Gamma PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
CrystalDiskMark Sequential: 7,101.61MB/s (read); 6,812.27MB/s (write)
CrystalDiskMark Random Q32: 2,700.58MB/s (read); 5,148.33MB/s (write)
10GB file transfer: 4.59 seconds
10GB folder transfer: 8.22 seconds
PCMark10 SSD: 2,961 points
At that price point you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got a PCIe 4.0 motherboard to take advantage of those fast read/write speeds. While the Gamma PCIe M.2 SSD is backwards compatible with PCIe 3.0 slots, it’s a waste of money to buy such an expensive drive and get slower speeds. There’s definitely more affordable PCIe 3.0 drives that you can grab from Mushkin themselves, so make sure you’re checking compatibility with your motherboard first.
The drive comes with a 5-year warranty and the TBW (terabytes written) is set to 1,400, which is a number that most users won’t even come close to. A Phison E18 controller is set on the drive’s board, utilizing 3D TLC flash. There’s no heatsink included with the drive, so it’s up to you to decide if you want to attach one or not as the drive can run up to 60C during heavy use.
Mushkin includes its Enhanced Data Protection Suite firmware that has support for hardware encryption, temperature monitoring, power management, and overall protection features to ensure data does not get corrupted in any way. Mushkin quotes the drive at max sequential read/write speeds of 7175MB/s and 6800MB/s respectively, which is an impressive speed boost over PCIe 3.0 SSDs.
Performance-wise, the Gamma PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD did quite well in our tests. Our CrystalDiskMark tests matched Mushkin’s speeds for this drive, and overall performance with file copying in Windows was quite quick as well. You’ll definitely want to use this drive if you’re working with heavy read/write programs, such as editing footage in Adobe Premiere Pro. Gaming also got a significant boost for load times such as Destiny 2 and Borderlands 3, so this is also a great option as a secondary (and fast) storage drive.
Buy it if…
You need fast transfer speeds
There’s no beating a PCIe 4.0 drive, so if speed is important to you, then this drive easily ticks that box.
Don’t buy it if…
You don’t have a compatible motherboard
While you can technically use this drive in a PCIe 3.0 slot, you’ll be running at much slower speeds.
You’re on a budget
There are certainly cheaper models available on the market, so if price is your deciding factor, then you may have to look elsewhere.