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Mushkin PCIe Gen3 x4 SSDs: Alpha vs. Helix-L vs. Pilot vs. Pilot-E

Mushkin has four M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x4 Solid State Drives with the Alpha, Helix-L, Pilot and Pilot-E. So, what are the main differences between these? You can find out in this comparison guide between the SSDs.

Quick Summary

Out of the Mushkin PCIe Gen3 x4 SSDs, the Alpha version is the only one that offer large capacity options as you can pick between 4 TB or 8 TB. Furthermore, the Mushkin Alpha has much faster maximum random reading and maximum random writing speeds when compared to the Helix-L and Pilot.

On the other hand, the 1 TB and 2 TB Mushkin Pilot-E have the fastest maximum sequential reading speeds. The 2 TB Pilot-E is also the fastest when it comes to maximum sequential writing.

If you are interested, you can purchase any of the aforementioned internal solid state drives on Amazon with the following links:

Alpha vs. Helix-L vs. Pilot vs. Pilot-E Comparison Guide

 Mushkin Alpha Solid State Drive Mushkin Helix-L Solid State Drive Mushkin Pilot Solid State Drive Mushkin Pilot-E Solid State Drive
Form Factor M.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280M.2 2280
Dimensions 80.0 mm x 22.0 mm x 3.8 mm80.0 mm x 22.0 mm x 3.8 mm80.0 mm x 22.0 mm x 3.8 mm80.0 mm x 22.0 mm x 3.8 mm
Capacity Options 4 TB

8 TB
120 GB

250 GB

500 GB

1 TB
120 GB

250 GB

500 GB

1 TB

2 TB
120 GB

250 GB

500 GB

1 TB

2 TB
Memory Components 3D NAND3D TLC3D TLC3D TLC
InterfacesPCIe Gen3 x4 and NVMe 1.3PCIe Gen3 x4 and NVMe 1.3PCIe Gen3 x4 and NVMe 1.3PCIe Gen3 x4 and NVMe 1.3
Controller Phison E12SSilicon Motion SM2263XTSilicon Motion SM2262Silicon Motion SM2262EN
Maximum Sequential Read Speed 4TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 3200 MB per second

8TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 3400 MB per second
120GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 1850 MB per second

250GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 2010 MB per second

500GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 2105 MB per second

1TB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 2110 MB per second
120GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1215 MB per second

250GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 2470 MB per second

500GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 2680 MB per second

1TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 2710 MB per second

2TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 2705 MB per second
120GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 1825 MB per second

250GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3495 MB per second

500GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3500 MB per second

1TB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3500 MB per second

2TB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3500 MB per second
Maximum Sequential Write Speed 4TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 3000 MB per second

8TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 3000 MB per second
120GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 650 MB per second

250GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 1250 MB per second

500GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 1670 MB per second

1TB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 1700 MB per second
120GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 515 MB per second

250GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1000 MB per second

500GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1755 MB per second

1TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1775 MB per second

2TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1600 MB per second
120GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 580 MB per second

250GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 1165 MB per second

500GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 2300 MB per second

1TB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3000 MB per second

2TB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3100 MB per second
Maximum 4KB Random Read Speed 4TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 550,000 IOPS

8TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 550,000 IOPS
120GB Mushkin Helix-L: N/A

250GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 200,000 IOPS

500GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 240,000 IOPS

1TB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 240,000 IOPS
120GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 91,000 IOPS

250GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 179,000 IOPS

500GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 335,000 IOPS

1TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 283,000 IOPS

2TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 283,000 IOPS
120GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

250GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

500GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

1TB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

2TB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
Maximum 4KB Random Write Speed 4TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 640,000 IOPS

8TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 640,000 IOPS
120GB Mushkin Helix-L: N/A

250GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 260,000 IOPS

500GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 260,000 IOPS

1TB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 260,000 IOPS
120GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 133,000 IOPS

250GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 257,000 IOPS

500GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 277,000 IOPS

1TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 280,000 IOPS

2TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 280,000 IOPS
120GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

250GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

500GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

1TB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

2TB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
Seek Time Less than 0.1 msLess than 0.1 msLess than 0.1 msLess than 0.1 ms
General Features Built-in LDPC ECC

End-to-end data path protection

L1.2 power mode

Mushkin Enhanced Data-Protection Suite

NVMe Security Erase

ONFi 2.3, ONFi 3.0, ONFi 3.2 and ONFi 4.0 support

SMART and TRIM commands

Temperature sensor

Upgradeable firmware
Built-in LDPC ECC

Data shaping

End-to-End Data Path Protection

Global Wear-Leveling

Host Memory Buffer (HMB)

L1.2 Power Mode

MEDS (Mushkin Enhanced Data-Protection Suite)

NVMe Deallocate

NVMe Security Erase

SLC Caching

S.M.A.R.T.

StaticDataRefresh

Temperature Sensor

Upgradeable Firmware
Built-in LDPC ECC

L1.2 Power Mode

MEDS (Mushkin Enhanced Data-Protection Suite)

NVMe Deallocate

NVMe Security Erase

SLC Caching

S.M.A.R.T.

Temperature Sensor

Upgradeable Firmware
AES 256-bit Hardware Encryption Self-Encryption Drive (SED)

Built-in LDPC ECC

Data Shaping

End-to-End Data Path Protection

Global Wear-Leveling

Host Memory Buffer (HMB)

L1.2 Power Mode

MEDS (Mushkin Enhanced Data-Protection Suite)

NVMe Deallocate

NVMe Security Erase

SLC Caching

S.M.A.R.T.

StaticDataRefresh

TCG Opal 2.0. GDPR Ready

Temperature Sensor

Upgradeable Firmware
Certifications CE

FCC

RoHS
CE

FCC

RoHS
CE

FCC

RoHS
CE

FCC

RoHS
Operating Temperature 0°C to 70°C0°C to 70°C0°C to 70°C0°C to 70°C
Storage Temperature -40°C to 85°C-40°C to 85°C-40°C to 85°C-40°C to 85°C
Maximum Shock Resistance 1500G1500G1500G1500G
Reliability1,500,000 hours MTBF1,500,000 hours MTBF1,500,000 hours MTBF1,500,000 hours MTBF
Warranty3-year limited warranty3-year limited warranty3-year limited warranty3-year limited warranty
PricingCheck price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.Check price on Amazon.

Form Factor

The Mushkin Alpha, Helix-L, Pilot and Pilot-E solid state drives all use the M.2 2280 form factor.

Dimensions

The four SSDs are the same in terms of size with measurements of 80.0 mm x 22.0 mm x 3.8 mm.

Capacity Options

The Mushkin Alpha is the only SSD out of this group to offer a 4 TB or 8 TB capacity option. The Mushkin Helix-L is available in 120 GB, 250 GB, 500 GB and 1 TB capacities. The Mushkin Pilot and Mushkin Pilot-E are available in 120 GB, 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB capacity options.

You can find a full breakdown of the available capacities for all four products below:

Mushkin Alpha:

  • 4 TB
  • 8 TB

Mushkin Helix-L:

  • 120 GB
  • 250 GB
  • 500 GB
  • 1 TB

Mushkin Pilot:

  • 120 GB
  • 250 GB
  • 500 GB
  • 1 TB
  • 2 TB

Mushkin Pilot-E

  • 120 GB
  • 250 GB
  • 500 GB
  • 1 TB
  • 2 TB

Memory Components

When it comes to memory components, the Mushkin Alpha is equipped with 3D NAND while the Mushkin Helix-L, Mushkin Pilot and Mushkin Pilot-E are equipped with 3D TLC.

Interfaces

The four storage drives in this versus guide use the PCIe Gen3 x4 and NVMe 1.3 interfaces.

Controller

You can take a look at the controller used for each of the four SSDs below:

  • Mushkin Alpha: Phison E12S
  • Mushkin Helix-L: Silicon Motion SM2263XT
  • Mushkin Pilot: Silicon Motion SM2262
  • Mushkin Pilot-E: Silicon Motion SM2262EN

Maximum Sequential Read Speed

When it comes to the maximum sequential read speeds, which were measured internally by Mushkin with the CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2 x64, the 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB versions of the Pilot-E is the fastest out of the group. The 250 GB Pilot-E is the second fastest, followed by the 8 TB Alpha and 4 TB Alpha.

You can check out the max sequential reading speeds below:

  • 4TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 3200 MB per second
  • 8TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 3400 MB per second
  • 120GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 1850 MB per second
  • 250GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 2010 MB per second
  • 500GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 2105 MB per second
  • 1TB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 2110 MB per second
  • 120GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1215 MB per second
  • 250GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 2470 MB per second
  • 500GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 2680 MB per second
  • 1TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 2710 MB per second
  • 2TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 2705 MB per second
  • 120GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 1825 MB per second
  • 250GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3495 MB per second
  • 500GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3500 MB per second
  • 1TB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3500 MB per second
  • 2TB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3500 MB per second

Maximum Sequential Write Speed

As for the maximum sequential write speed, the 2 TB Pilot-E is the fastest. The 1 TB Pilot-E, 4 TB Alpha and 8 TB Alpha are tied for the second fastest.

You can find the max sequential writing specifications below:

  • 4TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 3000 MB per second
  • 8TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 3000 MB per second
  • 120GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 650 MB per second
  • 250GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 1250 MB per second
  • 500GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 1670 MB per second
  • 1TB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 1700 MB per second
  • 120GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 515 MB per second
  • 250GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1000 MB per second
  • 500GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1755 MB per second
  • 1TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1775 MB per second
  • 2TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 1600 MB per second
  • 120GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 580 MB per second
  • 250GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 1165 MB per second
  • 500GB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 2300 MB per second
  • 1TB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3000 MB per second
  • 2TB Mushkin Pilot-E: Up to 3100 MB per second

Maximum 4KB Random Read Speed

Unfortunately, Mushkin did not test the random read speed for the Pilot-E. As for the other three drives, which were tested with the 4-thread IOMeter 1.1 at 128 queue depth per thread, the Mushkin Alpha easily comes out on top.

When you compared the same capacities, the Helix-L is faster than the Pilot at the 250 GB capacity while the Pilot is faster than the Helix-L at the 500 GB and 1 TB capacities.

You can take a look at the random read speeds below:

  • 4TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 550,000 IOPS
  • 8TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 550,000 IOPS
  • 120GB Mushkin Helix-L: N/A
  • 250GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 200,000 IOPS
  • 500GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 240,000 IOPS
  • 1TB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 240,000 IOPS
  • 120GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 91,000 IOPS
  • 250GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 179,000 IOPS
  • 500GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 335,000 IOPS
  • 1TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 283,000 IOPS
  • 2TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 283,000 IOPS
  • 120GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
  • 250GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
  • 500GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
  • 1TB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
  • 2TB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

Maximum 4KB Random Write Speed

Mushkin also did not test the random writing capabilities of the Pilot-E. Of the three solid state drives that were tested, the Mushkin Alpha once again easily has the best maximum random write speeds.

When you compared the similar capacities, the 250 GB Helix-L is faster than the 250 GB Pilot. On the other hand, the 500 GB and 1 TB versions of the Pilot are faster than their equivalent versions of the Helix-L.

You can take a look at the random write speed specifications below:

  • 4TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 640,000 IOPS
  • 8TB Mushkin Alpha: Up to 640,000 IOPS
  • 120GB Mushkin Helix-L: N/A
  • 250GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 260,000 IOPS
  • 500GB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 260,000 IOPS
  • 1TB Mushkin Helix-L: Up to 260,000 IOPS
  • 120GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 133,000 IOPS
  • 250GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 257,000 IOPS
  • 500GB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 277,000 IOPS
  • 1TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 280,000 IOPS
  • 2TB Mushkin Pilot: Up to 280,000 IOPS
  • 120GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
  • 250GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
  • 500GB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
  • 1TB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A
  • 2TB Mushkin Pilot-E: N/A

Seek Time

The four solid state drives in this comparison all have a seek time that is less than 0.1 ms.

General Features

You can find the list of general features for the Mushkin PCIe Gen3 x4 SSDs below:

Mushkin Alpha:

  • Built-in LDPC ECC
  • End-to-end data path protection
  • L1.2 power mode
  • Mushkin Enhanced Data-Protection Suite
  • NVMe Security Erase
  • ONFi 2.3, ONFi 3.0, ONFi 3.2 and ONFi 4.0 support
  • SMART and TRIM commands
  • Temperature sensor
  • Upgradeable firmware

Mushkin Helix-L:

  • Built-in LDPC ECC
  • Data shaping
  • End-to-End Data Path Protection
  • Global Wear-Leveling
  • Host Memory Buffer (HMB)
  • L1.2 Power Mode
  • MEDS (Mushkin Enhanced Data-Protection Suite)
  • NVMe Deallocate
  • NVMe Security Erase
  • SLC Caching
  • S.M.A.R.T.
  • StaticDataRefresh
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Upgradeable Firmware

Mushkin Pilot:

  • Built-in LDPC ECC
  • L1.2 Power Mode
  • MEDS (Mushkin Enhanced Data-Protection Suite)
  • NVMe Deallocate
  • NVMe Security Erase
  • SLC Caching
  • S.M.A.R.T.
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Upgradeable Firmware

Mushkin Pilot-E:

  • AES 256-bit Hardware Encryption Self-Encryption Drive (SED)
  • Built-in LDPC ECC
  • Data Shaping
  • End-to-End Data Path Protection
  • Global Wear-Leveling
  • Host Memory Buffer (HMB)
  • L1.2 Power Mode
  • MEDS (Mushkin Enhanced Data-Protection Suite)
  • NVMe Deallocate
  • NVMe Security Erase
  • SLC Caching
  • S.M.A.R.T.
  • StaticDataRefresh
  • TCG Opal 2.0. GDPR Ready
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Upgradeable Firmware

Certifications

The Mushkin Alpha, Mushkin Helix-L, Mushkin Pilot and Mushkin Pilot-E all received the following certifications:

  • CE
  • FCC
  • RoHS

Operating Temperature

The Alpha, Helix-L, Pilot and Pilot-E storage drives have a recommended operating temperature range from 0°C to 70°C.

Storage Temperature

The Mushkin SSDs also have a recommend non-operating storage temperature range of -40°C to 85°C.

Maximum Shock Resistance

The four solid state drives have the same shock resistance with protection of up to 1500G.

Reliability

The reliability of a Mushkin solid state drive is measured in MTBF, or Mean Time Between Failures. This specification measures how long an SSD is expected to remain functional between two critical hardware failure events. The Alpha, Helix-L, Pilot and Pilot-E versions have the same MTBF of 1,500,000 hours.

Warranty

The Mushkin Alpha, Mushkin Helix-L, Mushkin Pilot and Mushkin Pilot-E each comes with a 3-year limited warranty.

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