Anyone in the market for high capacity 8 TB M.2 drives has so far only had one choice on the market. Today Mushkin is coming in as the second vendor to offer an 8TB M.2 NVMe option, with its new ALPHA series of drives. These drives use the same Phison E12S controller and high capacity NAND as those also available on the market, but Mushkin rates its drives slightly differently to the competition.
One of the ways the storage market has amazed me in the last few years is capacity. While physical rotating spinning rust is at 16 TB or 18 TB and perhaps approaching 24 TB next year, we’ve seen storage drives in similar form factors reach 64 TB and 100 TB without too much trouble. The enterprise is where we see some of those crazy SSD capacities using TLC and QLC, hence the existence of NimbusData and competitors, but the nous that goes into these products trickles down into the prosumer space, where there is demand but at a more palatable cost/GB ratio.
The question is always one of control and cost, and NAND is still more expensive than rotating iron oxides. Consumer grade NVMe SSDs are hovering around the $100/TB mark, depending on the brand, performance, and if it’s in a sale, making high-speed storage a very attractive offer. For the high-capacity prosumer NVMe options, we’ve historically seen this come down as well, from $1000/TB to $500/TB, and now with these new 8 TB drives, we are solidly looking at below the $200/TB mark. This new Mushkin Alpha 8 TB is going to be available for $1300, which puts it at $162.50 per TB.
Here Mushkin is pairing the Phison E12 controller with QLC NAND, and the PCIe 3.0 x4 interface should allow maximum sequential speeds of 3300 MB/s read and 2800 MB/s write, or up to 550K IOPs read and 680K IOPs write. The fact that this is all within the standard M.2 2280 form factor to me is still amazing, whether it’s from Mushkin or anyone else.
|Mushkin ALPHA Series
|M.2 2280 Double Sided PCIe 3.0 x4
|Micron 1TB 96L 3D QLC ?
|Sequential Read/Write (MB/s)
|3200 / 3000
|3300 / 2800
|Random 4K IOPs Read/Write (MB/s)
|550K / 640K
|550K / 680K
|Power Consumpton Idle/Max (W)
|0.3 / 6.5
|0.3 / 6.5
|3-year Limited Warranty
16.3¢ per GB
16.3¢ per GB
The drive has a 3 year limited warranty, and is rated to 900 TB written, which equates to 0.1 drive writes per day, or 800 GB of writes per day in that timeframe. For those working with 4K video, this is probably not enough, but for business users that need a high capacity drive for their laptop or mobile workstation, it should fit the bill. Mushkin rates the drive at 0.3 W at idle and 6.5 W max. It is worth noting that the 900 TB rating is half of what Sabrent rates its 8TB drive for. This rating is only for the warranty period cover – the drive will still work after these numbers, but it just won’t be replaced by the manufacturer.
The 8 TB drive (and 4 TB variant) will go on sale near the end of January in the US, but the listings are already up on Amazon, with stock expected on January 23rd.