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Mushkin Helix-L Budget NVMe SSD Review – Best Value

These days, high-performance SSDs for consumers are so attractively priced that finding anything to set one apart from the other is welcome. Now shopping for SSDs has been reduced, mostly, to different price points based on near-identical specs, and warranties—assuming, of course, you’re unwilling to just choose one at random. Thankfully, key SSD manufacturers are kicking off 2019 with small improvements to their lineups, making comparison-shopping more meaningful. Western Digital and Samsung started with its solid WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD, Samsung with 970 EVO Plus and now Mushkin has released the Helix-L. It’s not the best performing drive but it surprised us as it performs much better in real-world applications than the synthetic workloads and specifications sheet lead us to believe. If your daily computing involves gaming and typical office activities, then the Helix-L is a strong low-cost option you should seriously consider.

Let’s take a closer look:

The Helix-L comes in a very retail-friendly blister pack. Based on what we can see the drive doesn’t change much from the reference SMI design of the SM2263XT that we saw over a year ago. but then again, we never expected to see a 1TB NVMe SSD sell for less than $100.

Currently, the Helix-L series comes in three capacities, 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB. All three capacities use the same SMI SM2263XT controller paired with Micron 64L NAND.

As expected the performance differs between the three sizes with the large 1TB capacity sporting the best numbers. That drive tops 2,110 MB/s sequential read and 1,700 MB/s sequential write speeds.

More detailed specs available on the image above.


PC Mark 8 Storage Bandwith: Helix-L 439.80MB/s vs Samsung 970 EVO 514.33MB/s

Real-world test:

Battery Drain Test: Helix-L 1TB 6:44 vs Samsung 970 EVO 1TB 6:20

Game Load AVG: Helix-L 1TB 13.5 seconds vs Samsung 970 EVO 1TB 15.11 seconds

For many of us, the Helix-L will deliver a strong user experience and give us many years of “enhanced” performance. We did wish Mushkin would bring a 2TB solution though as the company’s price points are so strong. To be honest Mushkin, in general, is one of the price-performance leaders right now and has been for the last couple of years. The Helix-L is just another model that not many are aware of, but it’s one of the better options for cost-conscious shoppers available today.

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