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Mushkin IMPACT 256GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review

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Today’s review sample is another rippin’ fast flash drive, the 256GB Mushkin IMPACT. Running at USB 3.0, with similar specifications, this will be a great comparison to the recently reviewed Patriot Magnum 2. Take a look below to see how these speedsters stack up!

Specifications and Features

There’s no official word from Mushkin about what controller the IMPACT utilizes, but I suspect it is a Phison S8 with MLC NAND. This is the same configuration as the Magnum 2, so we should see similar performance. Mushkin is rating the IMPACT at 400MB/s read speed and 310MB/s write speed, quite impressive indeed! The warranty on the IMPACT is two years, a fairly standard length in this industry.

The specifications and features below come directly from the Mushkin website.

Mushkin IMPACT Specs and Features
Part Number MKNUFDIM256GB
Capacity 256GB
USB Technology USB 3.0
Dimensions 56.7mm x 17.6mm x 6.5mm (2.23in x 0.69in x 0.26in)
Rated Read Speed Up to 400MB/s
Rated Write Speed Up to 310MB/s
Optimal Data Flow
Optimized for dependable and reliable data flow.
Value Performance
For consumers who want a basic USB 3.0 flash drive that’s fast, durable, and affordable.
Wear-leveling Functionality
Wear-leveling functionality optimizes writes for superior longevity and reliability.
2-Year Warranty
Quality guaranteed – we offer a 2-year warranty on this product and genuine, unmatched service and support.

Retail Packaging

The packaging for the Mushkin IMPACT is a folding, reusable plastic enclosure. On the front of this packaging is an incredibly simple card showing the brand, series, tag line, and featuring the product itself. Flipping to the rear of the packaging we see a barcode, model number, Mushkin’s contact info, and a few quick blurbs about the IMPACT and Reactor SSD.

Retail Packaging - Front

Retail Packaging – Front

Retail Packaging - Rear

Retail Packaging – Rear

The Mushkin IMPACT

Removing the IMPACT from its packaging we find a simple, but attractive, flash drive. The anodized aluminum casing, with printed lettering, is very small and quite solid. The ends, and lanyard loop, on the casing are made of injection molded plastic. As slim as the IMPACT is it’ll fit perfectly into any pocket without being obtrusive. I’d be shocked if anyone had issues with the casing or ends breaking on this unit.

IMPACT - Front

IMPACT – Front

IMPACT - Rear

IMPACT – Rear

IMPACT - Uncovered

IMPACT – Uncovered

Testing and Benchmarks

Listed below is the test system used for benchmarking.

Test Setup
CPU Intel 6700K @ Stock (for the motherboard – 4.0 boost to 4.2 GHz)
Cooler CoolerMaster Glacer 240L
Motherboard ASRock Z170 Extreme7+
RAM 2×4GB DDR4 GSKILL RipJaws4 @ 3000MHz 15-15-15-35 2T 1.35v
Graphics Card EVGA GTX 750Ti FTW
Solid State Drive Samsung 850 Pro 256GB
Power Supply EVGA SuperNova G2 850W
Operating System Windows 10 x64

Benchmarks

All of the benchmarks seen below are run with the IMPACT plugged in to the rear USB 3.1 port of the motherboard. Before testing, the drive was quick formatted to exFAT with the default allocation size to make sure everything was clean and consistent.

CrystalDiskMark (CDM) is run at its standard settings. The beauty of this benchmark is that the data is completely incompressible. This makes these tests more like a real-world situation instead of attempting to maximize throughput for a spec sheet. The IMPACT performed very well here with sequential reads approaching the specification! Sequential writes were also impressive, especially for a flash drive. Last, the 4K read speeds were good, but 4K write speeds left something to be desired.

CrystalDiskMark Results

CrystalDiskMark Results

AS SSD is next up on the list and shows a very similar story to the CDM results above. Sequential speeds were close to the rated speeds, but once again the 4K performance was lackluster. The Write Access Time was also incredibly high at almost 0.1 seconds.

AS SSD Results

AS SSD Results

Third up in our test suite is HD Tune Pro. Here we test with the Random data pattern, this shows more real-world information than a steady stream of the same compressible data. The read and write result both show a fairly smooth result. Looking at the IOPS though, those were slightly lower than I expected to see.

HD Tune Pro Results

HD Tune Pro Results

ATTO Disk Benchmark is typically used by manufacturers to showcase their drive specs as it uses compressible data in a sequential test much like AS SSD does. That being said, the IMPACT was off the written spec in this benchmark, especially for the write test.

ATTO Results

ATTO Results

Comparison Data

As a “baseline” to compare the IMPACT with I pulled out my trusty 16GB SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 Flash Drive. This is a flash drive that I’ve used since August of 2013.

For the second comparison data I used the results from the recently reviewed 256GB Patriot Magnum 2 USB 3.1 Flash Drive.

Results in the graphs are normalized to the Mushkin IMPACT results, so those all show 100%. All results except the Access Time are “higher is better,” those are “lower is better.”

CDM - Read Graph

CDM – Read Graph

CDM - Write Graph

CDM – Write Graph

AS SSD - Read Graph

AS SSD – Read Graph

AS SSD - Write Graph

AS SSD – Write Graph

HD Tune Pro - Read Graph

HD Tune Pro – Read Graph

HD Tune Pro - Write Graph

HD Tune Pro – Write Graph

ATTO Graph

ATTO Graph

As a second comparison a real world situation was approached. A backup folder from my server was copied to each flash drive and timed, so this result is “lower is better.” By my stopwatch the IMPACT finished the transfer in 13:57.91 (mm:ss) while the Sandisk finished in 5:42.84 and the Patriot finished in 13:43.58. The folder is 5.50GB and contains 6,670 files in 1,080 folders therefore this result confirms the lackluster small write performance seen in the synthetic benchmarks, scoring almost identically to the Patriot Magnum 2.

Conclusion

Looking back at all the results we see that the Mushkin IMPACT is incredibly fast for medium and large file transfers, but could use some improvements on the small file (especially writing) front. The aesthetics and size of this unit are great though coming built in a very slim, quality enclosure. The IMPACT lineup comes in three different sizes; 64GB, 128GB, and this 256GB sample. It is also nice to be able to reuse the packaging if required for some reason.

Coming around to pricing, I can currently find the Mushkin IMPACT on Newegg for $84.99. This is an incredibly competitive price, the only other flash drive that can touch this price/performance ratio (by the spec) is the Mushkin Ventura Plus. Anything else is a significant amount of money more than the IMPACT.

 

Overclockers_clear_approvedClick the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

-Austin (ATMINSIDE)

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