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  • philipma1957 - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    The crucial mSata 256gb is pretty good for asrock z77-itx board and for intels h77 itx board.
    They allow for a small desktop. I would like the 3 mobos I used to allow sata III they only allow Sata II.
  • philipma1957 - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Follow up

    I have these mobos

    ASRock Z77E-ITX LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

    Intel BOXDH77DF LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

    ASUS Maximus V Gene LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    all are running with just the crucial msata 256gb ssds .

    I would not mind one with a Sata III slot , I do agree msata is not offered as viable option for the system builder.
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    All I could find is that mSATA is only specified for SATA 1.5Gb/s and SATA 3 Gb/s, not SATA 6 Gb/s. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Forgive me if I missed it, but should there be a benchmark showing performance consistency when factoring 25% spare area? Given AT's recent affinity for such benchmarks, I now expect to see it in every SSD review.

    /rabble rabble!
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    It's not something we test with every drive because for example all SandForce drives behave the same way. I've actually had these drives for nearly six months and tested them long ago but the write up was pushed back by more urgent reviews. I know I may sound lazy here, but I don't consider the BP3 or SMART to be the choice for many already given the fact that mSATA isn't very popular and I see the majority of buyers going with name brands, so I decided not to test performance consistency this time.

    The random write speed is rather slow to begin with, and it gets below 1MB/s when tortured.
  • fugu_ - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    It would have been nice to see performance consistency benchmarks for the drive that used the Phison controller, especially since there are only a handful of options for ~250GB mSATA drives.

    It's great to see any sort of reviews of lesser known drives. At the same time, it's a little disappointing that the perceived popularity of these drives stopped you from doing a more complete review, especially if you've had them for 6 months.
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Yeah, I know it's not a proper excuse. This spring will be quite busy for me though, have plenty of SSDs to review and at the same time I should study for matriculation exams as well as university entrance exams.

    I know I shouldn't be making excuses, but I hope you can relate to my situation. I try to cut as few corners as possible but performance consistency is just PITA to test (well, the actual testing is fine but making the graphs is just painful because Microsoft can't make Office that's fully compatible with Office for Mac... Anand does the graphs on Mac, so I have to do too or they won't be identical). After that it's time for awful HTML editing which I suck at, so that takes way more time than it should.
  • Per Hansson - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    Well if this is the place where we ask you to do performance consistency tests before your exams I'm in :)

    I would just love to see how the most crappy SSD controller of all; the JMicron JMF602 fares in performance consistency.
    I think it would be a nice thing to look back at with what we know today.
    Shockingly SSD's based on such controllers are still being sold!
  • lyeoh - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    Yeah I'd like to see the performance consistency for the lower end or even crap SSDs.

    Maybe even a few conventional spinning platter hard drives- low, mid, high.
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    Unfortunately, I don't have any SSDs that old. The "worst" SSDs I have are Crucial v4, OCZ Agility 4 and Samsung SSD 470. I could definitely run something on the V4 and BP3 to see if Phison has done any progress in this matter. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Friday, January 25, 2013 - link

    I have a JMicron-based G.SKILL FM-25S2S-64GB sitting around doing nothing. It has a USB port so I sometimes use it as a thumb drive. I am more than happy to donate it to the cause. Just tell me where to send it. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, January 26, 2013 - link

    I bet sending the drive to Finland will cost more than the drive itself ;-) Anand should have some older SSDs, so I'll ask if he could run some tests Reply
  • nathanddrews - Saturday, January 26, 2013 - link

    I just checked estimates from FedEx and UPS... You are not kidding! I thought it would cost about $25, not $125.

    Anand lives in southern USA, doesn't he? That should be very cheap. If he doesn't have one of these kickass drives, I'll send it to him. ;-)
  • Kristian Vättö - Saturday, January 26, 2013 - link

    Anand lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. He still has JMicron based drives (just asked him) and he'll run some tests once he finds one, so no need to send one :-) Reply
  • nathanddrews - Saturday, January 26, 2013 - link

    Cool, can't wait to see the results. Thanks, Kristian! Reply
  • Per Hansson - Thursday, January 31, 2013 - link

    That's nice Kristian!
    I'm looking forward to seeing those results :)
  • Tjalve - Tuesday, April 09, 2013 - link

    Ive actually done some testing on performance consistency for my reviews over att
    Theese tests are NOT done on a steady state drive though. But theese nuymbers give an indication on how I/O Latency are reflected i a real-world situation.
    AND the graphs include some crappy drives like the Verbatim SSD 128GB and the Teamgroup L2 128GB.
    I actually have steady state 4K Write perormance numbers (similiar to the ones here) on most drives aswell, but i havet published them just yet.
  • Gunbuster - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Workstation laptops. Going mSATA for OS often leaves you two other spindles for large spinning storage, another SSD or a combo of both.

    Why? For Hyper-V devs or content creators.
  • madmilk - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Workstation laptops and DIY upgrading is quite a niche scenario. Most workstation owners (that is, businesses) would just build-to-order with the SSD, instead of risking downtime just to save a couple hundred bucks. Reply
  • critical_ - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    I own a Dell M6700 with the ADATA SX300 mSATA SSD (256GB) and 3 Hitachi 7200RPM 2.5" 1TB drives in RAID5. While I'd like to think I'm the only person in the world with this configuration, that would be silliness on my part. :) Reply
  • Flunk - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    DIY upgrades are really what mSATA SSDs are for. They really don't make sense on the desktop. But I would argue that the performance desktop is just as much a niche market. As long as a market exists these products will too.

    As for me I have a ADATA SX300 mSATA SSD (256GB) along with a 750GB HD in an Alienware m14x R2. Great way to get more storage into a system that couldn't fit another 2.5" drive without losing the optical bay. mSATA SSDs are very convenient now.

    Hopefully everyone will standardize on one of the new PCI-E based SSD specs, but that's all future technology for now.
  • Kraszmyl - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Considering almost all of dell and lenovos machines that came out recently have msata slots i wouldnt exactly call them rare and im sure the ultrabook people will move to them too.

    That being said i would like to see them on more itx and micro atx boards.
  • ssj3gohan - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Yeah, I'm super-happy with the mSATA slots on recent Intel mITX and mATX motherboards. It may seem like a small deal to some, but mSATA saves a lot of space and IMO more importantly: a mess of wires.

    I've been able to build very capable systems with no wires blocking airflow and getting in the way at all in arguably the smallest enclosure commercially available, the mini-box M350. All because of motherboards supporting 19V input and mSATA.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    mSATA is already being phased out for NGFF/M.2, so I don't expect a lot of support for mSATA going forward. Apple, ASUS, and others already skipped mSATA to go their own routes, indicating the perceived issues from those manufacturers.

    M.2 will hopefully bring more standardization and acceptance, and it would be great if ASUS, Apple, etc. used M.2 instead of proprietary connectors -- there are quite a few people that are ticked that UX21A/UX31A had review samples with SF-2281 ADATA drives and then shipping consumer models typically (maybe even only?) used SanDisk U100. Because of the proprietary connector, there's basically no way to upgrade from the U100.
  • ssj3gohan - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    I don't necessarily care whether it's NGFF or mSATA, as long as it's a cableless solution and there's sufficient availability of drives. Right now mSATA has good market penetration; I haven't had any problems sourcing tens of crucial m4 mSATA drives, even the most exotic 256GB variant. Same goes for myDigitalSSD's earlier offerings, which seemed to be in stock all the time (very short lead times).

    As soon as NGFF is used or can be used on the desktop I'm perfectly happy using those as the ubiquitous boot drive.
  • Voldenuit - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link


    mSATA SSDs are a good way to add performance and capacity to a (compatible) laptop. And doing it aftermarket keeps the OEMs from ripping off the customer with their exorbitant upgrade prices.

    I added a 128 GB crucial m4 SSD to my wife's Thinkpad X230T laptop to complement the existing 500GB hdd. It was far cheaper than configuring it with a 2.5" SSD from lenovo (there was no option on their configurator to outlay the laptop with a mSATA SSD instead) and far more versatile, as the single-spindle X230T is now transformed into effectively a 2-spindle machine (still no DVD drive, but we have an ultrabase mobile dock for that).

    I wouldn't buy a modern laptop that doesn't have an mSATA slot today.
  • cmikeh2 - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    While traditional forms of computing may not necessitate the smaller form factor future products like Intel's Next Unit of Computing with its 4 x 4 inch mobo only supports mSATA. Work in this form factor will allow products like NUC to be worthwhile. Reply
  • digitalzombie - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    "the potential to grap a large share"

    grap -> grab
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the heads up, fixed! :-) Reply
  • kesh - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Just a guess, but wouldn't there be a market for mSATA in embedded computing world?

    I have an ongoing project of turning a broken (slim) CD player to a digital audio player, which has been going slow over a last few years, and when I first saw mSATA, I immediately thought it as the perfect storage solution for my project.
  • ssj3gohan - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Aside from my usual remarks on using the wrong methodology for idle power consumption (use a DIPM-enabled testbench!), the mSATA slot uses 3.3/1.8V, while your 2,5" adapter provides this power from 5V via an LDO. LDOs are power converters that step down voltage linearly, i.e. 5V 1A in -> 3.3V 1A out (current is conserved), contrary to switching converters that, apart from efficiency losses, try to do this conversion losslessly.

    This means that when you measured 5V 0.1A for the BP3, the actual drive consumed 3.3V 0.1A, i.e. 0.33W instead of 0.50W.
  • magao - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    I recently bought a new notebook specifically because it had an mSATA slot. It came pre-populated with a 32GB cache drive and 500GB hard drive.

    I immediately replaced it with a 1TB drive and the largest mSATA SSD I could get (128GB OCZ Nocti). I put the OS on the hard drive, then configured the SSD as 32GB cache, the rest (~80GB usable) as data.

    The stuff I use all the time was then installed onto the SSD (source code repositories, etc). Lots of small files -> SSD.

    The OS + 16GB hibernate file are on the hard drive, which means that's space not being taken up on the limited SSD space. Instead the 32GB cache (which is about the same size as the OS + hibernate file combined) ensures the most-used blocks on the hard drive are cached. Of couse, the page file is on the SSD.

    Writes to the hard drive are largely sequential as the caching essentially does write-combining.

    I've used symlinks to move various settings to the SSD e.g. web browser cache, etc.

    I periodically use Resource Manager to check disk activity. There is some write activity to the hard drive, but it's pretty minimal. Right this instance there are only 5 files listed as either reads or writes to the hard drive. I almost never notice that the hard drive is in use - nearly everything performs at SSD speeds.

    Would I prefer to have an all-SSD system? Sure? Can I afford it? Well, I could, but I can get better bang for my buck by using the setup above, with very similar results.
  • tk11 - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    I recently bought one for a Lenovo x230 that I chose in part because it featured an empty mSATA slot. For anyone willing to take the time to install a mSATA SSD for use as the system drive it's a very compelling feature. Reply
  • magnusoverli - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link


    First post at AnandTech... :-)

    You say that you cannot see why any desktop users would adopt the mSata-standard, and although I can see that it was not initially meant to be a perfect match, I think it may be. It all depends of course on the individual users´ needs and other hardware.

    I recently built a new server for multimedia streaming and backup purposes, and went for the ASUS Maximus V Gene mobo. It enables me to have the OS on an "onboard" msata-slot, and leaving all sata slots for data drives. This is, for me, the perfect combination of performance and flexibility.

    I can see that others have commented and touched on related topics, but just wanted to let you know that desktop/server-systems and msata really is a beautiful thing!

  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Except, as noted above, mSATA is set to be replaced by M.2 this year. That's where more SSDs and motherboards are likely to head in the future. Reply
  • magnusoverli - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Granted that msata is a standard that is about to fade out, isn´t that the reality for just about any standard that has become, or is about to become, mainstream.

    Also, how long does it take before a new standard is introduced, before it is ready for the main stage? There are only a very few users standing by being ready to upgrade when the first products hits the shelves.

    Also, I think that one should maximize the usage of current technologies (within budget) and not stay on the side-lines, always waiting for the next big thing.

    But, hey.. That´s just me! ;-)
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    DDR1/2/3, DVI/HDMI/DP, SATA 1 through 3, USB 1 through 3.
    All the important standards are either very long lived (5 years for DDR3 now) or are backwards compatible or can be easily used with simple adapters. That is not the case with mSATA. It was niche to begin with, it stayed niche even when there was a big demand for fast, small storage in ultrabooks and tablets and now it is being phased out.
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    But can you use the six SATA headers on the motherboard simultaneously with the mSATA slot? The fact is, mSATA does not add SATA connectivity, it takes one port just like a regular SATA port on the mobo does. It's of course possible that there is a third party SATA controller that provides a few extra ports but those exist without mSATA as well.

    Not trying to belittle mSATA and the comments here have been mind-opening, I seriously hadn't heard that people actually use mSATA SSD in desktops. Sure I've seen a few but it's good to heat that mSATA SSDs aren't just decorations.
  • iwod - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    Assuming SATA Express will bring us performance of Today's top SSD in RAID, which still isn't fast enough for Apps to pop out, Startup and Shutdown to be less then 2 seconds,

    is software the limitation now? Or we need faster CPU?
  • Zink - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - link

    I'm running a mSATA drive from Adata in my Lenovo laptop and I love being able to pull the optical drive and run three drives in a normal laptop. Boot drive + data drive + hotswap drive for temporary projects. Reply
  • Chupk - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    I love to read your reviews. And just want to give U thumbs up here knowing U R dealing with important exams at the same time while U R publishing high quality reviews.
    It's interesting to know U R stuck with word processing & HTML editing! >.<
    I have long passed my days in University & I'm working as a Consultant in a Hospital. Just want to say the exams U R facing R kinda important. They should be your 1st priority at least for the moment!
  • Stranman - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    It would be nice to see a comparison or charts of mSata only drives (apples to apples), not apples and oranges. If I'm looking for a mSata drive, I don't care to see standard 2.5" SSD drives listed. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    I thought about that at first but the problem is that we have only reviewed two mSATA SSDs on top of these MyDigitalSSD ones. I do have a couple more in the lab now, so stay tuned for more mSATA stuff. I think it's also worthwhile to compare them to similar SATA 2.5" drives because there is a performance difference and some might go with the 2.5" because of that. Reply
  • Sp4rrowhawk - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    I'm a big thinkpad fan. And while my T410 doesn't have an mSata bay, both the T420 and T430 do.

    Also I own a home server and have a dedicated system drive. My (new) motherboard has 8 Sata ports or 7 plus 1 mSata port. As such I can't add one more drive but I can save up a 3.5" bay that would otherwise be used by my system drive. So I'm planning on buying one for that use-case. Obviously I don't need 256GB for my system drive though...
  • ChristopherD - Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - link

    Being a traveling photographer, speed and portability is always crucial.
    mSATA SSD form factor coupled with an external thunderbolt chassis would be a great combo that I would purchase myself. When I have only 30mins to edit and backup a 100GB folder of photos/videos and leave a site an external SSD this small would be great.
  • Sottilde - Friday, January 25, 2013 - link

    It seems that the M4's performance is (surprisingly) just a bit worse than the BP3's, and the M4 mSATA is just a bit more expensive. However, I'm doubtful of the longevity of Toggle-mode MLC; the last review I read on it said that it was guaranteed for only 1000 cycles. In addition this brand has a bit of a dubious name.

    Given those facts, which mSATA drive would you all choose?
  • JeBarr - Friday, January 25, 2013 - link

    A full size ATX desktop board or even some mATX board users could make use of mSATA PCI-E x1, x4 or x8 with 1, 2, 3 or 4 drives in "raid". These add-on cards already exist but the price is out of reach for most outside of enterprise.

    I'd much rather swap out a dead mSATA drive rather than purchase another Revo drive that slowly dies.
  • SSDuser101 - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    MyDigitalSSD has been around a while now. Since 2007 when they introduced the 1st upgrades for netbooks like the Asus 901 Mini PCI-e SSD.

    They have been selling mSATA SSD longer than anyone with nothing but great reviews.

    Also regarding Sottidle’s post about Toshiba toggle nand. He must be thinking of TLC Triple Layer Cell Flash like what ships on the Samsung 840 drives because those do have around a 1K Cycle life span. On the contrary Toshiba Toggle NAND is the best on the market when it comes to MLC flash with a 5K R/W/E cycle minimum.
  • systemBuilder - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - link

    Since 99% of all macbooks are shipped with a disk drive that is too small, because of Apple's horrific pricing policies, well yes, there is a huge market for mSATA drives, but only for macbooks from 2014 and earlier. The new 2015 macbooks have new PCIe drives that run 3x faster, but are not compatible with mSATA. Reply

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