The smaller mSATA SSDs have been available for some time now, but many of you have probably wondered how useful they are. Previously, when you wanted to upgrade your laptop with an SSD, you had to remove the existing traditional hard drive, but now laptops tend to incorporate space for an mSATA SSD next to the hard drive. The new SSD can then be used for your operating system and software, and the original hard drive for storage.
Most Ultrabooks allow the same thing. Usually they pack a small SSD for caching or hibernation purposes only but, by replacing this with a larger capacity drive, you can put your OS and software on it. Certain Ultrabooks use a different format than mSATA called Gumsticks, but mSATA is by far the most common one.
Here we are comparing two mSATA SSDs, the Adata SX300 128GB and the Crucial m4 256GB. We will also find out whether these types of mSATA SSD are as fast as their 2.5in counterparts.
The Adata XPG SX300 is based on the familiar SandForce SF-2281 controller, which you'll also find in Adata's XPG SX900/SX910 2.5in SSDs. Like those models, Adata has disabled SandForce's RAISE technology on the SX300, making the full 128GB available, instead of just 120GB. The 128GB is provided by four 256Mbit 25nm NAND chips, the manufacturer of which is unknown. There is no cache memory, which is standard for SandForce-based SSDs.
Adata claims transfer rates of up to 550MB/s for reading, and up to 505MB/s for writing. The SX300 128GB costs around £100, equal to about £0.78 per GB, and you get a three-year warranty. You can read the rest of mSATA SSDs preview on Hardware.info.