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Onboard mSata with SSD: advantages and disadvantages?

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May 10, 2012 7:13:11 PM

I'm building a computer and have almost made my final decision to buy the Gigabyte Z77-D3H (paired with i5 2500k) which has an onboard mSata port. I like this feature because I know that sometime in the next year, I would like to get an SSD.

What are benefits of having a motherboard with an mSata SSD in contrast to a motherboard without and a separate SSD connected via SATA3.

1. Can the mSata SSD be used for anything other than cache used by the Intel Smart Response technology?
1a. Mainly, can I install the OS (Win7) on the mSata SSD?
1b. As well as my primary applications?

2. Will I notice the same performance if I use a SSD in the mSata slot than any other method?

3. Are there any mSata SSDs which are as cost effective as other internal SSDs? Apparently a 64GB mSata SSD is ~$90 while 128GB SATA3 SSD is $125 at the lowest. If the answer to question 1b. is YES, then I would like a large mSata SSD to hold all my heavy software development tools.

Thoughts and concerns?

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a b V Motherboard
a c 523 G Storage
May 10, 2012 10:40:06 PM

Scraniel said:
What are benefits of having a motherboard with an mSata SSD in contrast to a motherboard without and a separate SSD connected via SATA3.


mSATA drives are used primarily in netbooks and other devices that require smaller SSDs.

Your motherboard uses its mSATA port so that an mSATA drive can be used as a cache drive to a HDD with an operating system installed on it to give it a performance boost.

Cache drives are used primarily by people who can't afford a large SSD to install their O/S and most frequently used programs on.

1. Can the mSata SSD be used for anything other than cache used by the Intel Smart Response technology?
1a. Mainly, can I install the OS (Win7) on the mSata SSD?
1b. As well as my primary applications? said:
1. Can the mSata SSD be used for anything other than cache used by the Intel Smart Response technology?
1a. Mainly, can I install the OS (Win7) on the mSata SSD?
1b. As well as my primary applications?


You need to read your motherboard’s manual but I’m pretty sure that the mSATA port is used strictly to cache a HDD with an O/S installed on it.

2. Will I notice the same performance if I use a SSD in the mSata slot than any other method? said:
2. Will I notice the same performance if I use a SSD in the mSata slot than any other method?


Doubtful. Regular SSDs have faster Read/Write speeds than mSATA SSDs.

Thoughts and concerns? said:
Thoughts and concerns?


If you can only afford a 64GB SSD then get a mSATA drive and use it with a large capacity HDD and Intel SRT.

If you can afford a large capacity SSD then forget about mSATA and Intel SRT.
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May 10, 2012 10:45:27 PM

Agree.

A mSATA paired with a HDD is not going to be as fast as a stand alone SSD, but faster than a stand alone HDD.
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August 7, 2012 12:11:41 PM

It´s possible to use mSATA SSD disk as a cache drive to primary SSD on SATA port ? :o 
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August 10, 2012 3:22:01 PM

It probably is (unless the driver crashes), but I'm not sure it'd do a whole lotta good. If the SSD primary is faster than the mSATA (which it well can be if it's a good SandForce model), then the mSATA will just hold it back. It still works the weakest-link-in-the-chain way...
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April 11, 2013 8:26:42 PM

If an ultrabook has an mSATA 32GB that is removable, would it be best to simply REMOVE it completely when upgrading the HD to an SSD?
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May 3, 2013 5:01:56 PM

Assuming I have a 128 GB SSD and a larger 3TB mechanical HD I would install the OS and the programs that would benefit the most from quick load times (some productivity suites and some games) on the SSD but most of the other stuff will go on the standard HDD. I was wondering: if I also add an mSATA caching device wouldn't that speed up the loading of that stuff that is loaded on the HDD? Or maybe the system is not smart enough to understand that caching stuff that is already on SSD is actually uselss?
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May 3, 2013 5:01:56 PM

Assuming I have a 128 GB SSD and a larger 3TB mechanical HD I would install the OS and the programs that would benefit the most from quick load times (some productivity suites and some games) on the SSD but most of the other stuff will go on the standard HDD. I was wondering: if I also add an mSATA caching device wouldn't that speed up the loading of that stuff that is loaded on the HDD? Or maybe the system is not smart enough to understand that caching stuff that is already on SSD is actually uselss?
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May 3, 2013 5:01:56 PM

Assuming I have a 128 GB SSD and a larger 3TB mechanical HD I would install the OS and the programs that would benefit the most from quick load times (some productivity suites and some games) on the SSD but most of the other stuff will go on the standard HDD. I was wondering: if I also add an mSATA caching device wouldn't that speed up the loading of that stuff that is loaded on the HDD? Or maybe the system is not smart enough to understand that caching stuff that is already on SSD is actually uselss?
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July 19, 2013 1:55:44 PM

I disagree with the people on this thread who say that an onboard mSATA drive is not fast enough to install an OS on. My current computer has an ASUS Maximus V Formula motherboard with an Intel i7-3770, and the OS installed on a onboard 256 GB ADATA XPG SX300 mSATA drive. Before putting the OS on the mSATA drive I had been using a 120GB Intel 330 SSD. There was a small drop in speed after putting the OS on the mSATA drive, but certainly nothing to complain about. My windows experience rating dropped from 7.8 to 7.6 with the mSATA drive, which is certainly good enough for most people's purposes.
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April 30, 2014 3:54:39 PM

mSATA blows away any drive I've ever seen, the this just flies. I recently purchased an Intel NUC mini system with an i3, which requires an mSATA drive. So I bought a 220GB mSATA and added 8GB of ram. After installing Windows 7 Ultimate with all updates, I'm now able to boot up windows from bios to fully loaded and WiFi connected in just 22 seconds. It's just like booting up Dos, no more of this waiting crap. From what I've seen, the things just fly. Almost worth the price they're charging for the things.
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