Unnamed sources claim that Intel is currently working with PC vendors and NAND flash firms to unify specifications for mSATA SSDs for Ultrabooks. The new SSD specification is expected to be finalized sometime in September and then fully adopted into Ultrabooks by 2013. So far it's unclear whether this new spec will also be adopted by traditional notebooks.
According to the sources, Intel is looking to unify mSATA SSD specifications into one single standard called Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF). Most PC brand vendors and NAND flash makers such as Micron, SanDisk and Samsung Electronics are reportedly participating in the discussion.
However Intel is being aggressive about pushing NGFF because it claims the current mSATA SSD specs limit the number of NAND flash that can be used (4 to 5 chips max). Intel's argument is that if Ultrabook manufacturers want to offer more than 512 GB of storage capacity, the new NGFF standard will eradicate the current limitation by allowing SSDs to feature NAND chips on both sides of the PCB. These two-sided NGFF-based SSDs will still keep their same thickness and width, but they'll also sport a new length.
PC vendors are reportedly discussing five lengths that will best suit Ultrabooks including 20-mm, 42-mm, 60-mm, 80-mm and 120-mm. The 42-mm, 60-mm and 80-mm versions are expected to have a higher chance of become the final standard, sources said.