The first mSATA-based SSDs we reviewed wowed us with diminutive dimensions, but not as much with performance. Today's best efforts are a lot more like their desktop equivalents, though. We round up 10 models between 64 and 256 GB and nail down a winner.
Test Setup And Benchmarks
Although we see Ultrabooks (and other thin and light form factors) as the most likely beneficiaries of mSATA space savings, they don't make great benchmarking platforms for swapping drives in and out. So, we're using an mSATA-to-SATA adapter on our desktop test bed. There is no performance penalty associated with this configuration, since the adapter simply changes the physical interface, not the signaling. As a side benefit, this setup lets us compare mSATA-based drives to larger 2.5" SATA-based SSDs without introducing any other variables.
weatherdudeNice to see mSATA SSD's performing so well. Looks like laptops can now benefit from SSD's without having to compromise on storage space by giving up HDD's.Also the award is something new. I guess the "Recommended" and "Approved" awards are gone for 2013?Approved is still one of the awards we're using. Recommended Buy is replaced by Smart Buy to better-convey the emphasis on value, and Best Of is replaced by Elite to better convey the emphasis on "this is the best damn product in the segment that we can recommend." Elites will continue to be something you rarely ever see, except when we want to make a point to honor a piece of hardware.
Excellent article. Nice. Much better than typical.
Some discussion of trim, and the effects of using drives with a few days of use would have been good. The assumption is that the 'clean drive' performance tested is a good indicator of what people will see when they've used the drive for a month needs to be tested, the perforamnce order might change sharply. A 6 hour random write workload would go a long way to showing what to expect. Especially given the broken TRIM on SF 5 firmware and the slow speed of the fixes to existing SF drives.
I've got a 256GB Crucial M4 in the little clip on my Maximus V Gene as the boot drive. It's been performing flawlessly there for months.
That's a bit crazy I know, but I had originally had it on the underside of an AZRock Z77E-ITX board until that board died.