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Round-Up: 10 mSATA SSDs From Adata, Crucial, Mushkin, And OCZ

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.

Test Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 32 nm, 3.1 GHz, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled
MotherboardGigabyte G1.Sniper M3
MemoryKingston Hyper-X 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 @ DDR3-1333, 1.5 V
System DriveOCZ Vertex 3 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s
Tested DrivesAdata XPG SX300 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
Adata XPG SX300 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
Adata XPG SX300 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
Crucial m4 mSATA 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
Crucial m4 mSATA 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
Crucial m4 mSATA 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
Mushkin Atlas m4 mSATA 60 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
Mushkin Atlas m4 mSATA 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
Mushkin Atlas m4 mSATA 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
OCZ Nocti 120 GB GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: -
Intel SSD 310 80 GB SATA 3Gb/s, Firmware: -
Intel SSD 320 300 GB SATA 3Gb/s, Firmware: 1.92
Intel SSD 320 80 GB SATA 3Gb/s, Firmware: 1.92
Intel SSD 330 180 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 300i
Intel SSD 330 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 300i
Samsung 830 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: CXMO
Samsung 830 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: CXMO
Crucial m4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 0309
Crucial m4 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 0009
OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.15
OCZ Vertex 3 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.22
OCZ Vertex 3 60 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.15
OCZ Agility 3 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.22
OCZ Agility 3 120 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.22
OCZ Agility 3 60 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.22
OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5
OCZ Agility 4 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5
OCZ Agility 4 128 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5
OCZ Vertex 4 64 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 1.5
GraphicsPalit GeForce GTX 460 1 GB
Power SupplySeasonic 760 W, 80 PLUS Gold
System Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 x64 Ultimate
DirectXDirectX 11
DriverGraphics: Nvidia 270.61 RST: 10.6.0.1002 Virtu: 1.1.101
Benchmarks
Tom's Hardware Storage Bench v1.0Trace-Based
Iometer 1.1.0# Workers = 1, 4 KB Random: LBA=8 GB, varying QDs, 128 KB Sequential
PCMark 7Storage Suite
  • trumpeter1994
    I just got a 256GB Crucial m4 msata SSD for the laptop I'm typing from. I love the thing its so nice to have in my y580
    Reply
  • weatherdude
    Nice 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?
    Reply
  • cangelini
    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.
    Reply
  • abbadon_34
    Seems kinda underwhelming, seeing only 4 in the market, 2 of them years old. Ironically puts Intel's SSD and OCZ's in the same boat.
    Reply
  • tsnor
    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.
    Reply
  • jaquith
    Yep, no argument the Crucial m4 mSATA 256 GB stole the show. It's both the fastest & cheapest -- what's the catch? I hope none.

    BTW - $179.99 or $0.70/GB (Promo Code: EMCYTZT2757) NewEgg - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148613 Just noticed the sale from a NewEgg email.
    Reply
  • Onus
    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.
    Reply
  • sna
    May I ask why is the Samsung 830 msata drive not present in this review?

    as I recall it outperforms the M4 and all the drives here.

    Reply
  • edlivian
    oh great, now newegg and crucial are going to jack up the prices on the m4 line.

    I love the m4 drives, but now its going to get too much attention.
    Reply
  • jacobdrj
    snaMay I ask why is the Samsung 830 msata drive not present in this review?as I recall it outperforms the M4 and all the drives here.Because they are pretty much EOL with the 840 series out.


    I want to know when AMD laptops are going to start including msata slots... It is the budget laptop guys that would get the best benefit from msata with a standard HDD together...
    Reply