Over recent years, mSATA drives have typically been a component that has not been on the forefront of the consumer market, seen only really by OEM manufacturers or by those who opened up their systems. With the market shifting towards smaller and smaller systems, and advances in technology allowing for denser storage and computing power as a whole, we are now seeing mSATA drive appear on the consumer market in greater numbers and more importantly, bigger capacities.

This is not the first time I’ve looked at an mSATA drive, a few months back I had a look at one of ADATA’s smaller capacity drives, the SP300 24GB –  aimed more for SSD caching and small OS footprints that require little read and write speeds such as POS systems.

With speeds and capacities now at a level that most users would deem acceptable for day to day use, and the number of systems and motherboards that support them such as laptops and ASUS’ ROG motherboards growing and more importantly the introductions of Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC), seeing what is out there in the mSATA market is something very worth while.

As a manufacturer, ADATA need little to no introduction as they are known to be one of today’s leading manufacturers with products ranging from flash drives to system memory for both the desktop and server markets, as well as SSDs in many different forms plus much more. Having spent such a long time in this field of engineering, ADATA knows what it takes to build a quality product, both on the performance side, as well as the pricing side of things as well.

Moving over to today’s product in hand, the SX300 256GB mSATA SSD, those who took a out NUC review a couple of moths back with recognise this as one of our third party components that we used to test these next generation systems out. and from the outside, the performance that we experienced from the drive didn’t seem all that bad. What’s important though is getting a more in-depth feel of how well these drives perform – mainly against their full blown 2.5″ counterparts that now dominate the consumer storage market.

Like memory, there is nothing included with the drive as it is an as-is product that requires no additional parts or accessories to be included so sliding the drive out of its case, its a quick installation process with only a couple of screws needed in some cases to hold it in place.


OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB SSD Review

When it comes to SSD line-ups, its safe to say that OCZ has got virtually every inch of ground covered with budget, performance and all round value drives with the Octane, Vertex 3 & 4 and recently the Vector series of drives. At the same time of covering all price points, OCZ have proven reliability and a huge following of users, but now that the SSD has become more mainstream and the number of users that are adopting the faster technology grows, the market is become heavily inundated with new models meaning that for some the choice is too great and for those vendors that have been in the SSD sector for a while now, their now older models are not getting the same attention that they used to.

OCZ’s Vertex line of drives in my option are some of the best selling drives out there and now that they have been around for a good couple of years and then they were one of the pioneers of using MLC NAND flash to store data on their drives, pairing it with one of the most successful controllers of the SSD world – the SandForce SF-2281. Believe it or not, this is the second re-release of the Vertex 3 and this time round OCZ have made the point of making it clear about the update to the drive.

When the Vertex 3 was first released it included 34nm MLC NAND and following the move to 25nm NAND without much of an announcement from OCZ, there was a lot of upset from the consumers with some buying the 34nm drives without a clue that 25nm were also available with some improvements to the performance. Moving forward to now, OCZ are yet again shrinking the size of technology on their drives and we now are seeing 20nm NAND – that’s almost half the original Vertex 3 of two years ago. Not wanting to make the same mistake twice however, OCZ this time round are making it well known that they have updated this drive and this includes a slight tweak to the name to reflect the 20nm NAND – hence Vertex 3.20.

For the end user this shift to newer technology means a drive that is even more affordable than before whilst still retaining the same roots as the original Vertex 3 with great performance and capacity and on the factory side for OCZ this also means reduced manufacturing costs – hence the drop in end user price. Whilst the drive itself will look 99.9% the same on the outside, there is one notable difference to the packaging. We’ve for a long time got used to the small card boxes that OCZ have used that open out to house the drive inside in an anti-staic bag and a set of screws and a drive bay adaptor behind, but with more and more chassis natively supporting SSDs with specific mounting points and trays compatible with 2.5″ drives, OCZ have made the decision to drop the extras and give the user just what they need – a simple no fuss packaging – also another way to reduce the cost overall.

KingFast Unveil 1TB “C-Drive” SSD

High capacity SSDs seem to be coming more and more common these days. Particularly as Crucial recently released their M500 series of SSDs available in a 960GB capacity. Yet we haven’t really seen any other high capacity SSD drives intended for consumer use until now.

KingFast, a Chinese flash memory company, has announced its C-Drive 1TB which TweakTown managed to grab a look at during Computex. This is a drive to rival Crucial’s M500 960GB SSD as it features a 1TB capacity. The drive on the face of things looks exactly like any other drive on the market with a 2.5 inch form factor and a 9.5mm thickness. Yet it is unique as it encloses two individual SSDs in an internal RAID 0 configuration. There are two 512GB Sandforce SF-2281 driven SSDs inside but they both share a single SATA III interface. This means speeds of 559 MB/s read and 532 MB/s write which is actually only marginally faster than current SSD drives on the market.

It is clear that the SATA III interface is limiting these SSDs although the internal RAID configuration is mainly in place to allow the 1TB capacity to be reached easily not to allow the drive to perform faster. KingFast didn’t mention anything else about the drive in terms of pricing, TRIM support, availability and other capacities.

Image courtesy of TweakTown

Mushkin Announce Up To 2.1GB/s 1920GB “Scorpion Deluxe” PCIe SSDs

If the 1600GB ADATA SSD we covered at Computex 2013 was your thing then this new Scorpion Deluxe SSD from Mushkin will definitely interest you too. Unlike the ADATA SSD which used a 2.5″ form factor but a PCI Express 4X cable to a PCI Express add-in-card, the Mushkin Scorpion deluxe skips that and goes straight in with a PCI Express interface that us 8X in terms of length. This allows for transfer speeds of up to a staggering 2100MB/s or 2.1GB/s and up to 100K random write IOPS.

Mushkin will be making the Scorpion Deluxe PCI Express SSDs available in 240GB, 480GB, 960GB and 1920GB capacities. Mushkin are using a Sandforce driven SSD controller (SF-2281) and are offering a 3 year warranty. If you’ve got a lot of cash to spend then Mushkin claim these PCI Express SSDs are scalable in up to 4 way configurations.

While these devices certainly aren’t for everyone, the wide variety of sizes does mean the lower capacity drives will be accessible at a consumer level, much like OCZ’s Revo drives. You can get more information here. Mushkin expect these drives to become available from mid-June onwards and pricing has yet to be disclosed but you can expect them to be significantly more expensive than equivalent capacity SATA III SSDs as they are mainly aimed at the content professionals market.

Image courtesy of Mushkin

Mushkin Announce 1.8-inch Chronos GO Deluxe SATA III SSDs

Mushkin are a company who make a lot of SSDs and memory kits for the PC hardware market. Their Chronos range of SSDs are renowned across the industry for the excellent value for money that they provide. Today Mushkin adds another addition to the Chronos series, the GO Deluxe.

You might be wondering what is different or special about these SSDs? If they were just like any other SSD we probably wouldn’t even give them the light of day on our website. What’s interesting about the Chronos GO Deluxe is that they fit into a 1.8 inch form factor, compared to the normal 2.5 inch form factor we find SSDs in.

Mushkin have managed to squeeze 120, 240 and 480GB capacities into this small 1.8 inch form factor. Mushkin claim the GO Deluxe drives are of enterprise quality, reliability and endurance but with the high performance you’d expect from a SATA III SSD.

Expected performance, pricing and availiblity wasn’t disclosed. However, we expect performance will be similar to any other SF-2281 Sandforce based SSD. Mushkin had this to say about their new 1.8 inch Chronos Go Deluxe

“Mushkin continues to push the envelope with higher performance, higher capacity and higher reliability products, and the new line of 1.8-inch Chronos(TM) GO SATA III (6Gbps) SSDs is just one example,” said Nicolas Villalobos, Director of Global Marketing at Mushkin Inc. “With these improvements, the new drives are very well-suited for professionals and for solution providers in demanding environments like digital signage, healthcare and point-of-sale.”

What do you think of this new 1.8″ SSD from Mushkin? Do you have any particular uses for an SSD this small?

Source: PR