SSD Types and Form Factors – An SSD Primer


The mSATA SSD measures about 50mm long x 30mm wide x 4.85mm thick, or 1/3 the size of a business card.  The size of this SSD is key to its present surge into the ultrabook market and we have reviewed just about every mSATA SSD available in one fashion or another.  Most recently, we completed a review on NVELO Dataplex software which compared seven mSATA SSDs side by side.

mSATA SSDs are now being found in ultrabooks such as the Samsung Series 9 and Toshiba Z830 that we have reviewed as well as some larger notebooks manufactured by Dell.  They use a modified mPCIe (mini PCI express) interface and are typically SATA 2 although we are now seeing SATA 3 entries by Runcore, Samsung and AData.  The only limitation to mSATA SSDs is that they are limited to 128GB in capacity presently, although we should be reviewing the newest Samsung 256GB mSATA just after CES.

Being somewhat rare shots, the following pictures depict show the Toshiba Z830 on the left and the Samsung Series 9 on the right.  Lets see if you can find the mSATA SSD installed within each.

blankblankYes… We helped you a bit on the Samsung mSATA SSD search. Lets go a step further and take a close look inside a Lenovo x220 notebook.


From a personal view, I absolutely love mSATA SSDs and the doors that open for storage technology with their presence.  To think that we can now get incredible speeds of 500MB/s from a storage device that is only as thick as a 25 cent piece and the size of 1/3 of a business card.  Here is the Runcore T50 on the back of my business card with two SD cards to highlight the size.


In closing off the mSATA portion of our report, I can’t resist but to introduce you to Diesel.  Diesel acts as guardian to our business and is a plus 200 lb English Mastiff.  This was NOT an easy shot to take!



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    Paul Andrew Mitchell

    We L-U-V all the fine photos, Les.


    /s/ MRFS

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    The writing here is terrible. You should hire an editor.

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    Just how massive is your Mastiff.
    An effective warning about your security system to potential evil-doers.
    Great picture… I did a double-take.

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    Great article! very benficial, helped me understand the SSD arena and how to make an informed decision at purchase time. keep up the good work.

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    You mention on page 3 “The mSATA SSD measures about 50mm long x 49mm wide x 4.85mm thick, or 1/3 the size of a business card”. Measurements are 50.8mm x 29.85mm x 4.85mm. Not 49mm.

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    Articles like these are one of the reasons I hold your site in such high regard. You do not cater only to the high-level enthusiast crowd, but instead work hard to ensure that you maintain as technologically-diverse an audience as possible. While many have tried to do this before, it has almost always inevitably resulted in failure, likely as a result of many websites “talking to” their more mainstream consumers as if they are stupid. You guys have managed to avoid this, and as such, I recommend this site to everyone who is considering purchasing a new storage solution, from friends who can barely manage to work an iPhone to others who share the same level of enthusiasm as myself when it comes to building their own PC.

    You guys rock!

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    GC AND TRIM IN SSDS EXPLAINED link does not work

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    A few words to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your articles. I am preparing for my leap to an SSD. My lack of knowledge has prevented me until now. You have a skill of explaining things that has helped me greatly. Thanks.

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    Thanks for your article. I’m about to purchase the Sonnett Tempo Pro Plus.
    Do you have an opinion on this one. I like the idea of utilizing my current 250gb Samsung SSD which has been plodding along in the bay drive. I have a Mac Pro, Early 2008 which has the second PCI slot only being used by a 3.0 USB that I put in last year. I need processing power for Final Cut multi-cam editing. I can get by with this cheaper than the OWC 480gb version. Of course no 3 year warranty. The Sonnett looks cool, but no reviews on B&H. What would you do?

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    This one badly needs an update Les 🙂

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