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Aug 20 2010

mSATA SSDs Capitalize on Budget Market

With consumers looking to take advantage of the power and performance benefits of solid state drives (SSDs), several players have introduced product lines targeting value-conscious consumers. While some customers want the most powerful SSD money can buy, others are looking for a product that gives them the benefits of SSD without breaking the bank. For manufacturers looking to appeal to the more budget-conscious consumer, one option is designing SSDs using the mini-SATA, or mSATA, interface.

The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) announced last year that it was developing a specification for a mSATA interface connector, allowing for more effective SATA integration in small form factor applications. mSATA leverages the speed and reliability of the SATA interface, providing high-performance and cost-effective storage for smaller devices and enabling more compact integration into a wide variety of applications. As a result, companies can increase their storage and performance offerings without compromising on space.

mSATA SSDs are approximately the size of a business card and reside in a smaller PCI slot than standard SSDs. Instead of replacing a hard disk drive (HDD), mSATA-based SSDs work in conjunction with HDDs. For example, the computer can use the mSATA SSD for the OS and other primary functions, while the HDD stores the data, music and photos. Manufacturers such as Toshiba and SanDisk currently offer mSATA SSDs, and Intel is reported to be developing its own line.

“Initial adoption of most SATA solid state drives has followed the HDD form factor. Using new mSATA modules enable a smaller, internal module connected to the system board for notebooks, mobile and other embedded storage applications to enable designers greater design flexibility,” Scott Nelson, VP Memory, Toshiba America Electronic Components, said in the original press release.

No concrete timeline has been given for when the mSATA test specification will be available, but Allion has many years of experience with SATA testing and working with manufacturers through SSD development and validation, and looks forward to helping deploy mSATA-compliant products.

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