Data is growing at a phenomenal rate each year. Consequently, this brings up the need for efficient storage devices that can improve the performance of your computers. Technological advancements have led to the emergence of new types of storage devices, and Solid State Drives (SSDs) are among them. SSDs come in many variations, and a few notable options include the SATA SSD and the mSATA SSD.
In this article, I’ll specifically talk in detail about the mSATA SSD variant because it consumes less energy and is smaller in size when compared to variants like the SATA. Read on to learn more about the mSATA SSD, how it works, and how it fares against other types of SSDs.
What Is an mSATA SSD?
Essentially, it’s a flash storage drive but is often used as a hard disk drive too. This drive is relatively small, as it measures just 50.8mm X 29.85mm. But, this drive can store a lot of data despite its small size, specifically up to 1TB. In short, this combination is what makes SSDs so powerful and popular.
Moreover, these drives can read and write data at a rate of 6GB/second. To clarify, these are relatively high speeds that can, in turn, boost the performance of your computer greatly.
Reliability is another salient aspect of these SSDs. Since these devices contain fewer moving parts, they are less prone to failure.
In all, you can store large amounts of data for extended periods in an mSATA SSD. At the same time, it boosts performance with good energy efficiency.
Due to these reasons, you can use mSATA SSD across many devices such as GPS systems, smartboards, mobile devices, notebooks, and more.
Let’s now consider how mSATA SSD is different from other popular SSDs.
mSATA vs SATA
Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) is an interface used for connecting bus adapters to storage devices like flash drives and hard disk drives. In fact, SATA defines how data gets transferred between a computer and its attached storage device. mSATA, as you may have guessed, stands for mini-SATA. Though both follow the same specifications, several differences between the two exist:
The biggest difference is in their size. SATA is much larger and comes with a 2.5-inch casing. This means it can fit only on larger devices like PCs and servers. mSATA, on the other hand, fits well in small devices.
2. Storage Capacity
Storage capacity is an important limitation to consider for any storage device. In general, SATA can comfortably store more than 1TB of data while mSATA has around 800GB to 1TB of storage. Hence, SATA is the clear winner in this regard.
Both mSATA and SATA use the Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) interface to transfer data at high speeds. In addition to that, both of these devices aren’t compatible with IDE and PCI-e.
Lastly, mSATA and SATA’s read and write speeds, and the resultant performance, are more or less the same. Also, both have a speed of 6GB/s. This is especially true if the same manufacturer has made both mSATA and SATA in the same class.
Overall, go for mSATA if you have a smaller device or if you will require lower storage space. Otherwise, go with a SATA SSD.
Next, let’s see how mSATA stacks up against another popular SSD called M.2.
mSATA vs M.2 SSD
The M.2 SSD is more advanced than the mSATA SSD because it came out in to the market much later. In terms of similarities, they’re both compact and can work well in small devices. However, that’s where the similarities end. That said, let’s dive into the differences.
1. Storage Capacity
The M.2 SSD has a larger storage capacity, as many models can store up to 2TB. The mSATA SSD, as previously mentioned, maxes out at 1TB. So, despite being small, the M.2 SSD can store more data for you.
The mSATA SSD supports only the ATA interface, whereas the M.2 SSD supports both the ATA and the PCI-e interfaces. Therefore, the M.2 SSD is more versatile.
The M.2 SSD shines when it comes to speed and performance as well. Since the M.2 SSD uses PCI-e, it can handle a maximum of four lanes of 1Gbps data on each side for a total of 8GB/s. On the other hand, mSATA’s maximum speed is 6GB/s.
In all, the M.2 SSD is a more advanced version of mSATA but can be more expensive too. This is why you’re likely to find M.2 SSDs in client systems while mSATA and SATA SSDs are more prevalent in enterprise systems.
This table summarizes the key differences between the three:
|Storage capacity (maximum)
As you can see, one is an evolution of the previous version when it comes to having more computing power per unit of space. If mSATA is the successor of SATA, M.2 is the successor of mSATA. Accordingly, variations in storage capacity and performance are noteworthy. I hope this helps you decide which of the popular SSD devices you should choose for your device.
To recap, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are a new form of storage device that enables faster data access. In turn, this boosts your computer’s performance. Out of the many available options out there, the mSATA SSD is one of the more popular choices. It’s a miniaturized version of the original SATA drives, but packs in more power and consumes less energy.
Have more questions about mSATA SSDs? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below!
Is the mSATA SSD the same as a standard SSD?
No, it’s much smaller than a standard SSD. This is why they are more prevalent in smaller devices such as tablets, laptops, and GPS systems. Standard SSDs, on the other hand, are more suited for larger systems like desktops.
Can I install an mSATA SSD on my desktop?
Yes, you can. All you need is a screwdriver and your desktop’s manual to get started. While installing, make sure to avoid touching the connectors and other components to avoid the static electricity in your body from damaging these components.
Will my mSATA SSD plug into a PCI-e slot?
Yes, your mSATA SSD will plug into a mini PCI-e slot. However, your motherboard must have the ability to boot them. If you’re unsure, go for M.2 SSD as this will work well with both ATA and PCI-e slots.
Can I use an mSATA SSD as a boot drive?
Yes, you can use an mSATA SSD as a boot drive if your laptop has an mSATA slot. The good news is that most popular laptop models like Dell and Lenovo have mSATA slots. This is a huge advantage as you can have a large hard drive and an SSD boot drive that loads quickly.
Can I use an M.2 SSD and mSATA SSD interchangeably?
No, you can’t use them interchangeably. Though they look alike and have similar performance, they don’t plug into the same system connectors. While the mSATA SSD uses only the ATA interface, M.2 SSD uses both ATA and PCI-e slots.
Subscribe to our newsletters for more quality content.
TechGenix: Article on Replacing Your Desktop HDD with an SSD
Understand the hidden challenges that come with replacing a desktop HDD with an SSD.
TechGenix: Article on the ‘Ruler’ Among SSDs
Learn about the ‘ruler’ among SSDs.
TechGenix: Article on SSD Technology Breakthroughs
Learn more about the breakthroughs in SSD technology and why they matter.
TechGenix: Article on Using SSDs in Servers
Learn about using SSDs in servers.
TechGenix: Article on Choosing Between a Hybrid Drive and an SSD
Learn more about choosing between a hybrid drive and SSD.