In the quest to make laptops ever thinner and lighter -- leading to Intel's development of the Ultrabook platform -- the mSATA form factor has been adopted for solid-state storage in a tiny footprint. But among their limitations, SSD drives have been slow to provide the types of capacities that traditional magnetic hard drives can -- and the smaller mSATA ones have had even more difficulty.
But Samsung is hoping to change that for Ultrabooks with the announcement of its new 840 EVO mSATA line, which will include capacities all the way up to one terabyte. That's a far cry from the 64GB or 128GB mSATA drives that consumers have often been stuck with when buying Ultrabook-style laptops. Apple has tried to circumvent the problem by relying on customized PCI Express SSD drives for its latest MacBook notebooks, and while mSATA is based on the mini-PCIe interface, it still relies on the SATA standard for data transfer.
About a year ago, Mushkin released a 480GB mSATA drive, though that company obviously lacks the name recognition and manufacturing heft of Samsung. The new 840 EVO drives come in 120GB, 250GB, and 500GB capacities in addition to the 1TB model. Samsung uses TLC NAND flash memory and, at least in regard to the terabyte version, promises 540 megabytes per second sequential read speeds and 520MB/s sequential write speeds. According to a review by British tech site bit-tech, performance from the 1TB 840 EVO mSATA matches that of the previously released full-size 840 EVO SSD, which is a pretty good feat considering the major reduction in size required to squeeze that capacity into an mSATA drive.
Unfortunately, Samsung has not yet announced pricing for the new 840 EVO mSATA lineup, though as the capacity increases, the price no doubt will rise as well. The drives will be available later this month, however, so we won't have to wait long to find out what price you'll pay for an Ultrabook with a terabyte of storage available.