We're seeing a true shift in the mobile market to including SSDs in more of the market spectrum. What was once the domain of $1500+ laptops is now being pushed well into sub-$1000 territory, and good 128GB SSDs are generally available for under $100 now. If you need capacity, it's still hard to beat hard drives, but for fast storage SSDs are the way to go and have been for a few years. Along with the transition to faster and better SSDs, we're also seeing smaller mSATA SSDs.

Up until now, the largest mSATA SSDs have topped out at 240GB/256GB, but Mushkin is now announcing their 480GB SF-2281 based Atlas mSATA drive. What's particularly interesting is that this may be the first 16GB NAND die we've seen; we're trying to confirm that, but it would make sense considering the capacity and form factor. Update: Nope! It looks like Mushkin is using a stacked daughterboard--thanks to PaulJeff for the image link in the comments to TweakTown's review.

Ultrabooks and ultraportables in general are set to benefit from the presence of higher capacity mSATA SSDs. While many users can get by with 128GB or 256GB of storage, another class of users can routinely fill up 256GB SSDs and then some. A quick look at my Users folder on my primary desktop reveals I'm using 150GB just for my normal data (documents, images, videos, music, email, etc.) Add in my Program Files and Windows directories and that's another 80GB. Obviously I'm not a typical user, but if I were to try and go pure SSD while keeping all of my data on one drive, I'd definitely need more 256GB--and as Anand showed earlier this week, having more spare area available will only help improve the consistency of performance.

Specifications for the new Atlas mSATA drive are what you would expect from a modern SandForce 480GB offering. Trim, ECC, SATA 6Gbps, upgradeable firmware, and all the other usual suspects are present. Mushkin is using "high speed MLC NAND", just like virtually every other modern consumer SSD, and the Atlas comes with a 3-year limited warranty. Max read speed is 540MBps, write is 425MBps, with 78K random read IOS and 28K random write IOPS. It uses the MO-300 mSATA form factor (50.80 x 29.85 x 4.85mm). Availability is expected in January with an MSRP of $500. That's higher than 2.5" 480GB SF-2281 drives by $50-$150, but that's the price we pay for smaller form factors.

Source: Mushkin PR

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  • nathanddrews - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    480GB SSD boot drive + 2.5" 1TB HDD for storage on just about any size laptop.

    Does this also mean that with the 16GB NAND barrier broken we'll see 1TB+ SSDs in the 2.5" form factor?
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    I meant 6Gbps 1TB+ SSDs in the 2.5" form factor.
  • Kristian Vättö - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    16GB NAND die should enable wider support for 1TB SSDs as most controllers can't address enough NAND die to have 1TB of NAND with 8GB die. When, I don't know, but the prices will probably be a bit higher in the beginning at least.
  • kensiko - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    It will arrive pretty soon.

    I just got my hands on 2 x Mushkin Chronos 480GB, 196$ each !! Newegg.
  • Souka - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    "Max read speed is 540MBps, write is 425MBps"

    But realworld compared to other SSD?

    I'm just guessing, but it'll be more like 90w/60r MBps
  • Beenthere - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Mushkin has had a very high failure rate on their Chronos SSDs so I hope these are a lot more reliable because they have alienated a lot of their customers with previous SSD models.
  • jwcalla - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    I'm not necessarily doubting you, but where did you get that from? It seems hard to get reliable failure rate numbers for disks.
  • Beenthere - Friday, December 7, 2012 - link

    Ask anyone who bought a Chronos SSD...

    You are correct that failure "rates" are difficult to come by and that's why most folks don't understand just how bad the SSD situation is. The data released by the SSD makers is as bogus as a three dollar bill, so take it and the MTBF data as an insult or outright lie.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 7, 2012 - link

    Of course, Beenthere knows all so don't worry -- just trust his post! Most folks don't understand just how bad the SSD situation is. Like me. I've had several SSDs deployed for a couple years now (Vertex 120, Vertex 2 120) and more recently I've had probably a couple dozen SSDs come through with laptops for testing. Not a single one has failed. Now, granted, I'm not stress testing for hours on end; I'm just using them as I use any computer. This system that I'm typing on for instance has a year+ old MemoRight 240GB SF-2281 SSD. Still going strong!
  • Beenthere - Friday, December 7, 2012 - link

    Jarred, you're acting like a jerk. Wow, you have a reference sample base of three SSDs, that's statitistically very useful or NOT! And you've tested a dozen SSDs for a few days. Yeah that too is a wonderful reference point or NOT! Yet you ignore the thousands of reports from other SSD owners as if they don't exist. You assume that because you have no compatibility, reliability, firmware, drive side reduction, etc. that no one else does either. That is pure ignorance and shows how irresponsible it is to even suggest that you have some basis for making a determination on the reliability or compatibility of SSDs.

    It's time to get a grip on the reality that many SSD makers are shipping half-baked products and consumers are the un-paid Beta testers. It is a disgrace and the fact that those in the media charged with responsible reporting tend to ignore the SSD defects or try to rationalise them under the guise of "new tech" even though SSDs have existed for a number years.

    In regards to Cheronos SSDs in particular, which is what my comment in this thread was about, Mushkin themselve's have acknowledged an excessive number of failed Chronos SSDs. They think the issue is a bad firmware so they have updated it. That however hasn't prevented thousands of Mushkin SSD owners from having lost data, time and money dealing with Chronos SSDs that were not properly validated prior to shipment - like most SSDs being sold to consumers.

    If the SSD makers tried to sell these defective SSDs to military, aerospace or many other industries they'd get sued and be out of business for selling defective goods. Instead they sell them to gullible consumers based on glowing reviews by those in the media who gloss over any recognised defects.

    When a reviewer has an SSD fail during testing then gets a second review SSD and it too fails during testing and the reviewer FAILS TO REPORT this in their review, but goes ahead and publishes as if the Samsung 840 Pro has no issues, that is fraud and they should be held accountable for consumer fraud.

    As far as Muskin is concerned, I have used their DRAM without issues and I would recommend it. As far as their SSDs, I would not touch one with a ten foot pole until I see a history and reliability.

    Here's some information for Jarred and everyone else:

    Attacking the messanger does not change reality. Just because you haven't experienced an issue with an SSD, doesn't mean that thousands of other people have not had issues nor that the SSD is not defective. Until the media starts accurately reporting SSD issues, SSD makers will continue to sell improperly validated crap to naive consumers.

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