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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  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, December 7, 2012 - link

    We noted the failure of our Samsung SSD 840 Pro in the initial review and also updated the article when our second sample died.

    "Both drives will be available on October 15th, however in advance of the release Samsung provided us with a beta sample for review. We were only able to get a 256GB 840 Pro initially but we've already asked Samsung for additional capacities. The other bad news is after running through our client test suite and preparing the drive for a run through our enterprise suite, our pre-production sample died. This isn't the first time we've had an SSD die during our test process, pretty much every company has seen a failure during one of our reviews, but despite Samsung's excellent track record even it isn't immune from early issues. These drives are a few weeks away from retail and Samsung will be getting our sample back this week to figure out what went wrong."

    "Update: My replacement 840 Pro also died, I have shipped both drives back to Samsung and are waiting for their analysis of the failures. "


    Since then we have also provided additional updates to the issues surrounding the 840/840 Pro:

  • Death666Angel - Saturday, December 8, 2012 - link

    Acting like an idiot like you does sometimes draw the jerk out of people.... Whoops.
  • Nfarce - Sunday, December 9, 2012 - link

    Wow, Beenthere (and done what??). If you wanted to act like a complete jackhole on a blog in public, you sure succeeded pal.
  • daniel142005 - Sunday, December 9, 2012 - link

    Beenthere is right, Newegg* and other sites seem to have a ton of feedback claiming the devices were DOA or had some issues, but it's hit or miss and it still has a 4/5 star average. Also, it helps to include sources... most people don't believe something until they have facts.

    * http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...
  • chick0n - Thursday, December 13, 2012 - link

    beenthere (and done nothing?) is such a moron, just because some people bitxh about certain ssd it means all ssd on the market are 1/2 assed product?

    you seem to forgot that there are thousands if not millions of people with zero issues and 99% of the time when something works they will not just cry out loud like omfg my ssd works as it should!!!

    did ur mom dropped u when u were and infant? seems so. next time if u wanna say something, please do something good for mankind and shut up.
  • Christobevii3 - Monday, December 31, 2012 - link

    I have owned 6 different ssd's. Of the 6 the three mushkins I've had 0 failures or issues with. 2 of these are over 2 years old. I've had an ocz die in a week and a sandisk die after 2 months. I still have the replacement sandisk but sold the ocz immediately.

    I will continue to only purchase mushkin ssd's from now on given the reliability I've had, great support from the guy on their tech support number, and experience in rmaing ram.
  • Donkey2008 - Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - link

    So "Ask anyone who bought a Chronos SSD..."?

    Ok then...

    Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB owner since September 2012. No issues whatsoever. As fast as the day I bought it.
  • gramboh - Friday, December 7, 2012 - link

    I've been using a Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB since May without any issues, done 2 firmware upgrades (one upon purchase in May, one to 504 in October). Drive still performs as it did when I installed it (have about 70GB free now).
  • LordConrad - Sunday, December 9, 2012 - link

    I have a Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB SSD in my Mac Mini, and never had any problems with it. I also have two OCZ Vertex 2 drives that are still going strong. Either I'm very lucky or this issue is not nearly as bad as you claim.
  • GruntboyX - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - link

    Interesting that it says its made in the usa. unrelated but apple seems to be shifting some of its production to the usa.

    I wonder what is motivating this trend.

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