Mini SSDs based on the mSATA form factor tend to be no faster than their 2.5" Serial ATA counterparts. However, mSATA is due to be replaced by a next-generation form factor dubbed, er, the Next Generation Form Factor, or NGFF. This new format can tap multiple PCI Express lanes to offer more bandwidth than a 6Gbps SATA link, and Plextor has a new drive that will take advantage.
Hardware.Info spotted the SSD at last week's CeBIT conference. The unnamed NGFF drive pairs a two-lane PCIe interface with Marvell's 88SS9189 controller silicon. 128 and 256GB capacities are listed, as are some impressive performance specifications. The drive is projected to hit sequential read and write speeds of 700MB/s and 550MB/s, respectively. It's also rated for 100k/90k read/write IOps.
The site has details on the TLC-based 2.5" SSD we mentioned last week, too. This puppy sports the same Marvell controller as the NGFF model and will reportedly offer peak sequential speeds of 540MB/s for reads and 465MB/s for writes. That sequential write rate is particularly impressive considering Samsung's TLC-based 840 Series has a peak sequential write rate of only 330MB/s. TLC NAND has slower write performance than MLC flash, and I'm curious to see whether the Plextor drive really is that much faster in the real world.
There's no word on when the TLC-based drive will be ready, but the NGFF model is reportedly being primed for Haswell-based systems. Although NGFF was designed primarily for notebooks, its support of two- and four-lane PCIe configurations has intriguing potential for desktop SSDs, especially in small-form-factor systems. We've already seen numerous motherboards equipped with mSATA slots, and I wouldn't be surprised if NGFF connectivity made its way onto next-generation models.
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