Get ready for mini-SATA

Small, netbook-bound solid-state drives often use PCI Express Mini connectors, but their successors could boast a new type of Serial ATA connector. The Serial ATA International Organization has announced the development of a new low-profile SATA connector dubbed mini-SATA.

The mini-SATA, or mSATA, connector should find its way into notebooks and netbooks alike. However, SATA-IO adds that the new spec will be “particularly beneficial for manufacturers planning to incorporate small form factor SSDs (approximately the size of a business card) in portable PC devices.”

mSATA will map Serial ATA signals “onto an existing small form factor connector,” and it will support both 150MB/s and 300MB/s transfer rates.

The SATA-IO Cable and Connector Working Group, which includes Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, SanDisk, STEC, and Toshiba, is currently overseeing the mSATA specification’s development. Toshiba has already announced mSATA modules built using 32-nm multi-level-cell NAND flash memory. And it’s posted a photo of one:

The module on the left features the same slim SATA connector as typical mobile hard drives, while the one on the right has the new mSATA connector. No contest there; the latter is considerably smaller.

Toshiba says these two drives will be available with 30GB and 62GB capacities after mass production kicks off in October. Top speeds will be 180MB/s for sequential reads and 80MB/s for sequential writes.

Comments closed
    • cass
    • 10 years ago

    What am i missing? from the photo the outside to outside measurement of the actual sata connector is about 32-33mm and the msata is 25mm. Is the msata single sided or something? Why would you want a new standard for that little of a gain?

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    this should be the future storage medium for touch screen pmp’s and other mp3 players. Hopefully this will incorporate the new 20nm chips coming out next year, making it even smaller! would be nice to see a 256gb Zii Egg…

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    hahah, nicely pwnd!

    • sweatshopking
    • 10 years ago

    sata blows anyway. I’M ROCKING A 90GB WESTERN DIGITAL PATA!!! PATA FTW!!! SATA FTL!!

    • indeego
    • 10 years ago

    I have cleared my schedule for this introduction of magnificent proportions that will change the industry dramaticallyg{<.<}g

    • Anonymous Hamster
    • 10 years ago

    Hey, it’s back to card-edge connectors, just like 5.25″ floppy drives!
    The more things change, the more they stay the same!

    • crazybus
    • 10 years ago

    This looks very similar to existing mini PCIe form factor SATA SSD’s. I wonder what the differences are, if any, or if it’s just SATA-IO legitimizing what’s already being used. q[

      • d2brothe
      • 10 years ago

      Completely different connection. One connector connects the device to the PCIe bus on the system, the other connects to a SATA port. The formfactor may be the same…but the connection is entirely different.

        • crazybus
        • 10 years ago

        I’m aware of that. The existing “mini PCIe” SSD’s don’t actually connect to the PCIe bus either.

          • elpresidente
          • 10 years ago

          The difference (I believe) is in the fact that the SSD manufacturers no longer have to have a HD controller built into the tiny SSD modules, meaning smaller form factors and thus cost savings to the manufacturer. Also, this means that the chipset-based hard disk controllers can be used, reducing the need for that chip completely, and thus reducing the power draw as well as the chip count (and therefore cost) of these systems somewhat.

    • Krogoth
    • 10 years ago

    Why? It makes no practical sense. mSATA connector is not that smaller then a SATA connector.

    It is just another attempt to artificially segment laptop and desktop components.

      • bdwilcox
      • 10 years ago

      The regular SSD is 7cm wide and the micro is 5cm wide. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t make the connector double-sided and 2.5 cm wide. That would make a lot more sense.

    • Naito
    • 10 years ago

    Yuck……I absolutely do NOT miss having to find “laptop to desktop” adapters for everything.

      • StashTheVampede
      • 10 years ago

      Just serviced up a laptop computer a month ago and thought to myself: oh crap, what is the adapter for a 2.5″ SATA drive. Turns out my current 3.5″ adapter was just fine.

      Would really hate to buy another one just for miniSata.

    • wiak
    • 10 years ago

    its Β΅SATA you fools πŸ˜›

      • stoydgen
      • 10 years ago

      Mini-SATA not Micro πŸ˜‰

    • bthylafh
    • 10 years ago

    Hooray, we get to buy adapters to plug laptop drives into desktop machines, just like the bad old days. :-/

      • bdwilcox
      • 10 years ago

      That’s one of the reasons the extra pins worries me. Instead of a simple, cheap expander adapter, we might need an expensive converter adapter that uses some chips and circuitry.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        THUR TAKIN’ R CHEAP ADAPTORS!!1

        πŸ˜€

        • axeman
        • 10 years ago

        I bet it just has the extra pins because of current requirements. ie, multiple pins are 5v supply.

        edit: yep, that’s pretty much it. Fun fact: the regular sata power connector already has 15 pins

    • bdwilcox
    • 10 years ago

    The Mini-SATA has more pins showing than the regular SATA connector. Wonder if it needs more grounding pins. Also wonder if all the SATA properties are intact, especially hot-swap capability.

      • just brew it!
      • 10 years ago

      The lengths of the contacts don’t appear to be staggered, which argues for it not being hot-swappable. I suppose the contacts in the socket it mates with could be staggered instead…

    • Thresher
    • 10 years ago

    Great, another tab I can break off to ruin a drive.

      • Rzooq
      • 10 years ago

      This time the connector looks to be directly on the pcb, not some plastic tab, so it should be much harder to break πŸ™‚

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