Viewing page 1 of 5 pages. 1 2 3 4 5 NextADATA XPG SX300 128GB & Intel 525 Series 180GB mSATA SSDs
January 20, 2013 by Lawrence Lee
|ADATA XPG SX300 128GB mSATA SSD
||Intel 525 Series 180GB mSATA SSD
Mini-SATA is a small form factor developed by Intel for solid state drives
using the mini-PCI Express interface. It's supported on a handful of desktop
and mini-ITX motherboards but more common in the mobile space. Most laptops
and ultrabooks have but a single SATA drive bay, forcing users to sacrifice
storage space for a peppy SSD or trade performance for a roomy old fashioned
hard drive. Having an mSATA option allows you to have both, using an SSD on
the mini-PCIe slot and a HDD on SATA.
The ADATA XPG SX300 and Intel 525 Series 180GB are two more SandForce SF-2281
based SSDs, though this time in mSATA form. The last ADATA model we tested,
was a fairly snappy drive but faced heavy competition in a market flooded with
2.5 inch SATA SSDs, mainly other SandForce models. As mSATA is just taking off,
the SX300 and 525 face virtually no competition. The Intel 525 is similar to
the the 520,
though according to earlier reports, it was supposed to be equipped with 22
nm NAND Flash our CX300 and 525 samples are both outfitted with run-of-the-mill
25 nm modules. The 525 hasn't been officially released but one was fortuitously
included with our sample of the
Intel Next Unit Computing DC3217BY.
ADATA XPG SX300 128GB and Intel 525 Series 180GB.
Due to the small form factor, mSATA drives top out at about 256GB though this shouldn't be an issue for most users since larger drives are prohibitively expensive per byte. With the circuit board being a minuscule 51 x 30 mm, finer fabrication processes are required to increase storage capacity. Both drives have a SF-2281 controller chip and 25 nm Flash chips, 4 x 32GB for the ADATA SX300 128GB and 3 x 64GB for the Intel 525 180GB.
Like most SandForce drives, a percentage of the 525's storage is withheld from the user to replace cells as they eventually wear out from overuse. The SX300 follows in the footsteps of the SX910, having altered firmware that frees up all available capacity to the user. This obviously creates some concern regarding longevity but ADATA is apparently confident with this move, rating the drive for 1,200,000 hours of operation and backing it with a standard 3 year warranty.
Intel 525 180GB installed on a SATA drive adapter.
Like most desktoptop motherboards, our hard drive testing platforms lacks an
mSATA connector, so testing these SSDs are tested using an mSATA to SATA adapter,
model number Syba SY-ADA40050. The documentationc claims no bottleneck for dataflow,
but we would not be surprised if there is some overhead, however slim. The adapter
board has an exposed circuit board which can be an issue depending on how snug
the SATA power connector fits. Flexing and even cracking or breaking the board
is within the realm of possibility, so some caution should be exercised handling
ADATA XPG SX300: Specifications
(from the product website)
||Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND Flash Memory
||LSI SandForce SF-2281
||50.95 x 30 x 4mm(L × W × T)
||Read: 550 MB/sec.
Write: 505 MB/sec.
IOPS: Read 25,000/Write 85,000 (Maximum 4K Random Write)
||Up to 55 bits correctable per 512-byte sector (BAH)
||RoHS, CE, FCC
The SX300's specifications are unremarkable for a moderately fast Sandforce
variant. The sequential write and random read performance figures are a little
low compared to the SX910. We don't have any verified numbers for the Intel
525 as it hasn't officially launched but our guess is it's comparable to the
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