The Motherboard - Onboard SSD
What makes the board stand out so much compared to any other Z68 board we've looked at is the true integration of Intel Smart Response Technology or ISRT. Chris recently did an article on ISRT on this motherboard, but today we'll just take a closer look at the how the SSD is integrated in the board.
We can see it sits between the CPU socket and the first PCIe x16 slot. It's really flat and shouldn't affect any kind of heatsink. To remove it, the design is similar to that of SODIMM memory in notebooks; you use two clips and it pops up. Once in that position you can just pull it out.
With it gone, you can see the spot where it sits. While the interface is a typical mini PCIe one, it doesn't run off the PCIe lanes. Instead it runs off the SATA ones, hence the fact that one SATA port is disabled when the mSATA SSD is installed.
The SSD is an Intel 311 series 20GB MLC SATA II drive. While not big enough to be used as a standalone SSD, it's plenty big enough to be used in conjunction with a traditional mechanical hard drive via ISRT.
While we won't be testing ISRT today, if you want to find out more about it, it's worth taking the time to read our ISRT article which uses the exact same motherboard.