TweakTown
Tech content trusted by users in North America and around the world
5,675 Reviews & Articles | 36,071 News Posts
Weekly Giveaway: Fractal Design Arc Cases Contest (Global Entry!)

Intel 525 Series mSATA SSD Review: Five Capacities Tested

Intel 525 Series mSATA SSD Review: Five Capacities Tested

Chris takes five Intel mSATA SSDs from the 525 Series for a spin. The mSATA standard is all around you in new products and you might not even know your new notebook has an open mSATA slot.

| SSDs in Storage | Posted: Apr 3, 2013 11:01 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%      Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction

 

TweakTown image content/5/3/5314_01_intel_525_series_msata_ssd_review_five_capacities_tested.png

 

When we went notebook shopping for a model that accepted both SATA III and mSATA, we had a difficult time. Many of the major notebook manufacturers use mSATA in their popular models, but don't list the open slot as a feature or even its existence. We finally choose the Lenovo W530 for its ability to handle two SATA III 2.5" form factor drives and the presence of an onboard mSATA slot under the keyboard. I have a long time love affair with Lenovo notebooks as well, so that played a role as well.

 

The Lenovo W530 and its consumer counterpart T530 are not advertised with mSATA. The product specifications don't mention mSATA, the official videos don't comment on mSATA, but you can configure the unit with a cache drive and often times that is code for an mSATA slot.

 

That said, just mentioning a SSD/HDD cache arrangement doesn't always mean the presence of mSATA, as I found out two weeks ago. Now that I have a number of mSATA drives on hand and one of my daily use notebooks is getting up there in age, I went shopping at the local big box retailers for a new notebook. I actually went out to look at $500 - $700 models and came home with a Samsung 7-Series 17" ultrabook. As advertised in the store, the 7-Series comes with a 500GB HDD and an 8GB cache drive. The advertised specs worked out well because my plan was to replace the HDD with an Intel DC S3700 800GB SSD and replace the mSATA drive with the Mushkin 480GB mSATA. After returning home, I found the mSATA drive was actually an iSSD from SanDisk. A controller and NAND flash combined on a single chip and soldered to the motherboard. Lesson learned, just because a notebook says cache doesn't always mean mSATA.

 

Over time we'll see an increase in both of these solutions and the inclusion of another, m.2 also known as NGFF. Until Haswell hits the market, NGFF is on the back burner, but till then mSATA leads the performance category, and will expand into even more areas.

 

A number of desktop motherboards already have mSATA slots, with GIGABYTE leading the way with the most mSATA equipped models. Intel's new NUC platform uses mSATA as well. The mSATA drive in the NUC is the new 525 Series that we're looking at today.

 

Let's take a look at the specifications and the features of Intel's new 525 Series.

Related Tags

Further Reading: Read and find more Storage content at our Storage reviews, guides and articles index page.

Do you get our RSS feed? Get It!

Post a Comment about this content

Latest Tech News Posts

View More News Posts

Latest Downloads

View More Latest Downloads

TweakTown Web Poll

Question: Did EA kill the Battlefield franchise with the terrible BF4 issues?

Yes, Battlefield is doomed

No, Battlefield will live on strong

I'm not sure, but I know EA needs to improve its game

or View the Results

View More Polls

Forum Activity

View More Forum Posts

Press Releases

View More Press Releases
Get TweakTown updates via Facebook!
Just click the "Like" button below