Even after m.2 (NGFF) comes later this year, the mSATA standard will live on. There are thousands of devices on the market that already with mSATA and manufacturers are not going to abandon the standard. mSATA will live on and be more popular than ever as more companies release small form factor PCs. We've seen several tiny systems come through our email box and Intel even has its own NUC project as well. These reasonably priced small form factor systems are about the size of a home network router, too small for 2.5" drives.
The Intel 525 Series isn't flash, it doesn't ship with a decked out accessory package and it's really not all that exciting. We've seen mSATA drives before and many with LSI SandForce controllers. The 525 Series is a product that gets the job done and comes from one of the most reliable SSD manufacturers in the business. The existing Intel SSD software tools seamlessly work with the 525 Series making this new series an extension of the 2.5" 520, one of the very best, most reliable SSDs on the market today.
Intel did impress us with its wide capacity range for the 525 Series. 60GB, 120GB and 240GB are common in the mSATA market, but Intel also brought 30GB in and it works well for embedded device and has the potential to be a potent cache drive. The 90GB and 180GB capacity sizes fill price points previously open.
The 525 Series does come at a higher price than most of the other mSATA drives we've tested, but we've yet to run across another mSATA drive with a five year warranty, 5K P/E cycle flash and of course Intel's lengthy validation process. Add on the deluxe Intel SSD Toolkit and all of these factors should help you absorb the additional amount needed to purchase a quality Intel SSD.
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