First created in 2000, Serial ATA (SATA) is a computer bus interface that connects host bus adapters to mass storage devices such as hard disk drives, optical drives, and solid-state drives. Serial ATA succeeded the earlier Parallel ATA standard to become the predominant interface for storage devices. Following is a comparison between SATA vs mSATA products. 
The best quality SATA SSD comes in many standard form factors, with a high capacity. These are reliable NAND SSD with fixed BOM control and Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) of ECC algorithm. Some of the key features of SATA SSD include low power management, advanced data encryption, Power loss protection and SMART analysis.

On the other hand, The SATA International Organization (SATA-IO) first developed the mSATA nine years later, in 2009. The mSATA or Mini-Serial ATA is a version of the SATA interface for solid state drives (SSDs) in mobile devices. It comes with a smaller form factor than a standard SSD and is designed for use with portable, power-constrained devices such as laptops, tablets and netbooks, used like a hard disk drive in a processor. It’s also noteworthy that the host system must have a specific connector for the mSATA drive to be inserted. As with other flash storage devices, the mSATA can be used to store operating systems, applications and other data.

SATA vs mSATA Specifications

There’s a Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) that provides specifications for all SATA and mSATA designs. Both SATA vs mSATA have to transfer data between the storage device and the host device, for which they use the same command, the Advanced Technology Attachment or ATA. Therefore, a SATA interface is similar to how mSATA acts within a device. Likewise, other specifications for SATA and mSATA are also similar, because SATA-IO issues common specifications to be followed by all manufacturers.

Following are some of the specifications of Flexxon SATA vs mSATA products.

Flexxon’s SATA III
Products Specifications
SATA 1.8”SATA 2.5”SATA Half SlimmSATA
Flash TypeMLCSLC, MLC, pSLC, 3D TLC, 3D pSLC3D TLC, MLC, SLC, pSLC3D TLC, MLC, SLC, pSLC, 3D pSLC
Read Speed510 MB/s510-550 MB/s540-550 MB/s540 - 550 MB/s
Write Speed200MB/s430-530MB/s310MB/s420 - 520MB/s
Capacity16GB - 128GB2GB - 16TB2GB - 512GB4GB - 1TB/s
Temperature GradeIndustrialIndustrial/Commercial/MilitaryIndustrial/CommercialIndustrial/Commercial

SATA vs mSATA Size

As the name m-SATA suggests, it is a miniature version of SATA. The mini-SATA was in fact created in small form factors, for smaller handheld devices, notebook computers, retail kiosks, printers and other smaller electronic devices. With the size of a business card, mSATA is a suitable fit for smaller devices with power constraints, whereas SATA is thicker and suits larger devices. Flexxon SATA products use 1.8” or 2.5” casing.

SATA vs mSATA Capacity

Generally, both SATA and mSATA meet the SATA III speed guidelines. However, since mSATA is used in smaller devices, they tend to have lower storage capacities, as drive or device size is a key factor in determining the capacity. Comparatively, SATA offers more capacity compared to mSATA. However, here’s another key factor to consider. If the drive is built on SLC NAND flash, it will have less capacity but greater reliability. On the other hand, if the drive uses MLC or TLC NAND flash, it will offer a higher capacity with less reliability. Hence, MLC will always have more capacity compared to SLC, no matter whether it’s a SATA or a mSATA drive. Flexxon’s 1.8” SATA III offers up to 128 GB capacity, the half slim SATA III offers up to 512 GB space, whereas the 2.5” SATA III has a capacity of up to 16 TB. In comparison, the Flexxon mSATA has a capacity of 4GB to 1TB.

While still found in some legacy devices, mSATA SSDs are quickly being replaced by M.2 SSDs. The mSATA SSD flash storage device is still used in commercial products such as digital signs, point-of-sale devices and multifunctional printers.

See Also:

Consider Viability of The SATA SSD While Planning to Purchase

An mSATA card

A light weight internal SSD, an mSATA card may have the dimensions of 50.8 mm x 29.85 mm x 4.85 mm. It supports all three revisions to the SATA interface specification. Flexxon mSATA cards offer a capacity of 4GB up to 1TB with a read speed up to 550 MB/s and write speed up to 520 MB/s.

How is mSATA used?

Designed for their smaller size, mSATA are made for ultra-thin laptops. They can also be utilized as cache drives, to boost up access to frequently accessed data. Moreover, they’re likely to be found in other devices like tablets, notebooks, GPS devices, Automated care devices, drive caches, phone conference systems, electronic smart boards and in electronic patient records systems.

Advantages of Small Size; mSATA

mSATA was designed because it was needed, like every other invention. So here are a few advantages of using this small sized SSD. Being small like the size of an identity card or UNO card, it comes with a smaller form factor and lower power consumption than a standard SSD. It also has shock and vibration resistance, and fast boot and shutdown capabilities.

Further specifications of mSATA

Read/Write Speed: Generally, the reading speed in mSATA may boost up to 550Mbps whereas writing speed may reach 520Mbps, as is the case with Flexxon mSATA products.

Storage Capacity: Typical storage capacity of mSATA drives is around 8 GB to 512 GB, sometimes reaching up to 1 TB. Flexxon’s 3D TLC offers up to 1TB capacity.

Reliability and Endurance: mSATA SSDs are typically known for their reliability in data storage. They may have a MTBF (mean time between failures) value of around 1.5 to 2 million hours. Additionally, they can also be coated with protective cases to add resistance from external shock and vibration.

Other features: Other features of mSATA drives can include end-to-end data protection, inclusion of error correction code and cyclic redundancy checks.

Here’s a complete purchase guide for SATA SSDs. 

mSATA Health Testing

mSATA can also be tested for faults with some software tools. Faulty SSDs will achieve a fail result. Most health check tools can examine both sequential and random read and write speeds, power consumption, file transfer speeds and general performance.
Although, not all health check tools are designed for all SSDs so it’s better to thoroughly check a tool’s available features before using it. Health checking is handy to monitor, secure and manage data using some diagnostic scans, performance optimization, performance thresholds and benchmarks.

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