What is the largest mSATA SSD on the Market?

In today’s blog post I’m going to focus on the largest capacity mSATA SSD on the market.

Since maximum capacity is not the principal focus of Cactus Technologies, it’s no surprise it is not a Cactus product. This honor goes to Samsung with their 840 EVO mSATA Solid State Drive (SSD).

By using 64 of their own 128-Gigabit TLC (Tri-Level Cell) NAND flash die packaged in 4 components stacked 16 die high, they are able to achieve an incredible 1TB (Terabyte) of total storage in the mSATA form factor.

With 1GB of LPDDR2 DRAM, it is a very fast product designed for ultra-thin laptop PCs. The DRAM increases the performance of the mSATA to a sequential read and write speed of 520MB/s.

Due to the mSATA form factor, this device has very good shock and vibration characteristics. It also has SMART predictive life analysis and hardware encryption.

With great performance and maximum capacity specifications, many of you may be tempted to use this device in an Industrial application. There are many pitfalls to be aware of while considering this.

First, this product is based on the finest trace width memory at 10nm which has limited endurance cycles. Next, it is also based on 3-bit/cell technology, aka Tri-Level Cell (TLC). This is orders of magnitude less reliable than Single-Level Cell (SLC) NAND used in Industrial Grade and even the Multi-Level Cell (MLC) used in Commercial Grade products.

Another item to consider is the operating temperature environment. The 840 EVO mSATA is rated at 0C to 70C and within this temperature range will throttle back performance to keep errors from occurring near these extremes. So, you will likely not get the performance you’re looking for if you run your system anywhere except a comfortable 25C ambient room temperature.

Finally, the large 1GB DRAM cache used in this mSATA is susceptible to data loss during unexpected power loss.

Cactus offers a white paper for those interested in seeing the technical differences as the newer NAND generations make their way to the market.

If you would like to discuss further, please contact a Cactus Expert.

Steve Larrivee has over 30 year's experience in the data storage market, including 5 years at Seagate Technology and 10 years at SanDisk. He joined Cactus Technologies Limited as an equity partner and Co-Founded Cactus USA in 2007 with partner Tom Aguillon. Learn more about Steve on Google+