Crucial has announced availability of the m4 mSATA line of solid state drives targeted at Ultrabooks. These new drives are one eighth the size of a standard 2.5-inch drive yet deliver the same level of performance as Crucial’s full-size m4 SSD line, making them perfect for primary storage or to act as a cache alongside a traditional spinning hard drive in systems where space is at a premium.
Units are available in capacities of 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB and as is typical with most solid state drives, performance scales as you increase the NAND capacity. The 32GB drive, for example, features read speeds up to 440MB/s but writes at only 50MB/s. Transfer rates increase to 500MB/s read, 95MB/s write when bumping up to 64GB but the full potential of the line is realized at 256GB with 500MB/s reads and 260MB/s writes.
Solid state drives are still a lot more expensive than mechanical hard drives but there are plenty of benefits. In addition to the ridiculous increase in overall system performance, computers with SSDs typically operate more quietly than others because there are no moving parts to generate noise. In theory, this also means that drives should be less susceptible to physical shock. SSDs also typically produce less heat than their spinning counterparts.
Drives are available in capacities of 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB with MSRP’s set at $52.99, $80.99, $121.99, and $225.99, respectively through crucial.com and select retail partners. I checked Amazon and a few other retails but didn’t see the drives in stock as of writing.