With the advents of thin and light notebooks we've also seen flash memory replace traditional hard disk drives for storage. For all the advantges this presents -- no moving parts, thinner designs, faster performance -- it often means higher price tags and less storage capacity. It'll take a while for this to change but Mushkin is taking a step in the right direction with what they claim is the "world's first" 480GB mSATA SSD.
The Atlas mSATA is based on a SandForce SF-2281 controller and features everything you'd expect from a modern SSD, including TRIM support, ECC, support for the 6Gbps SATA III interface and an upgradeable firmware. In terms of performance you're looking at up to 540MB/s sequential read speeds and up to 425MB/s sequential write speeds, with 78K random read IOPS and 28K random write IOPS.
The tiny drive is expected to ship in mid-January 2013 with an MSRP of $500 and a 3-year limited warranty. Anandtech notes that's around $50-$150 pricier than comparable 480GB SF-2281 units in the 2.5" form factor. Still, at around a $1 per gigabyte for such a speedy and small drive the Atlas isn't a bad deal -- the price might still drop a bit more for manufacturers wanting to ship one inside an Ultrabook.
Despite Mushkin's claims of breaking the 256GB mSATA barrier, it should be noted that OWC actually beat them to the punch with the 480GB Aura Pro, which is based on the same SF-2281 controller but priced $80 higher. Apple also offers an upgrade to 512GB SSD storage for the MacBook Air, although in that case NAND is soldered directly onto the logic board (not mSATA) and costs $500 when upgrading from 256GB.