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Super confused about mSATA vs SSD

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello, I just purchased a new laptop and I was planning on upgrading the standard 500GB hard drive to an SSD. However, the computer also comes with a 32GB mSATA drive which based on my research, is similar to a standard SSD that everyone has grown to love.

Is the mSATA a standalone SSD where I can install the OS and all of my apps, even if the 500GB hard drive were to be removed (i.e does the mSATA act as cache or a standalone drive)? I realize that 32GB isn't that much space but I only plan on using my laptop for Photoshop and development. I save my work often in PS but since I'll be saving my files to the 500GB hard drive, it'll be slow correct? I have a few 256GB SSDs laying around and may throw one into the new system if that means it'll reduce saving/loading times. I would prefer not to go this route though as I am saving the SSDs for my desktop build.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 8
WHAT???....... did i miss the point. the 32 gb hd would had os and ps on it and back up on ssd. why not take out the hd and put a spare ssd 256gb in it and be good to go. I wish oi had a 256 gb ssd as spare. im runing a 128 gb ssd and a pos 128 gb hd laptop drive on main rig.


On point. ya you can , most ssd are msata ports but make sure, you gave use no lap top info or anything so hard to say .


best of luck
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello, thanks for the reply.

I am planning on using the 32GB for the OS and PS and then putting everything else on the standard 500GB hard drive.

If I were to use one of the SSDs that I have, I would remove both the 500GB hard drive and 32GB mSATA drive.

The laptop is a Dell XPS 14 Ultrabook.
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post #4 of 8
The mSATA SSD is probably set up as a caching drive for the 500GB currently but most can be reformatted and set up as an OS drive pretty easily. It depends on your laptop and how the manufacturer set up the mSATA to be recognized in the BIOS though. You may be able to also upgrade the mSATA drive to a larger size. As for saving Photoshop files to the HDD, saving large files frequently to an SSD isn't good for it as they have a limited number of writes to those drives and while it may be faster, you will probably burn through the SSD pretty quickly if you do that. You should be fine with saving to the HDD but you will have slower speeds than an SSD.

You can probably see if other people have installed the OS on the mSATA drive for your laptop model and used the 500GB HDD as a storage drive by doing a quick search on Google.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSocialHermit View Post

The mSATA SSD is probably set up as a caching drive for the 500GB currently but most can be reformatted and set up as an OS drive pretty easily. It depends on your laptop and how the manufacturer set up the mSATA to be recognized in the BIOS though. You may be able to also upgrade the mSATA drive to a larger size. As for saving Photoshop files to the HDD, saving large files frequently to an SSD isn't good for it as they have a limited number of writes to those drives and while it may be faster, you will probably burn through the SSD pretty quickly if you do that. You should be fine with saving to the HDD but you will have slower speeds than an SSD.

You can probably see if other people have installed the OS on the mSATA drive for your laptop model and used the 500GB HDD as a storage drive by doing a quick search on Google.

Awesome reply. This answers my question perfectly.

Thanks! + Rep
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post #6 of 8
No problem, glad I could help thumb.gif
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSocialHermit View Post

As for saving Photoshop files to the HDD, saving large files frequently to an SSD isn't good for it as they have a limited number of writes to those drives and while it may be faster, you will probably burn through the SSD pretty quickly if you do that. You should be fine with saving to the HDD but you will have slower speeds than an SSD.

That is entirely true, but grossly exaggerated. The absolute worst drive currently available when it comes to writes would have to be a 120GB Samsung 840. It uses TLC (3 bits per cell) instead of MLC (2 bits) and can survive only a third the P/E cycles (entire drive written to once) of an equivalent MLC drive (like the 840 Pro, since that's essentially the only difference - same controller and whatnot). However, it still has a minimum of 1000 P/E cycles before errors are likely to be encountered, meaning you'd need to write 120 terabytes before it nears the end of its life. You could write 30GB daily for a decade and be fine for a few months after. Bigger MLC drives, like the 960GB Crucial M500, can sustain almost 3 PETAbytes before they begin their deaths. The only reason you wouldn't want to use it as a scratch disk? Limited space.

mSATA is a variant on the SATA standard is all, and SSDs in that form factor tend to be around 15-30% more expensive because of that (and probably limited demand too). It's designed for thin and/or small laptops especially, though it does have some uses in other purposes for caching, or what yours is likely set up for. As for switching? No idea, but I just wanted you to know that writes won't be an issue. Just don't defragment a standalone SSD and you'll be fine.
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post #8 of 8
if you are going to use the mSATA drive for the OS you need to make sure the mobo allows you to boot from the mSATA drive. My ultrabook only allows for SATA booting.
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