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ADATA XPG SX300 128GB mSATA Solid State Drive Review

The ADATA XPG SX300 128GB is another very capable Sandforce 2281 powered unit targeting the latest motherboards released with mSATA support.

The popularity of the mSATA interface is slowly rising, thanks to the release of portable computers such as the Dell Precision M6600 and IBM Thinkpad range.

These machines have an accessible slot underneath the chassis for quick installation, allowing standard 2.5 inch drives to be used for mechanical storage demands.

Additionally, many companies such as Gigabyte, Asus and MSI are including mSATA slots on their full sized desktop boards. This is perfect for attaching a boot drive directly to the motherboard and leaving all standard ports free for additional drives.

The only issue we are finding is that many of the companies are restricting the mSATA connector speed to SATA 3Gbps, ensuring that the XPG SX300 128GB performance bandwidth will be effectively cut in half.

It is not an ideal situation and is why we used the Aleratec MiniPCIe mSATA to SATA SSD Adapter today for our results today. There is absolutely no point testing this drive via a desktop mSATA interface and highlighting results limited by a motherboard bandwidth design decision. We are confident this will change over time and that more motherboards will offer mSATA 6Gbps connectivity.

We are pleased to see that the ADATA XPG SX300 128GB doesn’t suffer from a performance penalty due to the diminutive physical design. This drive is just as fast as many of the leading 2.5 inch Sandforce 2281 drives, delivering over 520 MB/s when dealing with sequential compressible data transfers.

Obviously as this is an LSi Sandforce 2281 powered drive, incompressible data performance suffers. Nothing has changed in this regard over the last year.

The greatest competition to the LSi Sandforce 2281 in the mSATA sector would come from OCZ, however they have yet to release an Indilinx Everest 2 powered drive. The Vertex 4 2.5 inch drive is my current favourite, delivering the most balanced performance levels with both compressible and incompressible data demands.

We have no confirmed pricing for the ADATA XPG SX300 128GB unit, however there will be a price premium especially as the mSATA sector is in the early stages of development.

Remember if you are buying this for a desktop mSATA slot – check for SATA 6Gbps capabilities in your motherboard manual, otherwise performance will be significantly reduced.

Pros:

  • ideal for a boot drive in either a laptop or desktop environment.
  • compressible performance.
  • decent IOPS results.

Cons:

  • incompressible data suffers a performance penalty.
  • Many desktop motherboard mSATA slots are limited to 3Gbps.
  • will be more expensive than a 2.5 inch drive with similar performance characteristics.

Kitguru says: If you want to adopt an mSATA drive for your laptop or desktop system, this is a high performance product and an ideal size for a boot drive.

Rating: 9.0.

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  • Sven

    My dell laptop has one of these ports, im tempted to buy one, move out my 2.5 inch SSD in it – use that in my desktop. and then add a 1TB 2.5 inch drive to my laptop.

    Win all round!

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  • Davis

    Slightly disappointed in the cost of these right now, it makes it hard to justify a purchase, even if the motherboard supports it.