Are mini PCIe and mSATA the same thing? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 2011-12-15, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Are mini PCIe and mSATA the same thing?

I have just put together a new PC. My mobo is a Zotac H67 ITX. The mobo has wifi on a mini PCIe slot. I don't really need wifi in this PC. Can I use the slot for an SSD instead? It looks like the SFF SSDs are something called mSATA. This kind of looks the same size and seems to have the same connectors as mini PCIe. Does that mean that I can use mSATA drives in a mini PCIe slot?

It would be nice if I could as it would shink the number of components.

Here is a photo of the mobo. Notice the wifi card in the top left in the mini PCIe slot - the slot is labelled on the mobo. The photo on the right is of an mSATA drive.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 2011-12-15, 12:35 PM
 
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Unfortunately they are not compatible:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA#mSATA

Mini-SATA, which is distinct from the micro connector, was announced by the Serial ATA International Organization on September 21, 2009.[29] Applications include netbooks and other devices that require a smaller solid-state drive. The connector is similar in appearance to a PCI Express Mini Card interface,[30] but is electrically incompatible.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 2011-12-15, 12:47 PM
 
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FYI, I did a little more digging into this because I was curious about the incompatibility. It turns out there are newer boards with slots that are compatible with both mini PCIe and mSATA. I assume it's because mSATA only came out in 2009 so older boards don't support it but newer boards do. For example, Zotac now has an H68 ITX model and its slot supports both.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 2011-12-15, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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I don't understand why all SSDs don't use a smaller form factor. Why continue to use 2.5" as the form factor for SSDs when so much of that size is not needed for sSDs.

So it looks like I am SOL when it comes to using an mSATA drive in this PC. I should have bought the Z68 board instead.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 2011-12-15, 11:08 PM
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That's not entirely true. While SSD sizes may go up, the size of the memory chips themselves might not shrink at the same rate. So for huge capacity drives, you might still need a 2.5" form factor to accommodate all of the chips.

I wouldn't mind finding a larger capacity miniPCIE SSD for my Eee PC 900. Its current 4+16 GB capacity is a bit too restrictive, and a bit too slow for what I want to do with it.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 2011-12-16, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Francois - that is true for huge capacity drives but there are many instances where more moderate sizes - say 64GB to 128GB is more than enough. With the PCs in my house I have a media server and a WHS that hold all of my media content. Therefore I don't need large local hard drives. And I can see myself building more Small Form Factor PCs that run Plex/SageTV/Wiin MC as a front end to media files and can access online content like Netflix, Hulu, etc.
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