Flash memory maker Mushkin today announced an industry first: a 480GB solid state drive on a single module that uses an mSATA connector for space conservation. This allows for nearly 500GB of high-speed SATA III storage on a drive that’s only about as big as a business card, which is ideal for ultrabook notebooks that want to save space inside the machine without sacrificing storage space.
Mushkin’s new SSD also isn’t all that expensive: it retails for $499.99 U.S., but that actually works out to a very reasonable rate of just over $1 per GB. The drive will be available beginning in mid-January 2013, and options like it could become an attractive option for OEMs looking to bump up space pre-installed on factory-configured notebook models, while still giving users access to the instant-on and power savings benefits of flash storage. But it’ll also be sold directly to consumers, so folks who have hit a wall in terms of their notebook’s capacity will be able to pick up a nice aftermarket boost via this Mushkin drive.
The 2.5-inch drive format is slowly but surely on the way out, and advancements like this one from Mushkin should help hurry its demise. In the past, cost was a big limiting factor against making SSDs a practical alternative for general use, but seeing this kind of cutting edge tech hit the market at this price is a good sign that economics are less of a barrier than they once were. To be clear it’s still quite pricey when a stock 500GB hard disk drive is about $100 for similar specs – albeit running at a slower speed and incompatible with most ultrathin computers. A more adequate comparison is with 480GB 2.5-inch SSDs, which generally still run around $350 to $400.