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IDF There's a burning need for a standard interconnect for netbook-oriented solid-state drives, apparently. Well, according to the Serial ATA International Organisation, the body behind the bus, there is.

To fill the gap, it has introduced mini-Sata - aka mSata. Regular Sata ports aren't exactly large, but they're clearly still too big for SSDs, according to the Sata-IO. So mSata runs 1.5Gb/s and 3Gb/s signalling over what is essentially a mini-PCI connector.

But why bother? After all, Sata is already a de facto netbook storage standard. Most netbooks come with hard drives these days and the vast majority of them use regular Sata connectors.

Those netbooks that do incorporate SSDs often use mini-PCI, so it should be possible to adopt mSata by changing the motherboard circuitry and chips but not the physical connector.

This will allow owners of future SSD-equipped netbooks to upgrade their storage more easily than is the case today. Now, you need to find a drive upgrade that's specific to your machine. But the real boon is for manufacturers who should be able to add solid-state storage more cheaply.

Toshiba's already announced a pair of mSata drives, available in 30GB and 62GB capacities. ®

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