Examining Intel's 525 Series mSATA Solid State Drive
Intel 525 Series Up Close
"The Intel SSD 525 Series drive has a safety feature for monitoring temperature and for protecting the module from overheating, The operating temperature specifications of the Intel SSD 525 Series drive or 0-70 degrees Celsius as measured by the temperature sensor, SMART Attribute BEh," Intel explains. "The drive may occasionally exceed that temperature range and will continue performing, however the Temperature Governor will act to regulate performance to a level that will maintain drive integrity. The host system should be designed to accommodate measures such that normal, typical, operations do not maintain drive temperature outside of specified operating temperature conditions."
We've chosen to highlight this tidbit because Ultrabooks and mini PCs aren't as easy to keep cool as a desktop tower. This is especially true of the NUC, which exhibited stability issues when we reviewed a pre-production version of the device. The integrated Wi-Fi card heats up quickly, and it's placement directly underneath the mSATA port transfers that heat to the SSD in quick fashion. It's good to know that Intel is taking measures to protect mSATA SSDs from burning themselves up should overheating become an issue in these small boxes.
All of these drives are capable of running Windows 8, even the 30GB model. Windows 8 in 32-bit form requires 16GB of disk space and the 64-bit flavor requires 20GB. That doesn't leave much room for third-party apps, but for a basic build for surfing the web and living in the cloud, you can get away with a 30GB SSD. If you're planning to install a bunch of apps, obviously a larger capacity SSD is in order.
Underneath the sticker are a pair of multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory memory chips built on a 25nm manufacturing process. There are two more NAND flash memory chips on the other side of each SSD, save for the 180GB, which uses three 64GB chips. All of the drives are backwards compatible with SATA 3Gbps.