Holy crap, a new SATA SSD that's actually interesting

Colorful SL500 Mini SSD
(Image credit: Colorful)

When it comes to solid state drives the big news these days is around the ever increasing speeds of the best PCIe 4.0 SSDs, but today Colorful has done something I thought impossible: It has released a SATA-based SSD that's actually genuinely interesting, the SL500 Mini.

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The company has been shipping its standard SL500 drives in SATA form for a while now, and they're pretty basic drives, necessarily sitting below the throughput limits of the 6Gbps interface of 500MB/s and 480MB/s read/write respectively. So far, so uninteresting. But the SL500 Mini is a physically different beast, a SATA SSD that's smaller than an M.2 drive.

Coming in either 250GB or 500GB trim, the Colorful SL500 Mini is some 26 percent the size of a regular SATA drive, with measurements of just 26 x 68 x 7mm. That gives it a PCB which is barely big enough to house the actual SATA connections themselves. And it weighs in at just 2g. 

Called an SDP (SATA Disk in Package) Colorful is able to condense the standard SSD size down into such a small form factor by integrating both the SSD controller and the NAND flash memory into a solitary module. 

And the half terabyte version is just $60 too. 

I love me some tiny hardware, and this little SSD is just adorably small. It's designed for small form factor PCs and laptops, but also for industrial shiz so it can deal with knocks, and scrapes, high temps, and high humidity too. It's a tough little thing too, then.

Colorful SL500 Mini SSD

(Image credit: Colorful)

The 500GB SL500 Mini comes in at the same 500MB/s and 480MB/s peak performance speeds as the more chonk version of the SL500, though the 250GB version is a touch slower on the write speeds at 450MB/s.

So yeah, I'm not saying I'd ditch the Western Digital SN850 in favour of Colorful's new drive, but if you've got a little PC building project in the works the SL500 Mini might be worth a look on scale and affordability alone.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.