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Seagate, AMD Demo High-Speed SATA Storage Interface

The SATA 6-Gbps interface is twice the speed of the fastest SATA interface available today.

Seagate Technology on Monday said it's the first hard-drive maker to publicly demonstrate the Serial ATA 6-Gbps storage interface, a next-generation technology that's twice the speed of the fastest SATA interface available today.

Seagate, with the help of technology from Advanced Micro Devices, unveiled a hard-drive prototype using the high-speed computer bus at the Everything Channel Xchange Conference in New Orleans. SATA is a storage interface for connecting to host bus adapters used in moving data from hard disk drives and other mass storage devices to computers. HBAs are typically integrated into laptop and desktop motherboards.

The SATA 6-Gbps specification, also called SATA Revision 3.0, was ratified last summer by the Serial ATA International Organization. The technology was developed to accommodate the increasing speed of storage devices that eventually will demand faster data-transfer speeds than the original SATA 1.5-Gbps interface and the subsequent SATA 3-Gbps interface. If the speed of the hard drive exceeds the interface, then the result is data-transfer interruptions similar to a sputtering car engine.

While the SATA 3-Gbps interface is sufficient for the majority of storage devices in PCs, new drives are close to saturating the technology's limits. Examples include Intel's solid-state drives, as well as new drives from Super Talent, MemoRight, and Samsung.

In demonstrating its SATA 6-Gbps implementation, Seagate used a hard drive prototype in a desktop PC with the necessary chipset from AMD, which also provided the reference motherboard. The drive has a read speed of 550-MB per second, compared with 250-MB per second for a SATA 3-Gbps interface.

Seagate plans to go to market with the hard drives in late 2009, targeting high-performance PCs, gaming PCs, and low-end servers. The latest specification is backward compatible with cables and connectors used with the older SATA technologies.

The higher speeds provided by SATA Revision 3.0 may require higher power consumption for supporting chips. However, the specification provides better power management that's expected to help mitigate the higher energy requirements. Vendors are likely to introduce other technologies to reduce power consumption.


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