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SATA Speeds Up

Enterprise users are flocking to faster SATA, many for primary storage, according to vendors of disk arrays. In response, suppliers plan a flurry of upgrades.

Two announcements today illustrate the point. Maxtor Corp. (NYSE: MXO) announced the addition of a 3-Gbit/s interface to its SATA II drives, including its 300-Gbyte MaXLine III series for enterprise storage OEMs. (See Maxtor Intros 3-Gbit/s SATA .) And Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX) unveiled 3-Gbit/s SATA drives for video servers and the like. (See Seagate Unveils Barracuda .)

These are only the latest of several SATA upgrades that add faster interfaces, higher capacity, and streamlining features such as Native Command Queuing (NDCQ) to SATA drives -- a procedure nicknamed SATA II. (See Souping Up SATA.)

Indeed, today's news is largely about catching up. Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) was the first to launch a 500-Gbyte, 3-Gbit/s SATA drive early this year. Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ) and Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC) already have 120-Gbyte and 400-Gbyte drives operating at 3-Gbit/s. (See table below.)

Table 1: SATA Drive Sampler

Vendor Product Capacity SATA Data Transfer Rate NCQ Ship Date
Fujitsu Computer Products of America MHV2120BH 120 Gbytes 1.5 Gbit/s Yes Now
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Deskstar 7K500 500 Gbytes 3 Gbit/s Yes Now
Maxtor MaXLine III 250 Gbytes and 300 Gbytes 3 Gbit/s Yes 4Q05
Seagate NL35 250 Gbytes and 400 Gbytes 3 Gbit/s Yes Now
Western Digital WD Caviar SE16 250 Gbytes 3 Gbit/s Yes Now
Source: Byte and Switch
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