As disk drives get bigger and users deploy more demanding applications, faster interfaces are needed to keep the data flowing smoothly. Seagate, working with AMD, today demonstrated a next-generation in Serial ATA interface that offers speeds of up to 6 Gbit/s, or 600 MBytes per second.
The new interface is backwards compatible with existing SATA interfaces. It was developed by the Serial ATA International Organization and should begin appearing in products later this year. The demonstration is taking place in New Orleans at the Everything Channel conference for equipment builders.
"The actual throughput will be about 550 MB, but that won't be needed by most people until 2011," says Marc Noblitt, senior marketing I/O development manager for Seagate. "This technology will let people take advantage of the higher capacity and higher performance of the newer disk drives." The technology also includes new power management capabilities and improved data streaming for audio and video, he says.
The technology is first expected to show up in low-end servers and high-performance PCs such as those used in gaming. The faster interface may also be used for the growing number of solid-state disks now appearing in high-end PCs and some servers. Most PCs today use SATA interfaces with speeds of 150 MG or 300 MB per second, although actual performance is usually less than that.
The technology is designed for low cost and high volume production, Noblitt says, and will help users handle the larger and faster drives that continue to be introduced. "The drives are speeding up and the capacities are increasing. We want to stay ahead of that speed curve," he says. That's why the new interface is being introduced a year or two before it is needed.