INTEL DEVELOPER FORUM is usually THE event for all the Intel-related standard setting groups to announce the major updates to their specs.
SATA-IO group, overseeing the now dominant same-named serial storage interface, has toed the line too announcing the new SATA 3.0 spec, to be completed later this year.
The primary improvement is, again, doubling the transfer speed to 6 gigabits per second from the 3 Gb/s of 'SATA 2', giving us in excess of 550 MB/s net top obtainable speeds.
Why do that, when even the fastest hard disks barely touch the original SATA 1.5 Gb/s limit? Well, there's something called SSD. As we saw yesterday, Intel's new SSD drives saturate the SATA 3 Gb/s limit at 250 MB/s net read speed, and other new drives including Super Talent and Samsung ones are close to that too. Ten channels of fast flash can actually reach well over 500 MB/s with new ONFI dies, so a move from SATA 3 Gb/s to SATA 6 Gb/s would surely benefit the flash read speeds. As for the standard hard disks, well at least the reads from their built-in DRAM cache will end up faster across SATA 3.
At the same time, SATA-IO group also launched 'SATA Certified' logo to show full adherence to SATA specs for - supposedly - guaranteed compatibility. That is important as 99 per cent of storage drives in this year's desktops are based on SATA. Since the SATA 3 spec is fully backward compatible with the current SATA, including cables and connectors, using quality componentry at high speed is important to maintain that guaranteed compatibility and high performance, we guess.
Another interesting - maybe more practically useful - development is Power over eSATA initiative. Enabling power supply of external SATA devices over the current eSATA cables for easy USB-like use, it should see the light of the day early next year.
Besides easing the use of external hard drives, it will open up a whole new category of products like eSATA memory sticks, which can double as easily bootable drives and will be much faster than their USB brethren. µ
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