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  • Movieman420 - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    All I can say is...Bring it!! Even at only 1GB/s...the sata express has just about the right bandwidth to handle and internally raided 2.5" running a pair of 6gb/s controllers. I have one of the first internally raided old Ocz Apex. I think the Collosus was the most recent raided ssd afaik. Would love to see the Marvell or SF controllers paired up...the 1GB limit will bottleneck but only just a little, not enuff to 'feel' though. Reply
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Faster SATA standards couldn't come fast enough indeed with SATA III limiting the performance of modern SSDs.

    However, I'm curious to know what will be the physical size of those new SATA connectors? Are we talking about something identical or similar in size to current SATA connectors, or something completely different?

    I ask because more and more people are moving toward smaller form factors for PCs, with Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX builds being more and more common.

    Unfortunately, the vast majority of the current crop of LGA1155 motherboards only have up to 4 SATA ports, with two exceptions (ASUS P8H77-I and JetWay JNF9A-Q67) neither of which are based on the Z77 chipset, meaning that you have no option if say you want an overclocked high-end SFF PC with a dedicated video card and 6 SATA drives.

    For example, the BitFenix Prodigy case support five drives + one optical and can support even more if you use a 3.5" drive bay that support two 2.5" drives or if you use the ICY DOCK MB994IPO-3SB 5.25" bay which supports a slim optical drive and two 2.5" SATA drives.

    All that to say that I hope that it's not significantly larger, otherwise storage options will be limited on Mini-ITX motherboards and even more with even smaller form factors that Intel is pushing for.
  • A5 - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    You can read the spec here:

    From a quick reading, SFF-8639 looks to be about twice the width of the current SATA data connector. The full connector looks to be about 40mm wide.
  • repoman27 - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    It's an extension of the SFF-8482 SAS connector, i.e. the female socket will accept any standard 2.5"/3.5" SATA or SAS drive.

    It's the same size as the SATA power and data connectors if you joined them together.
  • DuckieHo - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Is SATA Express a new protocol or connection?

    I assume the disk controller will not have to support both PCIe and SATA since this will drive up costs. So that means there will be additional wiring required for support like how all mSATA slots are miniPCIe but not all miniPCIe are mSATA?
  • extide - Friday, September 14, 2012 - link

    not all mSata slots are mini pcie, and not all miniPCIe are mSATA. Infact most of them are only the one type. On some boards they have an option in the bios to switch them but in tact case the mobo is changing out what the pins connect to entirely. Reply
  • repoman27 - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    So I read the post about NGFF and was like, "Heck, yeah. Finally."

    Then I read this one and was like, "WTF?"

    After reading this:
    I think I get it now.

    These connectors are physically compatible with current SAS/SATA power+data cables, but allow for devices that use 1 or 2 PCIe lanes instead of conventional SATA signaling. Or in the case of SF-8639, up to 4 PCIe lanes or an x2 SAS/SATA connection.

    I guess there's a point to this, although it seems like clinging to old form factors for no good reason. Wouldn't it make more sense for future motherboards to have a few SATA 6Gb/s connectors coming off of the I/O hub for legacy storage and a few NGFF slots off of the CPU for solid state storage?
  • B3an - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    So what about desktops? SATA Express and SFF are for servers and enterprise. And NGFF is for ultrabooks.

    What do us desktop users get??
  • repoman27 - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Despite what the "Trend:" block above states, it seems more likely that:

    SFF-8639 is for enterprise, replacing conventional SAS for SSDs using 2.5/3.5" form-factors.

    SATA Express is for the desktop, replacing SATA 6Gb/s for SSDs using 2.5/3.5" form-factors. The motherboard connector would appear to be backwards compatible with previous generations of SATA. You just need the right cable in order to utilize the fastest interface a given drive supports.

    Instead of SATA 12Gb/s, we're getting SATA Express as the next generation SATA interface.
  • rstuart - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Just what we need. Another bloody cable for carrying PCI/E. It's not like there is any lack of ePCIe cables around now. Why not use something that already exists - like Thunderbolt. Reply
  • repoman27 - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Because this isn't an external interface, it's for internal drives using classic SAS/SATA form factors.

    While SAS 12Gb/s is forthcoming for enterprise applications, SATA-IO has determined that moving SATA to 12Gb/s at this juncture does not align very well with the organization's stated goals. Instead they are focusing on SATA Express so that SSDs using conventional SATA HDD form factors with have an interface that does not constrain performance, while still maintaining compatibility with previous generation SATA motherboards.
  • DuckieHo - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    Thunderbolt increases latency and cost. Plus I doubt it meets enterprise standards. Reply
  • repoman27 - Friday, September 14, 2012 - link

    10GbE meets enterprise standards, but you don't see people trying to use it to connect hard drives to motherboards or backplanes inside servers.

    SFF-8639 and SATA Express are integrated interfaces for HDDs, HHDs and SSDs, Thunderbolt is an external interface for PCIe and DisplayPort devices.
  • iwod - Friday, September 14, 2012 - link

    I bet we could Max out 1GB/s upon SATA Express arrival. I hope we are going to use PCI-E 3.0 spec when it is release. Which seems likely looking at the time frame.

    We would properly take 1 - 2 years to achieve 2GB/s, and then i guess pushing further is going to get a lot harder. i.e we are not going to get the same percentage of increase year on year.

    So this leave the SATA-Express with a life span to max out of less then 3 years.

    Or it would be possible to use it with PCI-E 4.0 as well which should offer 4GB/s ?
  • cptcolo - Thursday, November 08, 2012 - link

    Yes it is possible with PCI-E 4.0

    "PCIe Gen 4, which is anticipated to come out in 3-4 years, will double the bandwidth to 16Gb/s per lane, so SATA Express has a growth path. "
  • JNo - Friday, September 14, 2012 - link

    I like the fact that there are dedicated power pins and I'm hoping they're enough to fully power the drives.

    Having 1 cable going to each drive instead of 2 (sata data & power) would be a huge boon.

    Can anyone quickly confirm if this is correct?
  • repoman27 - Friday, September 14, 2012 - link

    Since this is the interface for the drive itself, I'm hoping the power pins in that connector are indeed enough to power the device.

    Here are some pictures that will hopefully clear this up for everyone. The socket depicted above looks a lot like this:
    and is designed to be backwards compatible with these:

    SFF-8639 and SATA Express are just extensions to the standards for the existing SAS and SATA connectors that are on pretty much every hard drive you come across these days.
  • Mathieu Bourgie - Friday, September 14, 2012 - link

    That looks a lot like it indeed. Thanks for posting those pictures and clarifying it for us. Reply
  • CaedenV - Friday, September 14, 2012 - link

    While I love the extreme speeds of SSD, I think we need to get them to have more consistant performance before we worry all that much about the upper bottleneck. I have 2 240GB SSDs in RAID0 (and absolutely love it!) and my peak throughput is ~1GB/s, which is great, except that I have an average throughput of 575MB/s, and minimum of ~380ish MB/s. Obviously I am capping out the performance on compressable data during peak performance, but there is a ton of room for improvement for my minimum throughput with normal data. I'm not exactly complaining (especially coming from a 500GB HDD a few months ago), but there is a bit of potential left with the current interface before there is a real 'need' for these faster interfaces.

    ... still, having 1GB/s without needing to be in RAID to do it would be a nice plus.
  • Denithor - Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - link

    They have to create the new standards before needed or they are totally useless.

    In this case the egg must come first or you don't have any guidelines to build the chicken.

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