AMD and Seagate are teaming up today in New Orleans to demonstrate the next-generation Serial ATA specification. The new specification, SATA 6Gbps, will offer twice the disk-to-host bandwidth of the existing 3Gbps Serial ATA standard. Besides the improvement in bandwidth, SATA 6Gbps offers full backwards compatibility with the earlier 3Gbps and 1.5Gbps standards, including the same cable and connector specifications.

AMD and Seagate have worked extensively on fine-tuning data streaming characteristics and users should expect to see significant improvements in this area over current 3Gbps NCQ implementations with the new drives. In addition, the new power management scheme allows the platform to instantaneously power on and off the 6Gbps SATA interface, unlike the always-on power state in current SATA systems.

Current Serial ATA hard drives on the market have average transfer rates that peak around 120MB/s, but read transfers out of the drive buffer (cache) are already hitting 288MB/s. Current caches are at 32MB with a move to 64MB shortly that will place further pressure on the current standard. In fact, the drive (modified 7200.12 design) that Seagate will demonstrate today has read transfers out of the driver buffer hitting 589MB/s.

However, the big winner initially with the new 6Gbps standard will be flash-based drives. We already have SSD drives like the Intel X25-E hitting sustained read and write rates over 200MB/s with new drive designs coming late this year that will probably saturate the current 3Gbps interface. The first customers that Seagate and AMD plan to address with this new technology are enthusiasts, low-end server markets, and users who stream high definition videos or do intensive graphics multimedia work.

Seagate and AMD were adamant that today’s technology demonstration is not an official product launch. That will come later this year when AMD formally announces their next generation chipset featuring full support for the 6Gbps standard. Both companies told us that 6Gbps SATA products might arrive before the end of 2009 but nothing is officially in the pipeline as of now.

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  • melgross - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    With all the talk about the mythical high speed SSD that no one here will be able to afford for several more years, there are more pressing reasons why we need higher speeds.

    Only one other person mentioned port sharing. most SATA RAIDS use port sharing. This means that four 120 MB/s drives together, saturate the SATA bus.

    Even two high speed drives come close, and the buffer is past it already.

    for people using one drive per port, it's not an issue.
    Reply
  • Zak - Monday, March 16, 2009 - link

    In your RAID setup each HD is connected with a separate cable to a separate SATA port, isn't it? That means that each of your 4 drives has a dedicated SATA link capable of full 300MB/s or whatever. Therefore, your RAID is not saturating SATA bus. You'd need a single drive capable of >300MB/s to do that. That would be SSD.

    I've read on OCZ forums, I think, that the problem is that SATA bus is capable of doing 300MB/s but the interface hardware is not designed to run at that speed all the time since the manufacturers didn't have to really worry about that until now. Now a single SSD capable of ~250 MB/s rates would make SATA interface work hard almost all the time which may lead to premature failures.

    Z.
    Reply
  • Zak - Monday, March 16, 2009 - link

    Oh, I wasn't replying to last post, port multiplier is a whole different issue, I was referring to a multiport internal RAID. Port multiplier is kind of a gimmick IMHO. Besides several HDs sharing bandwidth I think the controller talks to one drive at a time which conflict with NCQ. PM is not for real RAID applications where speed matters.

    Z.
    Reply
  • sleepeeg3 - Thursday, March 19, 2009 - link

    "Mythically" fast SSD...

    SSD uses multiple channels to deliver its speeds. All they need to do to increase transfer rate is to create controllers that can supply more bandwidth.

    This seems like an abnormally low standard to keep magneto-optical drives relevant.
    Reply
  • Marc B - Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - link

    While I think this is a cool development, it's current usefulness isn't that restricted by the current SATA 1.5/3 technology on motherboards. The great thing about SATA is it's forward and backward compatibility. You'll be able to not only use, but also maximize the performance of your old(new tech) HDD in your new computer/mother board upgrade.

    One area I see potential in the short term for SATA 6 is for SATA Raid controllers, where the latency of SATA 3 could potentially be a limiting performance factor in large RAID 0,5,6,10, etc. configurations. Now that this technology is developed, controller companies can get cracking on SATA 6 cards for PCIx4/PCIx8 slots that could be implemented and ready for market around the time HDD manufacturers are ready to release the SATA 6 drives en mass. Current motherboard technology is already available to utilize them in this capacity.
    Reply
  • supremelaw - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    http://www.storagereview.com/newest_cheetahs">http://www.storagereview.com/newest_cheetahs

    Cheetah ® 15K.7 Drive Specifications

    * Capacity 600, 450, 300GB
    * Interface 6Gb/s SAS-2.0, 4Gb/s FC
    * Spindle Speed 15,000 RPM
    * Seek Time 3.4 ms
    * Reliability 0.55% AFR / 1.6M hours MTBF
    * Cache 16MB
    * Form factor 3.5-inch

    Cheetah ® NS.2 Drive Specifications

    * Capacity 600, 450, 300GB
    * Interface 6Gb/s SAS-2.0 (600 and 450 GB drives), 4Gb/s FC
    * Spindle Speed 10,000 RPM
    * Seek Time 3.8 ms
    * Reliability 0.55% AFR / 1.6M hours MTBF
    * Cache 16MB
    * Form factor 3.5-inch
    Reply
  • matheusber - Monday, March 09, 2009 - link

    New technology ? they should be shamed to make such a load of dying crap. If you look for this info on their site, you will find almost nothing.

    they deserve garbage thrown on theirs fabs !

    Reply
  • blyndy - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    Many people are waiting for the release of power over SATA. Where is it? Reply
  • blyndy - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    Whoops, I didn't mean to make my comment as a reply matheusber. Reply
  • iwodo - Monday, March 09, 2009 - link

    SATA 6Gps isn't even final yet. And by the time it reaches its final spec and implemented on Chipset. ( Which is at least 1 year from now ), we would already have SSD drive that significantly saturate it.

    Since USB 3, SATA 6Gps, and PCI Express 3.0 all expected to arrive at the same time. I suspect those New and top of the range SSD will live on a 1x Slot PCI Express 3.0.
    Reply

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