6 Gbit drives coming

Chip vendor PMC-Sierra and Seagate announced that they've. .
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

Chip vendor PMC-Sierra and Seagate announced that they've

. . . achieved interoperability between PMC-Sierra’s end-to-end 6Gb/s SAS chipset and Seagate’s early development 6Gb/s SAS Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). This successful demonstration of 6Gb/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interoperability provides server and storage system equipment manufacturers with an end-to-end system architecture that delivers new levels of scalability, availability and reliability.

Interoperability testing demonstrated 6Gb/s line rate traffic exchanges between Seagate's early development 6Gb/s SAS HDDs and PMC-Sierra's 6Gb/s SAS chipsets, which includes the Tachyon SPC 8x6G SAS protocol controller, the SRC 8x6G RAID-on-Chip controller and maxSAS SXP 36/24x6GSec expander switches.

Translated from engineering-ese that means

We duct-taped the prototypes together and, much to our amazement, they actually passed some data at the advertised rate. Woo-hoo!

And once we ship it, the margins will be terrific!

So when will my disk drive be twice as fast? Never. But it isn't the fault of 6 Gbit SAS.

BTW, what is SAS? It is Serial Attached SCSI, a high-speed interface between the uber-geeky (and costly) Fibre Channel and what most of us use, Serial ATA (SATA).

Gamer heaven? Who cares? Not me, but it makes for great bragging rights. 6 G/bits is about 5-10x faster than a drive can deliver data from the heads.

The real advantage is if the data is in cache. The cache can squirt the data at the full data rate.

Then you have to ask "what chance is there that the disk cache will have 8 or 16 or - coming soon! - 32 MB of data in cache that isn't already in my *much larger* system memory?

It is the computer equivalent of "raised white letters" on tires. Looks good. Means nothing.

The Storage Bits take Over any 10 year period it is important that everything improve. But the order isn't important. Eventually disk bit densities will get high enough that the 6 Gbit interface will be useful.

In the short term it will help disks stave off the flash SSD threat. Consumers will look at all the big disk numbers - cache! - capacity! - data rate! - plus the lower price.

OK, mostly the lower price. But it is good to know that the engineers are hard at work, making things better, whether we need it this very minute or not.

Comments welcome, of course.

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