A new revision of the Serial ATA interface specification has been published, paving the way for thinner and lighter notebooks and netbooks.
The Serial ATA (Sata) Revision 3.0 specification was released on Wednesday by the Serial ATA International Organization (Sata-IO). It allows for link speeds of 6Gbps between storage units, disk drives, optical and tape drives and host controllers. In effect, this will provide a maximum transfer speed of 600MB per second — twice that of Sata II.
The latest solid-state drives have the ability to deliver very high transfer rates, and if networks are to take advantage of those speeds, the new version of Sata is essential.
"As speed becomes critical to today's storage, the Sata Revision 3.0 specification doubles the maximum transfer speed enabled by technology, paving the way for a new generation of faster Sata products," Sata-IO president Knut Grimsrud said in a statement.
The new specification includes several enhancements. One key feature is a connector designed for 7mm-thick optical disk drives. This should make it easier for manufacturers to put Sata-connected optical disk drives in thinner notebooks and netbooks than before.
A small Low Insertion Force (LIF) connector has also been added for 1.8-inch drives. PC makers have, until now, either used larger 2.5-inch Sata drives, or smaller but slower 1.8-inch Parallel ATA drives, in netbooks. The new connector should enable them to install small and fast drives in thin models.
The specification also provides a new Native Command Queuing (NCQ) streaming command, designed to enable smoother video playback from Sata-connected drives.
Sata 3.0 is backwards-compatible with its predecessor Sata 3Gbps, commonly known as Sata 2, which will make it possible to use existing cables with the new interface.