The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) has released the new Serial ATA Revision 3.0 specification. This new specification opens the way up for devices to transfer a whopping 6Gb/s ... in theory at least.
According to SATA-IO president Knut Grimsrud "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."
Note: We're talking 6Gb/s here, not 6GB/s. 6Gb/s translates into 600MB/s transfer rate.
So, what's new? Well, let's begin with the obvious - SATA Revision 3.0 is backward compatible with earlier SATA implementations. With that out of the way, here's what improved in the new spec:
- A new Native Command Queuing (NCQ) streaming command to enable isochronous data transfers for bandwidth-hungry audio and video applications
- An NCQ Management feature that helps optimize performance by enabling host processing and management of outstanding NCQ commands
- Improved power management capabilities
- A small Low Insertion Force (LIF) connector for more compact 1.8-inch storage devices
- A connector designed to accommodate 7mm optical disk drives for thinner and lighter notebooks
- Alignment with the INCITS ATA8-ACS standard
Note: Now how I'm calling the spec "SATA Revision 3.0." This is because SATA-IO have issued naming guidelines. Here's an excerpt:
What to Call the Specification: Please call this new specification by its proper name: "Serial ATA International Organization: Serial ATA Revision 3.0". After using the full proper name for the first reference, it would be appropriate to refer to it thereafter more briefly as "SATA Revision 3.0" or "SATA 6Gb/s." It also would be appropriate to refer to the latest specification as being the "third generation of SATA technology. What to Call the Products: For marketing and product naming purposes, the technology itself is to be referred to as "SATA 6Gb/s." A product using this standard should be called the "SATA 6Gb/s [product name]." For an accurate description of SATA capabilities and the official guidelines to SATA product naming, please see the table below for more information.
A few points worth making:
- Don't expect to get anywhere near 6Gb/s transfer rate in the real world. Sure, devices will be branded as SATA 6Gb/s but just like SATA 3GB/s, the gulf between theory and practice is huge.
- That said, the way that solid state drives (SSDs) are going we could see the 6Gb/s passed in a year or so. There are SSDs out there that can almost saturate the 3Gb/s bandwidth currently available. That said, I think that SSDs will eventually move to the PCIe.
- The crappy connectors haven't been changed. I've lost count of the number of broken clips and connectors I've come across.