SATA 3.0 set to launch with blazing 6 Gbit/s speeds

his week’s Computex techfest will mark the public debut of the third-gen SATA interface spec, capable of boosting data-to-disk speeds to an SSD-friendly 750 MB/s.
The boom in solid state drives will push PC technology even further ahead this week when the first SATA 3.0 systems make their debut at Taiwan’s annual Computex expo.

Whereas hard drives don’t get anywhere near the 150 MB/s of the original SATA spec, the fastest solid state drives are almost bumping their head on the 300 MB/s ceiling of SATA 3 Gbit/s (also known as SATA II).

The SATA 3.0 spec – which will be marketed as “SATA 6 Gbit/s” to avoid confusion with the previous SATA 3 Gbit/s standard – shifts the redline to a theoretical limit of 750 MB/s.

It also introduces new connectors for 1.8-inch storage drives and the 7 mm optical disk drives used in ultra-portable notebooks, but is designed to be backward compatible with SATA 3Gb/s connectors, cables and other hardware.

SATA 3.0 was formally released last week, and Gigabyte and Seagate will be unveiling their respective 6 Gbit/s wares during next week’s Computex.

Several of Gigabyte’s new motherboards will come with SATA 6 Gbit/s built in, while Seagate will demonstrate its own high-speed interface. Earlier this year Seagate revealed a prototype Barracuda 6 Gb/s drive running through an AMD SATA 3.0 chipset which clocked a throughput of 5.5 GB/s.

During that demo, Seagate market development manager Marc Noblitt, said that while he expected SATA 3 Gb/s drives to serve until 2011, “ you always want to keep the I/O spec in front of the data rate to ensure you don’t run up against it.”

BY David Flynn

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