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images/bullet2.gifSerial ATA Specs

Serial ATA - High Speed Serialized AT Attachment - The Long-term Solution for Storage Connectivity!

Serial ATA Specs:

The following excerpt quoted from Serial ATA 1.0 gold Technical Specifications as pertaining to our Technology Evaluation and possible eventual implementations.

Goals and objectives

Serial ATA is defined with the following goals and requirements listed in no particular order:

  1. Primary inside-the-box storage connection (no outside the box).

  2. Completely SW transparent w/ ATA (easy transition).

  3. Low pin count for both host and devices (2 pairs).

  4. Favorable (low) voltages.

  5. Supports lower cost device architectures.

  6. Higher performance than equivalent ATA (data rate, queuing, overlap) w/ scalability to higher.

  7. Much better cabling/connectors (thin, flexible).

  8. Includes efficient power delivery.

  9. No software dependency. Relatively easy transition (price, IHV NRE and capital inventory.

  10. risk, wide variety of devices at intro, etc.).

  11. Power management and power consumption suitable for mobile use.

  12. Allows roadmap spanning ~10 years.

  13. Cable length comparable to ATA (<1 m).

  14. images/bullet2.gifTransfer rate exceeding best ATA (~150 MB/s) with scalability to higher rates.

  15. Light protocol allowing overhead latencies to be minimized.

  16. Asynchronous only (no isochronous requirements).

  17. No Peer-peer transfer support (to/from host only).

  18. Provides support for 1st party DMA access to host.

  19. Cost competitive with equivalent Parallel ATA solution at introduction (host + device + cable).

  20. Storage device centric (no cameras/scanners/printers).

  21. Easy installation/configuration (plug/play, no jumpers, no external terminators).

  22. Single host (no multi-initiators or host/host networking).

This current Design path provides (3) Generations of Serial ATA signaling growth.

  1. Generation 1: 1.2 Gbits/s (150 MBytes/sec); Due Mid 2001? Missed that one!
  2. Generation 2: 2.4 Gbits/s (300 MBytes/sec); Due Mid 2004. This is doable.
  3. Generation 3: 4.8 Gbits/s (600 MBytes/sec); Due Mid 2007. That's too far out to predict.

Note: All current PATA (Parallel ATA Specs) are Burst Mode and NOT sustained throughput! Keep that in mind! The current industry performance standard is ATA/ATAPI-6 (ATA/133, a.k.a. UDMA 133). Maxtor has jumped ahead for now with their interim spec of ATA/133. Some have claimed this ATA/133 spec can overwhelm the PCI Bus on certain Chipsets. After having read the Data from those tests, we do not believe this will be a problem for most Users.


Serial ATA Technology News Updates:
  1. www.EETAsia.com - Silicon Image debuts 3Gbps-capable SATA controller: "The SiI 3124 is compliant with the Serial ATA 1.0 Specification and supports all SATA II extensions to the Serial ATA 1.0 Specification..." (9/8/2003).

  2. www.EETAsia.com - 3Gbps host controllers set to go: "Marvell Semiconductor Inc. will get a jump on next-generation serial ATA designs when it announced that it is sampling 3Gbps host controllers. Once hard-disk drives based on Sata II emerge early next year, the SATA II Controllers aim to enable the faster and more robust set of mid- and low-end servers and arrays that are expected to support the second-generation standard.

    The Marvell devices link to a 64-bit, 133MHz PCI-X host bus. Future versions will link to PCI Express and will support the upcoming 3Gbps Serial Attached SCSI standard." (8/19/2003)

  3. InfoWorld Riding the SATA wave July 18, 2003 By Mario Apicella Storage: Serial ATA Disk Drives for the Enterprise - Comparing Maxtor, Seagate & WDC (7/22/2003).
  4. Electronic Engineering Times - Asia - Serial ATA market on the rise: "SATA is not just cool technology; it provides tangible benefits to end-users and OEMs. For PC end-users, SATA offers an evolution to rising hard-drive performance without a marked price impact." (6/3/2003)
  5. www.LSI.com: www.lsilogic.com  May 21, 2003 - LSI Logic shipping industry's first Serial ATA RAID storage adapter with battery backup support: Serial ATA MegaRAID - "...MegaRAID SATA 150-2 and the MegaRAID SATA 150-4, designed for entry-level servers and performance workstations; and the enterprise-class MegaRAID SATA 150-6..." (5/28/2003).
    1. www.buylsilogic.com:
    2. www.enterprisestorageforum.com - SATA Evolutionary or Revolutionary Disk Technology:
  6. images/bullet2.gifwww.wdc.com - WD Delivers World’s Fastest Serial ATA Hard Drives to Retail Stores: "WD RaptorTM Enterprise-class Hard Drives Feed PC Enthusiasts' Need for Speed With 10,000 RPM and Serial ATA Interface." (5/15/2003)

  7. www.vitesse.com - Vitesse Adds to Serial ATA Product Line with Enterprise Class Switch: "New Product Offers Versatility in Building High Availability, Low Cost, Serial ATA Storage Systems - Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS) today expanded its storage product portfolio to include a 2:1 Serial ATA Failover Switch (VSC7175) designed for high-availability Serial ATA I and Serial ATA II applications.

    This switch directly combats the ATA limitation of single host/single channel accessibility to storage media through the employment of Vitesse's proven high-performance, low-latency switching technology. Similarly, it can eliminate the Serial ATA constraint of single target addressing through its simple port replication function." (5/14/2003)

  8. www.internetnews.com - Adaptec Introduces Serial ATA RAID Controllers: Although we currently have SCSI RAID & ATA RAID, we're now seeing Serial ATA RAID coming to the market forefront rapidly and affordably. Serial ATA RAID appears to be positioned to take over Server & Desktop market share more quickly than previous HDD Storage Interface Technologies of recent history. Parallel ATA is quickly making way for the point to point Serial ATA Interface. Adaptec has launched Serial ATA (SATA) products featuring MotherBoard and RAID card Solutions (3/17/2003).

    1. www.adaptec.com: Serial ATA Products.

    2. BuildOrBuy RAID: Definition & Purpose of ATA RAID.

  9. www.3ware.com - ATA RAID controllers - High performance, low-cost ATA storage for the enterprise: 3ware Serial ATA RAID Controllers Benchmarks (3/8/2003).
  10. www.extremetech.com - Via Adds Serial RAID Controller: "Via Technologies Inc. has announced their own Serial ATA RAID controller..." (3/7/2003).
  11. Storage Networking World Online - Taking a no-compromise approach to high-end storage: SAS and SATA: Unparalleled serial interface compatibility "For over 20 years, the parallel bus interface has been the mainstream storage interconnect for most storage systems. But increasing bandwidth and flexibility demands have exposed inefficiencies in the two main parallel interface technologies: SCSI and ATA. The lack of compatibility between Parallel ATA and SCSI — including different connectors, cables and software..." (3/5/03).
  12. ExtremeTech.com: Serial ATA Could Be Slow To Take Off (3/1/2003).
  13. ExtremeTech.com:  First Serial ATA Drive Expectations Exceed Results (1/9/03).
  14. ExtremeTech.com:  Seagate Ships Second Serial ATA Drive 12/2/2002.
  15. WestWorld Productions -- CTN: Serial ATA - Opening new markets for ATA RAID (11/30/2002).
  16. ExtremeTech.com:  Intel Intros Serial ATA-2 Controller (10/29/2002).
  17. HighPoint-Tech.com: RocketRAID 1540 includes RocketHead100 Converter

    "Each RocketRAID 1540 includes four RocketHead 100 converters. This device allows users to connect ATA100 and ATA133 IDE hard disk drives to the Serial ATA controller. This converter is not available as a separate product!"  More Info... (9/30/2002)


  18. images/bullet2.gifwww.AOpen.com - AOpen introduces first Serial ATA Motherboard with Intel 845E chipset Utilizes Promise Serial ATA Chipset Supporting Bandwidth of 150MB/Sec (8/21/2002)!
  19. www.microsoft.com - Introduction to Storage Technologies: (2/4/2007)
  20. www.microsoft.com - Serial ATA in the Microsoft Operating System Environment:
  21. infoworld.com:  The other fast storage (8/6/2002).
  22. Adaptec.com:  Emerging Technology Serial ATA (7/11/2002).
  23. images/bullet2.gifDigiTimes.com:  Serial ATA-based boards hitting market in late July, but not mainstream until 2003 Motherboards supporting the next generation Serial ATA HD Interface to ship in July! Expect Serial ATA initially offered as PCI Add-in Cards followed by extra M/B Serial ATA Controller Chips before final integration into M/B Southbridge Chipsets in 2003 (7/6/2002).
  24. images/bullet2.gifSerial ATA companies STORAGEsearch.com
  25. images/bullet2.gifSerial Attached SCSI companies STORAGEsearch.com
  26. images/bullet2.gifintel.com/pressroom:  Industry Leaders Collaborate on New Choices for Next-Generation Serial Architectures for Server Storage (6/12/2002).
  27. www.serialata.org
  28. Serial ATA - Workgroup: See: For More Info & Specifications
  29. Dell - Serial ATA Interface: Serial ATA Technology Overview (7/6/2002)
  30. Serial ATA Protocol Analyzer - CATC Development Products
  31. TheInquirer.net:  DFI to demo Serial ATA motherboard, drive
  32. DFI.com:  Press Room... Computex Update- DFI launches New designs- Live demo with a difference- Serial ATA! (7/6/2002)
  33. SOYO Unveils 10 New Motherboard Designs and Integrated Serial ATA-133 Storage Interface Technology At Computex Taipei 2002
  34. Promise.com:  Date - Computex Taipei 2002 - Taipei Internatinoal Computer Show - Serial ATA Total Solution” Controllers & RAID Announced @ Computex2002
    1. Technical Overview: system_builder_summit_2002a.ppt 3.25 MB (4/2/2002).
    2. Technical Overview: system_builder_summit_2002.ppt 3.93 MB (4/2/2002).
  35. Maxtor Drives Support For Serial ATA: Maxtor, Intel and Adaptec Working Together on Serial ATA (2/25/2002)
  36. ExtremeTech.com:  Serial ATA II, Server Chipset Push On Tap For IDF (2/14/2002).
  37. SerialAttachedSCSI.com:  SAS - SCSI Trade Association and Serial Attached SCSI Working Group Announce Agreement - Serial Attached SCSI Working Group Selects STA to Support Development and Promotion of Serial Technology (2/4/2002).
  38. infoworld.com:  Serial ATA and iSCSI - Analysis (1/4/2002).
  39. Maxtor.com - Technologies: ((2/4/2007))
  40. Intel.com - Serial ATA: (2/4/2007)
  41. Intel.com - AHCI Specification for Serial ATA:
  42. Serial ATA-IO:
    1. Dispelling the Confusion: SATA II does not mean 3Gb/s:

In discussing this new emerging Technology, keep in mind this also is a work in progress. We'll share what we know, and where to learn as we comment further. Dates listed for each link may not reflect date of publication. According to Hal Landis - ATA-ATAPI.COM, Serial ATA may turn out to be a WinDisk HD device - Ugh! Time will tell! Update: SATA has turned out to be a welcome treat! (2/6/2009)

IO Bus - Peripheral Bus
PCI Express
Trade Associations
Transfer Rate Specs
Windows Help
Microsoft Storage Technology
Serial ATA News and Events


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Web Development, Gill Boyd & Team - Posted 01/18/2001; Updated 02/06/2009