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The Serial ATA Working Group announced Wednesday two specification development milestones at the Intel Developer Forum in Barcelona, Spain. One centers on doubling the signalling speed for Serial ATA, the other on new cable and connector solutions to support additional applications and usage models.

The specification for the second generation Serial ATA signaling speed - 3Gb/s - has been completed and the release candidate of that specification has started its ratification process. The second-generation speed of 3Gb/s (300MB/s) is double that of the first-generation Serial ATA speed which is 1.5Gb/s (150MB/s).

A selection of Serial ATA products supporting 3Gbps signaling speeds have already been announced. Once the ratification process is complete in about 30 days, those products that comply with the spec can be marketed as 3Gb/s Serial ATA products, according to Intel. Among the features of the enhanced technology is that no new cables and connectors are required to support the higher signaling speeds.

In addition to doubling the speed for the internal PHY originally defined in the Serial ATA 1.0 specification, the new specification also defines a higher-power version of it for longer-haul external data-center use. The external PHY version defined in the specification only impacts box-to-box applications (not used as a direct disk drive connection) and has been defined to match the electrical parameters for the SAS PHY.

Volume 2 of the SATA cables and connectors specification adds several new cabling options:

  • An internal multi-lane cable and connector assembly for streamlining connections between multiple internal host ports and internal devices or short backplane.
  • An external consumer cable and connector solution that accommodates use of Serial ATA with external storage devices.
  • External multi-lane data-center cable and connector solution for connecting multiple Serial ATA channels between chassis in a data-center.

Products based on the new cable and connector ingredients are expected to appear by the end of the year.

In a clear indication of strong industry adoption of Serial ATA, a plugfest last month saw participation from a record 200-plus representatives from 57 companies.

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