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Seagate Technology, the world’s largest maker of hard disk drives, and Advanced Micro Devices, a leading designer of microprocessors, graphics chips and system core-logic, on Monday demonstrated operation of new-generation Serial ATA interface with 6Gb/s speed. The new speed-bin of the standard is considerably faster compared to predecessors, but its speed will hardly bring a lot of advantages to hard drives.

“The SATA 6Gb/second storage interface will meet the demand for higher-bandwidth PCs. Seagate has a long history of being first to market with new technologies such as Serial ATA, perpendicular recording and self-encrypting drives, and is pleased to be teaming with AMD to stage the world’s first public demonstration of SATA 6Gb/second storage,” said Joan Motsinger, Seagate vice president of personal systems marketing and strategy.

The Serial ATA-600 interface will deliver burst speeds of up to 600MB/s (or 6Gb/s), maintain backward compatibility with the SATA 150 and 300 interfaces, and use the same cables and connectors as previous Serial ATA generations to ease integration. The third generation of the mainstream storage interface for desktop and notebook computers also enhances power efficiency and improves Native Command Queuing (NCQ), a SATA feature, to increase overall system performance and data transfer speeds of mainstream PC applications, but especially applications with heavily transactional workloads such as scientific modeling and forecasting, and engineering design and simulation.

The Seagate and AMD demonstration features two Seagate disk drives – one a shipping Barracuda 7200.12 with Serial ATA-300 interface and the other a prototype Barracuda Serial ATA-600 drive – in a desktop PC to show the performance difference between the two generations. The PC is powered by a prototype of a core-logic from AMD that supports Serial ATA-600 chipset. The Seagate SATA-300 drive runs at more than 250MB/s and the SATA-600 drive at 550 MB/s, with the performance of each storage interface displayed on the PC monitor.

In fact, even 10 000rpm hard drives these days have sustained media to buffer read speed of about 120MB/s and since solid state drives have higher sustained speeds and some of them may even take advantage of higher than 300MB/s interface. Seagate does not admit that 600MB/s is an overkill for HDDs and also claims that enterprise SSDs will benefit from Serial Attached SCSI 600 first.

“SATA 6.0Gb/s will launch in high end 3.5" 7200rpm HDDs first. SATA 6.0Gb/s will work just as well on SSD, and SSD will most likely take advantage of the higher I/O speed, however, this market is really cost driven and SSD would most likely take advantage of the higher speed of SAS 6Gb/s first,” said Marc Noblitt, senior marketing I/O development manager.

Tags: Seagate, AMD, Serial ATA

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