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Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the industry consortium that is developing further Serial ATA technology, on Wednesday announced it is developing SATA Express, a new specification that combines Serial ATA software infrastructure with the PCI Express (PCIe) interface.

The popularity of solid-state drives (SSDs) that are plugged into PCI Express slots is increasing, but at present such drives are not standardized and their set of capabilities and performance depends on actual manufacturer. SATA Express standard is needed in order to solve all the potential problems with compatibility, reliability and serviceability of PCI-based SSD and/or hybrid storage devices as well as to ensure their compatibility with existing software SATA applications.

The SATA Express technology will provide a cost-effective means to increase device interface speeds to 8Gb/s and 16Gb/s. The specification will define new device and motherboard connectors that will support both new SATA Express and current SATA devices.

The SATA Express connectors will maintain backwards compatibility with current SATA cables and will allow plugging both existing hard drives as well as future SATA Express PCIe-based devices.

“The SATA Express specification provides SSD and hybrid drive manufacturers the advantages of performance and scalability enabled by PCIe 3.0 – which is available now – and the ubiquity of SATA. We expect the SATA Express specification to be completed by the end of 2011,” said Mladen Luksic, SATA-IO president.

Tags: Serial ATA, SATA Express, PCI Express, SSD

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