New 'SATA Express' spec supports speeds up to 16Gb/s

By on August 10, 2011, 7:00 AM

The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) has announced the development (PDF) of a new standard that combines SATA software infrastructure with the PCI Express interface. Colloquially dubbed "SATA Express," the new technology will allow manufacturers to create devices that can tap into the bandwidth of PCIe slots while remaining compatible with existing SATA applications.

The amalgamation will offer an affordable way to provide devices with interface speeds of 8Gb/s and 16Gb/s (one lane via PCIe 2.0 or two via PCIe 3.0) -- a healthy increase over SATA 3.0's single-channel throughput of 6Gb/s. Although that's plenty of bandwidth for most drives, SATA-IO is concerned about certain high-end consumer and enterprise configurations that could saturate the existing 6Gb/s interface.

"We had two choices. Either increase the SATA speed or find another solution that can be available today and be cost and technology compatible with legacy SATA environments," said SATA-IO president Mladen Luksic, speaking with Computerworld. Because such high-end configurations represent a small portion of the market, the organization thought SATA Express would be the least burdensome approach.

SATA Express devices are recognized by the host as plain old SATA hardware, and because virtually all modern desktops support PCIe and SATA, users won't have to purchase upgrades to take advantage of the new spec. It's also more scalable than traditional SATA because SATA-IO can simply tap into more PCIe lanes to boost speed and satisfy higher performance requirements when the time comes.

"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" said Luksic. SATA-IO also announced "SATA µSSD," a single-chip solution for ultra-thin form factors (i.e. tablets). SATA Express will be finalized by the end of 2011, but there's no such date for SATA µSSD.

In a separate announcement, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group revealed its developing a new power delivery specification that will support the flow of more electricity. The updated spec permits up to 100W of power to be drawn, and would allow even more external devices to scrap their clunky external power supplies. The group will demonstrate the changes during the Intel Developer Forum which runs September 13-15.

User Comments: 14

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Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So will it be dubbed as USB 3.0.1 ?

Guest said:

Sata 3 @ 6Gb/s is enough for me.

veLa veLa said:

Sweet another standard we all have to upgrade to now...

RH00D RH00D said:

veLa said:

Sweet another standard we all have to upgrade to now...

No you don't.

Lionvibez said:

Guest said:

Sata 3 @ 6Gb/s is enough for me.

lol that's great that is good enough for you, but you're just one man.

Its not fast enough for the industry and these are the people that bring in the money not end users!

Cota Cota said:

16000000000 bits

2000000000 /8 Bytes

1953125 /1024 kBytes

1907.34 /1024 MBytes

1.86 /1024 GBytes

I wouldn't get this even if i could buy it like Lion said, there's a big gap between devices and ports :P


This just mean I will delay getting a SSD for longer lol.

chaboi390 said:

Does this lean towards daily consumers or Large Industries? Or maybe both?...

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Techspot Quote above:

"The amalgamation will offer an affordable way to provide devices with interface speeds of 8Gb/s and 16Gb/s (one lane via PCIe 2.0 or two via PCIe 3.0)"


I'm having trouble understanding this statement. If PCIe 3.0 effectively doubles the transfer rates of PCIe 2.0, then adding an extra lane with PCIe 3.0 should quadruple the rate of PCIe 2.0 with one lane.

Studying the PCIe pin-out, each lane has its own set of pins. Maybe this is why there is two SATA ports, one SATA port per PCIe lane. This would give 8Gb/s with PCIe 2.0 and 16GB/s with PCIe 3.0, while using both PCIe lanes.

Please tell me if I'm going in the wrong direction. I've spent a few hours trying to understand the comment above.

Phraun said:

veLa said:

Sweet another standard we all have to upgrade to now...

Here's a tip: if you weren't planning on dumping several thousand dollars into PCIE-based SSD storage, you can safely ignore this. Most drives can't saturate the 3Gb/s SATA link, let alone 6Gb/s or 16Gb/s.

Igneus the Bold said:

The devices that use these ports really have some catching up to do. The computer world is beginning to resemble Black Widow breeding habits. The convex or "male" is improving at a drastically slower rate than the concave or "female".

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"speeds of 8Gb/s and 16Gb/s (one lane via PCIe 2.0 or two via PCIe 3.0)"

How is 1 lane PCIe 2.0 only half the transfer rate of 2 lanes PCIe 3.0?

Guest said:

The problem here is that SATA 3 is being completely saturated already so, what we really need is SATA 4 to keep up. It's the slowest link in the chain at this point. Especially in a couple months after PCI Express 3.0 capable motherboards, CPU's & GPU's are out.

Guest said:

I dont know about you all but i dont plan on giving up my beautiful, precious PCI's up... they are reserved for my loving graphics cards and workstation cards <3 <3 <3 If i want that kind of speed ill get a SSD PCIe 4x drives and keep my storage drive as a HDD...


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