SATA DevSleep: Getting us closer to instant-on laptops

By Kent Smith on July 16, 2013, 9:30 AM
sata, laptop, boot time, lsi, guest, devsleep, instant-on, sata devsleep

Can a new SATA feature make laptop computers act like smartphones?

Editor’s Note:
This is a guest post by Kent Smith, senior director of marketing for LSI’s Flash Components Division,
overseeing all outbound marketing and performance analysis for the company.

It seems like our smartphones are getting bigger and bigger with each generation. Sometimes I see people holding what appears to be a tablet computer up next to their head. I doubt they know how ridiculous they look to the rest of us, and I wonder what pants today have pockets that big. I certainly do like the convenience of the instant-on capabilities my smartphone gives me, but I still need my portable computer with its big screen and keyboard separate from my phone.

A few years ago, SATA-IO, the standards body, added a new feature to the Serial ATA (SATA) specification designed to further reduce battery consumption in portable computer products. This new feature, DevSleep, enables solid state drives (SSDs) to act more like smartphones, allowing you to go days without plugging in to recharge and then instantly turn them on and see all the latest email, social media updates, news and events.

Why not just switch the system off?

When most PC users think about switching off their system, they dread waiting for the operating system to boot back up. That is one of the key advantages of replacing a standard disk drive with a faster SSD. However, in our instant gratification society, we hate to wait even seconds for web pages to come up, so waiting minutes for your PC to turn on and boot up can feel like an eternity. Therefore, many people choose to leave the system on to save those precious moments… but at the expense of battery life.

Can I get this today?

To further extend battery life, the new DevSleep feature requires a signal change on the SATA connector. This change is currently supported only in new Intel Haswell chipset-based platforms announced this June.

What’s more, the SSD in these systems must support the DevSleep feature and monitor the signal on the SATA connector. Most systems that support DevSleep will likely be very low-power notebook systems and will likely already ship with an SSD installed using a small mSATA, M.2, or similar edge connector. Therefore, the signal change on the SATA interface will not immediately affect the rest of the SSDs designed for desktop systems shipping through retail and online sources.

Note that not all SSDs are created equal and, while many claim support for DevSleep, be sure to look at the fine print to compare the actual power draw when in DevSleep.

At Computex last month, LSI announced support for the DevSleep feature and staged demonstrations showing a 400x reduction in idle power. It should be noted that a 400x reduction in power does not directly translate to a 400x increase in battery life, but any reduction in power will give you more time on the battery, and that will certainly benefit any user who often works without a power cord.

Kent Smith is senior director of marketing for LSI’s Flash Components Division, overseeing all outbound marketing and performance analysis. Prior to LSI, Kent was senior director of corporate marketing at SandForce, acquired by LSI in 2012. His more than 25 years of marketing and management experience in computer storage and high-technology includes senior management positions at companies including Adaptec, Acer, Polycom, Quantum and SiliconStor.

Republished with permission.




User Comments: 12

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MilwaukeeMike said:

This new feature, DevSleep, enables solid state drives (SSDs) to act more like smartphones, allowing you to go days without plugging in to recharge and then instantly turn them on and see all the latest email, social media updates, news and events.

Since when can smartphones can go days without recharging? Sounds like an iPhantasy. Perhaps the fine print reads *when in airplane mode with the screen off.*

Guest said:

They mean it can stay alive on idle for days, so I'm thinking that means locked with the display off.

Guest said:

When I had a Commodore, it started fairly quickly, then you entered Load "*",8,1 and went and got a cup of tea or something and came back several minutes later to Run your program. Now we all complain about something taking a few seconds to be usable. I'd write more but I must hurry off...

BMfan BMfan said:

This new feature, DevSleep, enables solid state drives (SSDs) to act more like smartphones, allowing you to go days without plugging in to recharge and then instantly turn them on and see all the latest email, social media updates, news and events.

Since when can smartphones can go days without recharging? Sounds like an iPhantasy. Perhaps the fine print reads *when in airplane mode with the screen off.*

I was wondering the same thing,would love to know what phone he has.

cmbjive said:

"When most PC users think about switching off their system, they dread waiting for the operating system to boot back up."

Wait? You guys turn your PCs off?

Guest said:

Ignoring the comparison to smartphones, DevSleep is a very powerful feature that will let you put your notebook in a deep sleep mode, with most things shut down, using very little power, but will wake up very quickly, without having to boot it up.

The other key point he makes is that the host and drive both need to support this feature, so if you plug a drive with DevSleep into a system without DevSleep, everything will work fine, except for DevSleep. It will take some time for this feature to become widespread.

He focuses on SSDs, but HDDs will also support DevSleep. Depending on the implementation, I wouldn't be surprised if the wake up time for an HDD-based system is not noticably longer than the wake-up time for an SSD-based system.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

When most PC users think about switching off their system, they dread waiting for the operating system to boot back up.
Maybe back when I had a Celeron D, that took over 3 minutes to boot. Since my Core2 Quad 9400, a 1 minute bootup hasn't bothered me at all. And now I'm booting an i7-2600K installed on a SSD. Waiting 30 seconds for Windows to load is nothing. Complaining because you are not booting faster than 30 seconds is trivial. Press the power button before you sit down and before you have time to get real good and comfortable, your machine will be ready to go.

Wait? You guys turn your PCs off?
Yes I do. I'd rather turn the PC completely off, than use hibernation or sleep.

1 person liked this | avoidz avoidz said:

I don't get why it's such a big deal about boot up times. A minute or two waiting is nothing. Is it the constant need for instant gratification?

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

So they just invented S3 'sleep mode'? Cool.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This new feature, DevSleep, enables solid state drives (SSDs) to act more like smartphones, allowing you to go days without plugging in to recharge and then instantly turn them on and see all the latest email, social media updates, news and events.

Since when can smartphones can go days without recharging? Sounds like an iPhantasy. Perhaps the fine print reads *when in airplane mode with the screen off.*

S3, S4 and Notes can have a large battery pack purchased (adds into weight and size of the phone) and you can go without charging for few days depending on usage.

1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

S3, S4 and Notes can have a large battery pack purchased (adds into weight and size of the phone) and you can go without charging for few days depending on usage.

Yeah, but you can also leave it connected to mains and say it has 300 days power. :\

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yeah, but you can also leave it connected to mains and say it has 300 days power. :\

Ah yes, I am on 4 days right now hah More of a software glitch then anything imho.

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