Monday, we told you about the forthcoming SATA Revision 3.0, also known as SATA 6Gb/s. Given the fact that conventional hard disks still don't saturate the original SATA 1.5Gb/s bus, let alone the mainstream SATA Revision 2.0 3Gb/s bus, why bother with another speedup?
In a word: SSDs. The Inquirerreports that the new Intel solid-state drives introduced this week at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) come very close to saturating the SATA 3Gb/s bus with 250MB/s read speed, while blowing the doors off conventional hard disks and third-party SSDs. And, they're not alone. As we reported Monday, Indilinx isn't far behind, offering the 230MB/s Barefoot SSD drive controller.
So, what makes some SSD drives faster (or slower) than others? SSD drive performance is affected by two factors: the speed of the controller and the speed of the SSD memory chips. Currently, the fastest SSD drives use single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash, while drives using multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash trade higher capacity for slightly slower performance. As capacities climb and performance zooms, it's going to be an interesting fall and winter in the SSD business. Click here for more of our coverage of SSD technology and products.
That's the good news. The Inquirer also reports that the SATA-IO's Power over eSATA initiative, announced in January, is now expected to be released in early 2009 (rather than late this year as was originally expected). Power over eSATA will enable eSATA drives to pull their power from the eSATA port, just as many USB drives get their power from the USB port. Whenever Power over eSATA appears (and let's hope they come up with a cooler acronym than the logical "PoeSATA"), it will be very helpful in getting eSATA to become mainstream.