At this point, you're well aware of the "design flaw" affecting Intel's 6-series chipsets for Sandy Bridge. And if you've been keeping up with our related FAQ, you know that SATA ports 0/1 are unaffected by the bug. On Gigabyte boards, these are the two white SATA ports, which are both SATA 3.0. One way to figure out your SATA configuration is to tear off the side panel and take a peek inside, or you can download Gigabyte's new 6 Series SATA Check utility.
We've been stuck at 2TB for what seems like forever, and there's good reason for that. Drive partitions larger than 2.19TB create a unique problem for PCs, and trying to boot from them requires a mish mash of technologies, including the use of a GPT partition, a modern 64-bit OS (Vista or Windows 7), and a motherboard equipped with an EFI BIOS.
Despite all this, Western Digital has gone ahead and begun shipping a 3TB hard drive in Caviar Green trim, which qualifies as the largest capacity internal SATA drive around. The drive utilizes four 750GB platters as well as Western Digital's Advanced Format technology, which you can read more about here.
To sidestep the issue of integrating large capacity hard drives into your system, Western Digital also bundles an Advanced Host Controller (AHCI)-compliant Host Bus Adapter with its 3TB (and 2.5TB) hard drives, which makes it easier for OSes to locate and use a known driver with correct support for large capacity drives. In other words, you can actually boot from the thing without any crazy voodoo.
The 3TB drive is available now for for $240, while the 2.5TB drive sells for $190.
Are 6Gb/s SATA ports on the newer motherboards backward compatible like USB 3.0 is with USB 2.0? I’m eventually going to purchase either an Asus Crosshair 4 Formula or a MSI 890FXA-GD70 motherboard.
I need to know if my two Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB hard drives will work in these motherboards’ 6Gb/s SATA ports. I won’t be using any RAID configurations. The first drive is for Windows 7 64-bit and programs. The second is going to be for the Documents, Downloads, Music, Photos, and Videos folders.
Also, when are 6Gb/s SATA hard drives for desktop computers going to be available?
Read the Doctor's answer for Keith after the jump.
Texas Instruments (TI) this week announced a new dual-channel, single-lane SATA redriver and signal conditioner that they claim features the lowest active power and lowest automatic low-power (ALP) mode of any 6Gbps redriver/equalizer on the planet.
Sounds incredibly geeky and all, but the real question here is, why should you care? There are a couple of reasons, the first being longer battery life in portable electronics. According to TI, its new redriver and signal conditioner runs 50 percent more efficient than the nearest competitor. We're talking about a SATA interface here so we're not expecting miracles, but hey, every little bit matters when you're dealing with mobile devices, like notebooks and netbooks.
TI also says its new tech supports longer etch runs, easier board designs, and the use of longer external cables when hooking up a drive via eSATA or using an HDD dock.
How it all works gets pretty technical, and quite frankly, a little boring. But if that's your sort of thing, get the full scoop here (PDF).
This morning, Western Digital officially announced (and started shipping) the next generation of its VelociRaptor hard drives, and we’ve got tasty benchmark numbers for you.
The new Velociraptors are SATA 6Gb/s-enabled and come in 450GB and 600GB flavors (a 300GB bump from the previous-gen’s 150GB and 300GB). Like their predecessors, the Velociraptors spin at 10,000rpm and desktop versions are mounted on IcePack heatsinks that let them fit in standard 3.5-inch SATA hard drive bays. IcePack-less 2.5-inch models are available for enterprise servers, but at 15mm high, they won’t fit in your laptop.
The new VelociRaptor with its top off.
The much-needed refresh bumps the Velociraptor line back into the enthusiast market, where solid-state drives and super-speedy terabyte drives have nibbled away at their market share. Enough yammering outta us, though; let’s go to the benchmarks!
It's a new year, a new decade, with bigger hard disks than ever and new technologies like SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0, and bigger solid-state drives to choose from. So, what do you do with the drives you've replaced (or will replace this year)? From drive enclosures and media streamers to storage for home servers and salvage fodder, find out the best ways to decide which drives get promoted, which drives are out, and which drives deserve a second life.
As the capacities and prices of hard drives drop it becomes so very tempting to replace existing hard drives with something bigger, and perhaps faster. But what to do with the old drives? External drive cases, let’s face it, are passé--and in some instances will cost you more than the drive they’ll house is worth. Docks are a nice idea, and definitely offer more flexibility. But what if you’ve a hankering to go portable? Unitek’s got you covered: a USB 3.0 to SATA adapter that will get your ‘old’ drive running and on your desktop in no time.
The Unitek adapter, available over at Brando for $48, has a USB 3.0 compliant connector for the PC side, and a SATA Gen2i (3 Gbps) and Gen1i (1.5 Gbps) compliant connector for a 3.5-inch drive at the other. Th econnector will support ATA/ATAPI devices, and drives up to 2 TB. USB 3.0 will allow a theoretical data transfer rate of 5.0 Gbps, but the actual rate will be governed by SATA’s slightly lower data throughput.
The only drawback to the connector is USB 3.0, which isn’t yet mainstream. The initial round of USB 3.0 equipped motherboards are supposed to be hitting the streets about now. And for the rest of us languishing in USB 2.0 purgatory, we’ll be needing to invest in an add-in card.
HighPoint Technologies unveiled the Rocket 600 series host adapter. The first of its kind it supports SATA 6Gb/s over PCI-Express 2.0
The Rocket 600 series cards boast 6Gb/s performance for two drives offering 500MB/s throughput. It uses standard SATA cables and connectors and features two types of backwards compatibility. First, it supports PCI-Express 1.0 as well as SATA 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s devices. Driver support was written in compliance with the AHCI standard so driver support is native to most operating systems.
The new series features two cards: the Rocket 620 and Rocket 622. The more expensive ($79.99) Rocket 622 offers eSATA ports instead of the SATA connectors on the $69.99 Rocket 620. The new adapters will be available late October into early November.
Super Talent and Toshiba today announced a new range of co-branded SSDs called the UltraDrive DX. The official press release was largely dedicated to UltraDrive DX’s twin-layer encryption. It features password encryption as its first line of defense and hardware data randomization technology as the second.
“As the first Toshiba co-branded SSD on the market, UltraDrive DX features a Toshiba controller and Toshiba’s MLC NAND flash memories. The DX provides superb security and reliability features combined with cutting edge performance in both read and write speeds,” said Joe James, director of marketing at Super Talent.
The SATA International Organization (SATA-IO) is planning to introduce the latest SATA connector at the Intel Developers Forum (IDF). The new platform, named mini-SATA (mSATA), is roughly the size of a business card and is similar in size to the PCI Express Controller.
Primarily aimed at manufacturers, the mSATA connector was designed for smaller storage solutions, such as 32 to 64GB and meant to supplement primary storage. The folks at SATA-IO anticipate that the new module will allow systems makers to provide more creative storage solutions such as dedicated OS or application drives.
Toshiba and SanDisk also announced they would be debuting mSATA modules in various storage sizes at their booths at IDF. Overall, the new platform will create smaller netbooks and mobile products and "Smaller is always better,” says Steve Duplessi, tech analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.