We had a recent incident in our lab where SATA 6Gb/s performance inexplicably dropped going from one motherboard to the next. In theory, both boards should have offered the same performance on the SATA 6Gb/s port as both used the same south bridge chip in the board and the same SSD. When we couldn’t diagnose it as drivers or a mis-configured benchmark run, we decided to swap out the SATA cable for a “real” SATA 6Gb/s cable. Like magic, the performance went back to what we expected.
This got us wondering if there is actually a need to run “real” SATA 6GB/s cables with high performance SSDs. The official word from the SATA International Organization is no, not at all. We decided to test it and see.
Plextor has come out with a new solid state drive line the company says is "currently one of fastest SSDs available in the market." A bold claim, one that's backed up by marrying the new M2 series SSDs with a Marvell 88SS9174 controller. By doing so, the M2 series supports the SATA 6Gb/s interface and offers up read (up to 480MB/s) and write (up to 330MB/s) speeds that mechanical hard drives can only dream about. Shoot, even most high end SSDs don't approach those theoretical numbers, but the M2 brings more to the table than just high transfer speeds.
Every few years, we get new interfaces. Normally, they’re spread out a bit. USB 2.0 comes out, then a new SATA version and later a new PCI Express revision. Lately, though, the trickle of new interfaces has become a deluge, and keeping up with all of them can be mind-numbing – not to mention hard on your credit card.
Let’s take a look at both recently arrived interfaces and those on the near term horizon. We’ll also try to figure out when it makes sense to upgrade or move to the new connection or wait for something better.
“CyberPower customers can configure and order a Gamer Xtreme system with the super speed USB 3.0/SATA III interface today. With Intel's latest i5/i7 processors and P55/X58 chipsets, you'll enjoy maximum performance today and be ready for tomorrow. Both USB 3.0 and SATA III are backward compatible to assure users their current peripherals will not become obsolete,” the company said in a laconic press release. The Gamer Xtreme range starts at $749.
The gang launches into this week's edition of the No BS podcast by immersing themselves into webcam-powered augmented reality. We also report on Seagate's SATA 6Gb/s interface test (it's fast!) and share our thoughts about HP's Firebird hybrid PC. On the rant of the week, Gordon lets loose on people who use facebook as an outlet to complain about their jobs, and explains why he thinks Spock was also full of rage. We also take a few listener questions, making a gaming mouse recommendation and discus the browser war.
We'll be taking a short break from podcasting as various members of the staff go on vacations, but will be back in three weeks for our 100th episode. Stay tuned!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Today, hard drive manufacturer Seagate and chip manufacturer AMD unveil the first tech demo of Serial ATA Revision 3.0, which boasts transfer rates of up to six gigabits per second, twice the speed of the current SATA spec. The specification, which was announced by the Serial ATA International Organization last August, will appear in hardware starting later this year.
SATA 6Gb/s comes several years before Seagate estimates it will be needed for standard hard drives, but, as we reported last year, several current-gen SSDs are already bumping against the 3Gb/s limit of the current spec.
Confused by terms like SATA II, SATA Gen 2, and SATA 3Gb/s? You're not alone. With today's release (link in PDF format) of the PHY (physical layer) portion of the forthcoming SATA revision 3.0 specification (details here), SATA-IO, the trade association responsible for defining Serial ATA specifications, is trying hard to stomp out the many misidentifications of SATA specifications and features over the years.
SATA revision 3.0 doubles the speed of the current 3Gb/s version, reaching transfer speeds of 6Gb/s. So, what should you call the newest member of the SATA specifications family? According to the SATA Naming Guidelines, here's what works:
The first reference in a document should be: "Serial ATA International Organization: Serial ATA Revision 3.0." Additional references can be to either "SATA Revision 3.0" or "SATA 6Gb/s."
To find out how SATA-IO is also working to clear up confusion for current technologies, join us after the jump.