In the world of computing, faster speeds are constantly sought. When a manufacturer introduces a new product or platform, odds are they are already hard at work on the faster replacement to the new product.
Seagate and AMD have announced a new and faster Serial ATA (SATA) high-speed data transfer protocol. The demonstration shows the SATA 6Gb/second interface in use for the first time. Today's SATA drives inside most computers operate at either 3Gb/sec or 1.5Gb/sec depending on how old the drives are. The new 6Gb/sec interface offers backwards compatibility with SATA 1.5 and 3.0 interfaces.
The new specification also uses the same cables and interconnects as SATA 1.5Gb/sec and 3.0Gb/sec interfaces for compatibility. The new interface offers roughly twice the performance of today's highest performance SATA standard, enhances power efficiency, and improves Native Command Queuing (NCQ). NCQ is a feature in the SATA specification that increases the overall system performance and data transfer speeds.
Seagate VP Joan Motsinger said in a statement, "The increasing reliance of consumers and businesses worldwide on digital information is giving rise to gaming, digital video and audio, streaming video, graphics and other applications that require even more bandwidth, driving demand for PC interfaces that can carry even more digital content. The SATA 6Gb/second storage interface will meet this demand for higher-bandwidth PCs. Seagate has a long history of being first to market with new technologies such as Serial ATA, perpendicular recording and self-encrypting drives, and is pleased to be teaming with AMD to stage the world's first public demonstration of SATA 6Gb/second storage."
The demo used a pair of Seagate SATA drives for speed comparisons. The first drive used was a currently shipping SATA 3Gb/sec 7200.12 drive and the other drive was a prototype Barracuda 6Gb/sec drive. The demo PC used an AMD CPU with a prototype AMD SATA 6Gb/sec chipset.
According to the Serial ATA website, the new 6Gb/sec specification will be available in the first half of 2009. That should mean that hardware to support the new specification would be available at roughly the same time. To upgrade to SATA 6.0Gb/sec drives would require a motherboard with a chipset supporting the faster specification and hard drives supporting the specification.
AMD VP Leslie Sobon said in a statement, "AMD strives to deliver platform technology that our technology partners can use to create high-performance desktop and laptop PCs. The new SATA 6Gb/second technology not only incorporates the best features of previous SATA generations but also includes new enhancements. This innovation enables AMD to continue to evolve its technology platforms and to develop low-cost designs that our technology partners can use to improve their own PC and laptop products."
The new interface will offer improved speeds to both traditional hard drives and solid-state drives.
Seagate reported in January that it would be cutting 2,950 jobs under the weight of the poor global economy. Mere days before the job cut announcements were made Bill Watkins stepped down as CEO of the company and was replaced by Stephen Luczo.