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Not many motherboards support new standard yet

Seagate is launching today the latest in the  Barracuda family of 7200 RPM hard disk drives. The Barracuda XT is the first drive to market that supports SATA interface speeds of up to 6Gbps. 

The 2TB monster features a large 64 MB cache, which is the largest seen on a regular HDD. However, several SSDs already use 128MB caches, and at least one controller design in the works is capable of accessing up to 256MB of cache. It is these large and fast caches that are driving SATA standards forward.
The latest version of Seagate's SeaTools software allows for short-stroking, in which data is stored only on the outer tracks of the drive, allowing greater access speed at a reduction in capacity. The company claims that a short-stroked Barracuda XT using 1TB of storage will be able to compete with a 10k RPM Velociraptor drive from competitor Western Digital.

The company is targeting high performance and gaming PCs, low cost servers for SMBs, and external storage applications using eSATA for the new drive. Seagate expects almost 20% of all HDDs sold in 2010 will have a capacity of  1TB or greater.

The new drive (model ST32000641AS) comes with a 5-year warranty at a MSRP of $299. It should be available at retail by the end of this week.

Despite all the enthusiasm from Seagate, it will be SSDs that see the greatest performance jump with the move to the next generation for the SATA interface. Several SSDs are already hitting the limits of SATA II when reading from their cache.

Adoption of the new SATA standard is currently slow, as the ASUS P7P55D is the only motherboard that is natively capable of support 6Gbps. Older motherboards are capable of such speeds only through the use of a PCIe adapter card.

The problem is that motherboard manufacturers are waiting for a new I/O Controller Hub (ICH) from Intel. Commonly known as a southbridge, the new ICH is expected to support new technologies such as SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps. AMD is also working on a new southbridge to support these technologies.

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RE: ok so how about
By TomZ on 9/21/2009 2:22:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure I agree with you. I think SSDs are something that a lot of people are talking about, but only a small number of people are actually buying. And in the meantime, people are still buying machines and upgrades that include plain-old HDDs.

I'd be curious to know the marketshare of SSDs, but I'd be suprised if it exceeded even just 1% right now.

RE: ok so how about
By Reclaimer77 on 9/21/2009 2:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
Are you ppl dense ? The interface isn't the limiting factor on hard drives, it's the mechanical parts. The new version of Sata will NOT improve standard hard disk performance because the drives will never be fast enough.

It WILL however improve SSD performance.

You people sound like a bunch of VHS junkies who claimed DVD will never get "marketshare".

RE: ok so how about
By TomZ on 9/21/2009 2:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
Two points:

1. 6Gbps will also improve performance of HDDs because it allows faster access to reading from and writing to the DRAM cache. After all, not every I/O request requires a full trip down to the magnetic media. Many requests can be served by the DRAM. After all, that is the purpose of the DRAM in the first place!

2. I specifically didn't say that I don't see SSD market share growing in the future, as you imply. I'm saying I believe the current market share is much less than some techies think it is. The perceived market share is much higher because of all the media/blog attention it gets because of being a new/developing technology.

RE: ok so how about
By TomZ on 9/21/2009 3:12:59 PM , Rating: 2
One more point - you are assuming that the only change in the new interface is the speed, but that is not correct. 6Gbps SATA also adds a number of new features that are also beneficial to HDDs:

• A new Native Command Queuing (NCQ) streaming command to enable isochronous
data transfers for bandwidth-hungry audio and video applications
• An NCQ Management feature that helps optimize performance by enabling host
processing and management of outstanding NCQ commands
• Improved power management capabilities

RE: ok so how about
By MrPoletski on 9/24/2009 9:57:28 AM , Rating: 2
This NCQ will require both hardware and software support no doubt and will also primarily benefit enterprise applications.

Desktop PC's just don't have the Iops load for NCQ to make a significant difference - especially given the non existant seek times of SSD's.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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