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The new SATA Slimline connector interface
New small-form factor and mobile enhancements specified in revision 2.6

The Serial ATA International Organization, also known as SATA-IO, today announced its latest Serial ATA specification – SATA revision 2.6 (PDF). The latest SATA revision 2.6 adds new physical and performance features to the previous SATA revision 2.5, also referred to as SATA 3.0Gbps, specification.

New physical features added to the SATA revision 2.6 include internal cable specifications for small-form-factor systems and mobile PC applications. SATA revision 2.6 specifies a new internal slim-line cable and connector. The new Slimline cable and connector target tightly packed small-form-factor systems. SATA-IO also defines the internal micro SATA connector with ultra mobile PCs in mind. The new internal micro SATA connector specification is for 1.8” hard drives only right now.

In addition to the small-form-factor and ultra mobile PC benefits of SATA revision 2.6, SATA-IO defines a new mini SATA multilane cable and connector. The new mini SATA multilane cable and connector specification is for internal and external SATA usage. Do not expect to see mini SATA multilane connectors on consumer desktop systems, however. SATA-IO defines the specification for use internally in high-bandwidth backplanes and externally for high-bandwidth external storage enclosures.

Physical enhancements aside, SATA revision 2.6 introduces new performance improvements to the SATA specification. Native Command Queuing, or NCQ, receives upgrades beneficial to desktop and notebook systems. NCQ priority enhancement is the latest feature and prioritizes data during complex workloads. On the mobile improvements sides of things, a new NCQ unload enhancement feature makes it way into the SATA specification. This new feature increases mobile SATA hard drive robustness, especially in drop-prone environments.




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