March 2008
Volume 3, Issue 1

In this Issue:

Power Over eSATA: Life Without a Power Adapter
What is the Industry Saying About SATA?
Interoperability Testing Update
The SATA-IO Building Blocks List – A New Resource for Members
Spring 2008 Event Preview
Reminder: Add or Update Products on the SATA Everywhere List

Membership Update

The following industry leaders are proud new members of SATA-IO:

Apacer Technology Inc.
Gennum Corporation

ICT Solutions Ltd.

International Microsystems Inc.
Philips Consumer Electronics B.V.
Silicon Motion, Inc.
Solid State System
TennRich International Corp.

Power Over eSATA: Life Without a Power Adapter

Now business professionals and consumers alike can leave behind their power adapters and cables. With eSATA external storage solutions, there’s no need for a separate power supply for mobile hard drives.

If you’ve ever toted a mobile hard drive to back up your laptop on the road, you’re keenly aware that briefcase space is at a premium. The tangle of cords can take up as much space as an additional hard drive. The mobile storage user doesn’t have to tolerate the extra space or time required to install a power supply and power cable. Slip a powered drive into your briefcase, and there's no need to cart around a power adapter and power cable.

SATA-IO is developing a Power over eSATA specification which will mean fewer cables for high-performance external storage. That’s good news for those who want an elegant work environment, too, by getting rid of the additional cables needed for one of their desktop PC accessories. Eliminating the power supply and power cable for external SATA drives also helps save space.

Those pesky power adapters can also limit the way you use storage in your day-to-day activities at home. Requiring an extra cable to expand the storage capacity of your DVRs can be cumbersome and unsightly when you’re looking for something clean and simple. Too many cables can spoil the image of an aesthetically pleasing living room, and the same can be true for your home office or bedroom computer desk.

This implies Power Over eSATA will supply enough power for 3.5 inch, 2.5 inch and slimline ODD external SATA storage devices.

SATA-IO expects this specification to be available in the second half of 2008.

What is the Industry Saying About SATA?

  • Tom Coughlin, analyst, from his article “The Last Byte: When Interfaces Collide.”

“eSATA provides data transfer speeds of 3,000Mbps and the potential for native vs. bridged implementation of the interface. This provides an inherent savings from a common internal and external interface architecture. eSATA external storage devices became popular with people capturing and editing video. eSATA interfaces are also common on the latest set-top boxes with DVR capability to allow expansion of the storage capacity of the DVR with an external storage device. Backups on an eSATA external storage device can easily be three times faster than those on USB devices.”

  • Stephan Shankland, from the CNET article “eSATA to shed power plug.”

“If your power strips are as overloaded as mine with cords and bulky transformers, you'll be glad to hear that eSATA--a standard that gives external hard drives the data transfer speeds of internal drives--is untethering itself from its power cord.”

  • Jeffy Milstead, from the Macworld article “Huge hard drives.”

“For maximum speed, you’ll want a drive with an eSATA port.”

  • Seth Weintraub, from the Computerworld article “10 things that should be in Apple's next Mac Pro”

“3Gb eSATA is coming out of the woodwork now as the new standard for super-high-speed drives, even as external drives and arrays that use it are coming down in price dramatically.”

  • Mohd Shariff PA, from the article “Hard drives take on backup duties.”

“The benefits of SATA disks go beyond a slightly lower price tag and architectural flexibility. The external connectivity option available… creates the possibility for a portable and robust external tape drive, much like a USB drive. Moreover it also eliminates transfer rate bottlenecks experienced with ATAPI. The drives also deliver the traditional benefits of tape, including the ability to be easily transported offsite for long-term archiving and disaster recovery.”

Interoperability Testing Update

SATA-IO interoperability testing has continued to grow and evolve through testing events and certified SATA-IO Test Labs.  Fifteen companies participated at the most recent Interoperability Workshop, which covered a broad range of SATA solutions including 3.5”, 2.5”, and 1.8” hard disk drives as well as flash and optical drives (both half-height and slim mobile drives).  Host systems and eSATA devices (the latter encompassing hard drives, host and Port Multiplier solutions) were also tested.  The upcoming Interoperability Workshop in April 2008 plans to continue testing on multiple types of products.

SATA-IO is pleased to announce the certification of another Test Lab, which SATA-IO members may use to test their products.  Testronic Laboratories became the fourth Test Lab to be certified by SATA-IO for Interoperability Testing. Please visit for more information.

The SATA-IO Building Blocks List – A New Resource for Members  

The SATA-IO Logo Workgroup has unveiled the new Building Blocks List which provides SATA-IO Members an avenue to broaden their market reach of SATA-enabled components that are necessary to build higher-level SATA solutions. Devices such as customer reference boards, IP products and other SATA components that have successfully concluded Interoperability Tests applicable to their product category are now posted on-line through the SATA-IO Web site. The Building Blocks program relies on the same tests (Revision 1.2) as those used to qualify Integrators List products; however, certification under the Building Block program requires completion of only one test area whereas Integrators List products must pass the full set of prescribed tests.

Spring 2008 Event Preview

Intel Developer Forum – April 2-3, 2008; Shanghai, China

Come visit the SATA-IO booth at IDF Shanghai in April. SATA-IO will be looking to meet with Asian HDD, ODD, host and cable vendors. If you have a customer who would benefit from meeting with a SATA-IO representative, please contact SATA-IO Administration and we will coordinate a meeting time at IDF Shanghai. While at the show, we will also highlight our forthcoming Power Over eSATA and SATA 6Gb/s specifications, as well as the launch of the SATA 6Gb/s logo, to press and analyst attendees. We hope to see you there!

SATA-IO Interoperability Workshop #5 – April 14-18, 2008; Portland, Oregon

SATA-IO will host the fifth Interop Workshop this coming April with a focus on the verification of Phy electrical characteristics, mechanical and electrical characteristics of cables/connectors, digital protocol, and general interoperability. At this time, the testing supports the following component/product types: PC compatible hosts, hard disk drives and optical drives (ATAPI: Slim and Half-height). In addition, the testing is limited to verification of products designed to the "internal" usage model defined by the SATA specification (Gen 1i/2i). Additionally, eSATA host and drive informative or normative testing may be offered.

SATA-IO Plugfest #10 – April 14-17, 2008; Portland, Oregon

This event will focus on the preparation and verification of new Serial ATA features being productized over the next 12 months, including but not limited to: 3 Gb/s electrical and Phy parameter testing, ATAPI device functional testing, server and enclosure services, and mobile device interoperability.

Come join us for the SATA-IO Interop Workshop #5 and Plugfest #10 at a new location: Portland, Oregon.  These events will be held simultaneously at the Embassy Suites Portland Airport.

SATA-IO Industry Forum and Annual Members Meeting – April 14, 2008 5:00pm – 7:00pm

The SATA-IO Marketing team will host an evening of discussion and presentations to address the SATA-IO roadmap, interoperability program developments and vendor equipment.  Come to this beneficial event to hear key industry leaders provide updates on the latest developments of SATA technology. The Annual Members Meeting will also be held at this time. An address on the state of the Organization will be given by SATA-IO President, Knut Grimsrud.

Please plan to join us for discussion, appetizers and drinks. We hope to see you there!

Reminder: Add or Update Products on the SATA Everywhere List

The SATA Everywhere List is available for Members and Non Members to post their SATA products. Please visit the SATA Everywhere Product Listing to upload your company’s products to this beneficial industry resource.

Please submit any future article ideas and topics to Conrad Maxwell, SATA-IO Marketing Chair, Silicon Image.

SATA-IO Administration