August 2007
Volume 2, Issue 3

In this Issue:

Why is eSATA the Optimal Interface for External Storage?
Enhancements to NCQ in the SATA Revision 2.6 Spec
Introducing the SATA Everywhere Product List - Free for SATA-IO Members!
Fall 2007 Upcoming Events

Membership Update

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

Airconnect Solutions Ltd.
Cherng Weei Technology Corp.

Flexstar Technology

Freescale Semiconductor, Inc
HCL Technologies Ltd.
HDL Design House
ITE Tech. Inc.
Luxshare Precision Industry Co., Ltd.
PNY Technologies, Inc
Power Quotient International Co., Ltd.
Samphone Electronic Co., Ltd.
Santa Electronics Inc.
Storage Vision Co., Ltd.
Suyin Corporation

Why is eSATA the Optimal Interface for External Storage?

Today’s consumers can choose from a variety of external storage formats: USB, FireWire or External SATA (eSATA). Of these choices, none compare to the speed and performance of eSATA. Designed specifically to deliver data “outside-the-box” with speed, reliability and convenience, eSATA can operate up to six times faster than existing storage solutions. Using an eSATA interface, end-users can back up their computing systems twice as fast. They can also connect an eSATA multi-drive bay to a server or PC and instantly increase capacity five-fold using a single cable connection.

Unlike USB and FireWire, which were initially designed as high-speed serial interfaces between laptops/PCs and external peripherals, eSATA was optimized for external storage needs. It requires no protocol translation because it speaks the native language when transferring data. Conversely, USB and FireWire are ATA drives which require a protocol translation when used for external storage purposes, thus increasing overhead cost over time. That means the addition of a bridge chip to translate from the ATA protocol to the USB or 1394 protocol used for the connection.

Ultimately, eSATA trounces USB and FireWire on both speed and drive performance when compared using peak values. Already, ATA drives are being built to push more throughput than the ATA protocols originally were designed to handle.  SATA technology, on the other hand, has not even been tapped for half of its total capabilities. Built for long life and to meet the ever-increasing demand for higher throughput, eSATA is expected to achieve even higher transfer rates--without compromising drive speeds--as it moves into the next generation. 

Enhancements to NCQ in the SATA Revision 2.6 Spec

Earlier this year, SATA-IO released the SATA Revision 2.6 specification. This version of the specification includes new feature definitions that will enable developers to integrate SATA into smaller form factors. In addition, SATA-IO made several enhancements to the technology, including the addition of Native Command Queuing (NCQ) priority and NCQ unload.

Introduced with the SATA 3Gb/s, the NCQ feature was originally developed to increase performance of native SATA hard drives by allowing them to accept multiple outstanding commands and optimally re-order the execution of those commands. This addressed many of the shortcomings associated with PATA’s Tagged Command Queuing (ATA TCQ), which included high overhead and minor performance gain. As the SATA technology evolved, the NCQ feature proved to be the best solution for optimizing the execution order of workloads for internal hard drives. 

The new SATA Revision 2.6 spec includes enhancements to NCQ to provide better quality of service. For example, improvements to NCQ unload enables robust use in laptop environments where the drive may be dropped. The NCQ unload provides the means for a laptop to send a signal to the drive that it is undergoing a fall or shock situation for configurations where the sensor is not on the drive but in the laptop itself. Enhancements to NCQ priority provide the capability of adding priority to data in complex workload environments.

Enhancing the NCQ feature in the latest revision of the specification is just one of the ways that SATA-IO shows commitment to sustaining and evolving the SATA specification to meet the needs of the market. Users of SATA technology can now enjoy a better, more reliable computing experience thanks to enhancements like NCQ priority and NCQ unload.

Introducing the SATA Everywhere Product List – Free for SATA-IO Members!  

The SATA-IO will unveil the new SATA Everywhere product list at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Sept. 18-20.  Manufacturers of SATA products are encouraged to add products to the SATA Everywhere list in order to generate an easy and searchable catalog of SATA products available in the industry. The list will become publicly available on the SATA-IO Web site beginning Sept. 18, 2007, in conjunction with IDF.

Why is the SATA Everywhere list different than product lists from the past? The new SATA Everywhere list allows each company to register as many products as it would like and provides complete control of company listings. After entering your product information online and selecting ‘Submit,’ your company’s product is immediately posted and available for vendors and customers to locate on the SATA-IO Web site.

Member companies of SATA-IO may add their products to the list prior to its public launch by visiting the SATA Everywhere list. Be sure to add your product prior to September 18 to be included in the initial launch!

The following categories are available for product listings:

  • Host Controllers/ Adapters
  • External Storage/ Enclosures
  • Cables/ Connectors/ Assemblies
  • Hard Drives/ Optical Drives/ SSD Drives
  • Peripherals/ Port Multipliers/ Bridges
  • Backplanes
  • Test Equipment
  • PC Desktops/Notebooks
  • Non-PC Consumer Products
  • Intellectual Property

Additional features of the SATA Everywhere product list include:   

  • The ability to include a web link to your company Web site or product web page with each product listing
  • Designators for products that are included on the SATA-IO Integrators List

Many editors and analysts will be contacted regarding the launch of the Everywhere SATA product list alerting them to this new industry resource. With support from all vendors and manufacturers of SATA products, this will be the one and only definitive SATA product list.

Help SATA-IO achieve our goal of creating a complete listing of SATA products by signing up today! Product listing is free to SATA-IO members.

Prior to the public launch of the product list, SATA-IO members can add products by visiting the members only area of the website. Your username and password will be required.

Sign up for a password or Forgot your password

Fall 2007 Upcoming Events  

Intel Developer Forum (IDF) Fall 2007
Sept. 18-20, 2007
Moscone Center – San Francisco, California

Visit the SATA-IO booth #223 at IDF and be one of the first to view the new SATA Everywhere product list! The first 10 people to bring a printed copy of the August 2007 newsletter and add a product to the list will receive a gift card to Starbucks! 

Plugfest #9 and Interoperability Workshop #4
Nov. 12-16, 2007
Embassy Suites - Milpitas, California

Registration will open the first week of September for the ninth Plugfest and fourth Interoperability Workshop. Be among the first 20 teams to register for the plugfest and SATA-IO will waive your registration fee. View event information for Plugfest #9

Interoperability Workshop #4 will focus on the verification of Phy electrical characteristics, mechanical and electrical characteristics of cables/connectors, digital protocol, and general interoperability. Interop Workshop test slots are limited, so be one of the first to sign up.

SATA-IO Industry Forum
Nov. 12, 2007
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Embassy Suites – Milpitas, California

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.

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

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

SATA-IO Administration