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Seagate, AMD Show Blazing Fast SATA 3

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 29 comments
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For the last few years, SATA 2 has been the hard drive connection standard of choice for non-server markets. Offering up to 3 Gbps (300 MB/sec.) of (theoretical) speed has been adequate for many. However, Seagate, AMD and SATA-io believe the time for SATA 3 has come.

During a demonstration at the Everything Channel Xchange Conference in New Orleans, Seagate demoed the new 6 Gbps SATA 3 standard. According to the demo, the SATA2 drive (a 7200.12 Barracuda) topped out around 288 MB/sec, running just below the standards top theoretical speed. The SATA 3 drive, a Seagate Barracuda SATA 3 prototype, reached a staggering 589 MB/sec, more than double the speed of the SATA 2 setup.

"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," said Joan Motsinger, Seagate's VP of Personal Systems Marketing and Strategy. "The SATA 6Gb/second storage interface will meet this demand for higher-bandwidth PCs."

New standards always make consumers nervous. New standards, in some cases, mean new hardware and new cables. In the case of SATA 3, the new drives will be 100 percent backwards compatible with SATA 1 and 2, and will use the same cables for easy integration. So if you find yourself with a new motherboard that sports SATA 3, hooking up an older SATA 2 hard drive packed with all your music and photos will be a snap.

According to the SATA-io website, SATA 3 (or SATA Revision 3.0) will be available in the first half of this year. AMD has said it plans to support the new standard with an upcoming revision of its 700 series chipsets. While no word from Intel has been received, expect SATA 3 on several chipset revisions as well as the new P55 motherboards coming out in a few months.

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  • 2 Hide
    makotech222 , March 9, 2009 5:50 PM
    excellent. more speed for future ssds
  • 3 Hide
    LoneEagle , March 9, 2009 6:03 PM
    This will be good for RAID-0 SSD! But not for that long... Using the newest SSD and RAID-0, you can already bust that 589MB/sec.
  • 1 Hide
    garydale , March 9, 2009 6:23 PM
    While some people tout this as being great for SSDs, and it probably is, it appears that it will also give HD manufacturers some incentive to come out with faster drives. While the drives currently are running nowhere near their peak throughput, they do hit it sometimes. SATA-3 appears to give them enough headroom for future growth.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , March 9, 2009 6:50 PM
    While SATA 3 chugs along at decent pace where is my non-draft 802.11n?! :( 
  • -2 Hide
    eklipz330 , March 9, 2009 7:27 PM
    ill resist from buying a sata 3 and get one of those pcie 2.0 ssd's... o man those are effin fast
  • 3 Hide
    Blessedman , March 9, 2009 7:48 PM
    but unbootable ekilpz.
  • 2 Hide
    hellwig , March 9, 2009 8:02 PM
    I think the fact that WD's Raptor line stuck with SATA 1.0 until the Velociraptor last year shows that in general, the world doesn't need faster SATA. If the fastest harddrive for 2 years never needed 3.0Gbps, how long until we need 6Gbps?

    This is probably just a ploy to prevent people from switching to USB 3.0. 5Gpbs? That's nothing compared to our 6Gpbs, so please, don't switch your harddrives over to USB 3.0. Pretty please?
  • 2 Hide
    nekatreven , March 9, 2009 9:22 PM
    hellwigI think the fact that WD's Raptor line stuck with SATA 1.0 until the Velociraptor last year shows that in general, the world doesn't need faster SATA. If the fastest harddrive for 2 years never needed 3.0Gbps, how long until we need 6Gbps? This is probably just a ploy to prevent people from switching to USB 3.0. 5Gpbs? That's nothing compared to our 6Gpbs, so please, don't switch your harddrives over to USB 3.0. Pretty please?


    I'd have to agree with that second part. Although, SATA port management and boot configuration tends to be a little better integrated into the bios on most systems, so that may also deter an all-out switch to usb. I'd always thought usb was more stressing on the cpu anyway. Then again there is still the point that there aren't that many mainstream parts that could take advantage of 6.0 or even 5.0gbps. I do disagree there though...I don't think it will be so long until we do have affordable parts that are that fast.
  • 2 Hide
    MoUsE-WiZ , March 9, 2009 9:44 PM
    hellwigIf the fastest harddrive for 2 years never needed 3.0Gbps, how long until we need 6Gbps?

    Why do you think OCZ is connecting the Z drive directly to a PCIe slot instead of sticking with SATA interface? It's because their forums are full of people hitting a bottle kneck with 3Gbps SATA with very obvious potential to bottle kneck at 6Gbps in the not very far future.
  • 2 Hide
    foxman , March 9, 2009 9:54 PM
    Please don't call this SATA 3. There is nothing like SATA 3. The correct name is SATA 6 Gbit/s. Now everyone is confused with the nomentaclature, where you don't know if someone talking about SATA 3 is taking about SATA 3 Gbit/s or SATA 6 Gbit/s. I HATE ALL OF YOU!!! ;) 

    And 6 Gbit/s is per SATA link and not as whole, loneeagle.
  • -2 Hide
    IzzyCraft , March 9, 2009 10:01 PM
    hellwigI think the fact that WD's Raptor line stuck with SATA 1.0 until the Velociraptor last year shows that in general, the world doesn't need faster SATA. If the fastest harddrive for 2 years never needed 3.0Gbps, how long until we need 6Gbps? This is probably just a ploy to prevent people from switching to USB 3.0. 5Gpbs? That's nothing compared to our 6Gpbs, so please, don't switch your harddrives over to USB 3.0. Pretty please?

    Maybe i am wrong but those drives just before last year where being beat in throughput in and out the main benefit of the drives in being fast was low seek time which makes fragmented data transfers alot faster in competing hard drives. Which is why i buy seagate over WD due to their drives at 7200 has better random seek times then wd
  • 3 Hide
    ossie , March 9, 2009 10:56 PM
    just another little exercise in benchmarketing?
    since when is 7200.12 getting 288MB/s?
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , March 10, 2009 12:32 AM
    IzzyCraftMaybe i am wrong but those drives just before last year where being beat in throughput in and out the main benefit of the drives in being fast was low seek time which makes fragmented data transfers alot faster in competing hard drives. Which is why i buy seagate over WD due to their drives at 7200 has better random seek times then wd

    I meant that in their time, the Raptors were fastest for a couple years, not the last couple years. Yes, they were beat by conventional drives later in their life.
  • 2 Hide
    hellwig , March 10, 2009 12:37 AM
    MoUsE-WiZWhy do you think OCZ is connecting the Z drive directly to a PCIe slot instead of sticking with SATA interface? It's because their forums are full of people hitting a bottle kneck with 3Gbps SATA with very obvious potential to bottle kneck at 6Gbps in the not very far future.

    Mouse-Wiz, OCZ is connecting a SATA RAID controller to PCIe. That new PCIe card is 4 SSD drives in RAID configuration, with a RAID controller inside. Each individual drive still uses only a regular SATA 3Gbps connection. Therefore, no individual drive needs more than the 3Gbps.

    You might be thinking of that new Fusion ioDrive, which is such a specialized and expensive piece of hardware, I wouldn't count on it moving the mass storage market forward any time soon.
  • 2 Hide
    Master Exon , March 10, 2009 2:10 AM
    hellwigI think the fact that WD's Raptor line stuck with SATA 1.0 until the Velociraptor last year shows that in general, the world doesn't need faster SATA. If the fastest harddrive for 2 years never needed 3.0Gbps, how long until we need 6Gbps? This is probably just a ploy to prevent people from switching to USB 3.0. 5Gpbs? That's nothing compared to our 6Gpbs, so please, don't switch your harddrives over to USB 3.0. Pretty please?


    We don't need conspiracy theories on the subject. USB3 and SATAIII have been in the works for quite a while. Both have their own separate specializations.
  • -2 Hide
    Tindytim , March 10, 2009 8:21 AM
    I find this rather silly.

    They double the speed, then demo a drive that can max it out? The technology should give us improvements that we won't immediately max out.
  • 3 Hide
    duzcizgi , March 10, 2009 8:49 AM
    hellwigI think the fact that WD's Raptor line stuck with SATA 1.0 until the Velociraptor last year shows that in general, the world doesn't need faster SATA. If the fastest harddrive for 2 years never needed 3.0Gbps, how long until we need 6Gbps? This is probably just a ploy to prevent people from switching to USB 3.0. 5Gpbs? That's nothing compared to our 6Gpbs, so please, don't switch your harddrives over to USB 3.0. Pretty please?


    No need for conspiracy, hellwig. USB performance is tightly dependent to the performance of the CPU. It's a host controlled system and a high performance USB device can easily get an i7 to its knees very easily.
    So, USB III, although promises 5Gbit/second, it's very unlikely to achieve that performance with current systems.
  • 3 Hide
    bumskins , March 10, 2009 9:23 AM
    I call total bullshit on the hard drive speed. Thats not a sustained hard drive speed.
  • 2 Hide
    bumskins , March 10, 2009 9:43 AM
    bumskinsI call total bullshit on the hard drive speed. Thats not a sustained hard drive speed.


    I should of been more specific, I doubt that the hard drive got that performance. And that's the thing, these speed increases aren't to cater for single devices but rather external raid, etc.
  • 2 Hide
    hellwig , March 10, 2009 2:13 PM
    duzcizgi[/nomIt's a host controlled system and a high performance USB device can easily get an i7 to its knees very easily.

    Woah, now who's starting conspiracy theories. USB3.0 will cripple your Core i7? Unlikely, how would they even develop a technology no standard computer is capable of running?

    All I'm saying is, USB3.0 was introduced September, 2007. SATA 6Gbps wasn't introduced until July, 2008. Now SATA is going to possibly beat USB3 into the market? I know USB is slacking here, but I think USB3.0 vs. SATA 6Gbps is less conspiracy than USB3.0 being designed to cripple your computer.
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