On Tuesday, the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) made two announcements: the development of a new SATA Express specification that combines SATA software infrastructure with a PCI Express (PCIe) interface, and the SATA μSSD specification for producing a single-chip SATA implementation for embedded storage solutions.
On the SATA Express front, the new technology will provide a cost-effective means to increase device interface speeds to 8 Gb/s and 16 Gb/s – SSDs and hybrid drives will likely benefit the most. Devices that don't require the speed produced by SATA Express will continue to rely on the current SATA technology.
"The SATA Express specification provides SSD and hybrid drive manufacturers the advantages of performance and scalability enabled by PCIe 3.0 – which is available now – and the ubiquity of SATA," said Mladen Luksic, SATA-IO president. "We expect the SATA Express specification to be completed by the end of 2011."
As for SATA μSSD, this new keyboard-challenged specification defines a new electrical pin-out that allows SATA to be delivered using a single ball grid array (BGA) package. As defined by the SATA-IO, the BGA package sits directly on the motherboard, supporting the SATA interface without a connecting module. By eliminating the connector, the μSSD standard enables the physically smallest SATA implementation to date, making it an ideal solution for embedding storage in small form factor devices like tablets and other small computing devices.
"The SATA μSSD standard is a significant industry achievement that brings high-performance SSD storage in a BGA form factor," said Kevin Conley, senior vice president, client storage solutions, SanDisk. "This is enabling OEM designs of new super-thin Ultrabooks and tablets with high SATA performance."
Tuesday during the Flash Memory Summit taking place in Santa Clara, Sandisk revealed that it already integrated the new specification into its postage stamp-sized line of iSSD chips.
"The BGA package sits directly on the motherboard, allowing for form factors as small as 16mm x 20mm x 1.2mm (up to 32 GB)/1.4mm (for 64 GB) and 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm (for 128 GB)," the company during the show. "The SanDisk iSSD i100 SSD is available in 8 GB to 128 GB capacities, offering OEMs a flexible range of storage options."