Serial ATA Controller Untamed: The Silicon Image 3112

Silicon Image 3112: Less Is More

This controller card is not available in the stores; it is a Silicon Image 'demo model.'

Behind the 3112 label is a Serial ATA controller with two ports. The 144-pin chip measures 20 x 20 mm, conforms to the 1.0 specification, and connects to the PCI bus (Rev. 2.2). Incidentally, Sicilon Image doesn't see itself as a manufacturer of complete controllers, but rather as a supplier of chips to other manufacturers, who either fit them to their motherboards or produce dedicated PCI host adapters.

Silicon Image is about to introduce a revised version. The 3512 will come in a smaller package (14 x 14) and with support for PCI 2.3. ATAPI drives and hot-plugging will also be supported. The latter is an interesting feature, particularly for external devices. However, it may be some time before CD or DVD drives with Serial ATA see the light of day.

A simple block diagram of the Sil3112.

The 3112 only supports two ports. Since S-ATA does not differentiate between Master and Slave, no more than two hard disks can be connected to the 3112.