The organisation in charge of the Serial ATA standard, the SATA-IO, has just announced that it is currently working on a new standard, SATA Express. As part of the future Serial ATA 3.2 standard, which should be finalised between now and the end of the year, this standard aims to combine the PCI-Express 3.0 interface with the Serial ATA software infrastructure.
In terms of speeds, cables using 1 or 2 PCI Express 3.0 links will give 8 and 16 Gb/s compared to 6 Gb/s at best for Serial ATA. Better still, as PCI-Express 3.0 uses 128/130b encoding in place of 8/10b encoding, in practice we’ll be going from 600 MB/s to 1 GB/s or even 2 GB/s.
As presented, the SATA Express motherboard connector would be able to link up to one SATA Express (x1 or x2) peripheral or two Serial ATA peripherals, with versions that are only compatible with SATA Express peripherals also being studied.
With the fastest SSDs already having reached the limits of SATA 6 Gb/s, the announcement of the development of a new interface was expected. The use of the PCI-Express interface, which is reminiscent of OCZ’s HSDL initiative
, is a surprise but using what is an already existing technology should simplify the development of SATA Express. It remains to be seen when it will arrive in our machines!