Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) today announced the ratification of its revision 3.2 specification. The latest specification includes SATA Express, a new specification that enables the coexistence of SATA and PCIe storage devices, as well as enhancements in power management, new SATA form-factors, and optimizations for solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs).
Initially introduced in January 2013, the SATA Express specification enables a client storage ecosystem that allows SATA and PCIe solutions to coexist. A host implemented to this specification will connect to and function with either a SATA or PCIe storage device. PCIe technology enables increased interface speeds of up to 2 GB/s (2 lanes of PCIe 3.0), compared with today's SATA technology at 0.6 GB/s (6 Gb/s). The increased speed of PCIe provides a cost-effective solution for optimizing performance of Solid State Drives (SSDs) and emerging SSHDs. Storage devices not requiring the increased speed of PCIe, such as traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) and optical drives, will continue to be supported by SATA.
SATA revision 3.2 also incorporates the M.2 form factor, enabling small form-factor M.2 SATA SSDs suitable for thin devices such as tablets and notebooks. M.2 (formerly known as NGFF and defined by PCI-SIG) is a small form factor card that supports a variety of applications including WiFi, WWAN, USB, PCIe and SATA.
Additional key features and enhancements of revision 3.2 include:
- microSSD - standard for embedded solid state drives (SSDs) that enables developers to produce single-chip SATA implementations for embedded storage applications.
- Universal Storage Module (USM) - enables removable and expandable storage for consumer electronic devices. SATA revision 3.2 introduces USM Slim, which reduces module thickness, allowing smaller removable storage solutions.
- DevSleep - the lowest yet level of power management where the drive is almost completely shut down, to meet the requirements of new always on, always connected mobile devices such as Ultrabooks.
- Transitional Energy Reporting - provides the host with detailed information about the SATA storage device, facilitating better power management.
- Hybrid Information - provides a mechanism in which the host can communicate data caching information to the drive, improving solid state hybrid drive (SSHD) performance.
- Rebuild Assist - speeds the data reconstruction process in RAID configurations.