Serial ATA International Organization
presented the draft specification of SATA 6 Gbit/s physical layer in July 2008,
and ratified its physical layer specification on August 18, 2008.
The full 3.0 standard was released on May 27, 2009.
While even the fastest conventional hard disk drives can barely saturate the original SATA 1.5 Gbit/s bandwidth, Solid State Disk drives are close to saturating the SATA 3 Gbit/s limit at 250 MB/s net read speed. Ten channels of fast flash can actually reach well over 500 MB/s with new ONFI
drives, so a move from SATA 3 Gbit/s to SATA 6 Gbit/s would benefit the flash read speeds. As for the standard hard disks, the reads from their built-in DRAM cache
will end up faster across the new interface.
The new specification contains the following changes:
- A new Native Command Queuing (NCQ) streaming command to enable isochronous data transfers for bandwidth-hungry audio and video applications.
- An NCQ Management feature that helps optimize performance by enabling host processing and management of outstanding NCQ commands.
- Improved power management capabilities.
- A small Low Insertion Force (LIF) connector for more compact 1.8-inch storage devices.
- A connector designed to accommodate 7 mm optical disk drives for thinner and lighter notebooks.
- Alignment with the INCITS ATA8-ACS standard.
The enhancements are generally aimed at improving quality of service for video streaming
and high priority interrupts. In addition, the standard continues to support distances up to a meter
. The new speeds may require higher power consumption for supporting chips, factors that new process technologies and power management techniques are expected to mitigate. The new specification can use existing SATA cables and connectors, although some OEMs
are expected to upgrade host connectors for the higher speeds.
Also, the new standard is backwards compatible with SATA 3 Gbit/s.
In order to avoid parallels to the common SATA II
misnomer, the SATA-IO has compiled a set of marketing guidelines for the new specification. The specification should be called Serial ATA International Organization: Serial ATA Revision 3.0
, and the technology itself is to be referred to as SATA 6 Gbit/s
. A product using this standard should be called the SATA 6 Gbit/s [product name]
. The terms SATA III
or SATA 3.0
, which are considered to cause confusion among consumers, must not be used.