The Serial ATA International Organization today, made the third-generation SATA interface official. The new interface provides a 6 Gbps high-speed serial data connection between the system and most of today's data storage devices such as hard drives, solid-state drives, optical drives, and enterprise tape drives. The interface also provides connectivity to external storage devices in its eSATA port variant. It is 100% backwards compatible with devices that support the SATA 150 MB/s and SATA II 300 MB/s standards.
The organization listed some of the standard's key enhancements, as follows:
- 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 7mm optical disk drives for thinner and lighter notebooks
- Alignment with the INCITS ATA8-ACS standard
Hardware manufacturers have already implemented draft versions of the standard in some of their newest storage controllers. As the year progresses, it is hoped that the standard finds its way to storage controller cards and motherboards.