SSDs likely to help 6.0Gbps SATA3 to reach speed potential

by admin March 10, 2009 at 8:14 am

Typical hard drive standard improvements have brought limited performance gains at best, but the new SATA3 standard AMD and Seagate have demonstrated could change that thanks to the advent of SSD technology. SATA3 compatibility on your next motherboard purchase might be more important than in the past.

AMD and Seagate have jointly demonstrated the first SATA3 hard drive in public, and are promising compatible chipsets and shipping hard drives by the end of 2009. SATA3 will maintain full compatibility with SATA and SATA2—all current motherboards and drive cables should flawlessly support SATA3 drives, though you’ll need a SATA3-compatible chipset in order to take advantage of the new standard’s 6Gbps throughput.

In the past, the raw throughput gained by moving from one hard drive standard to another has been relatively unimportant. An announcement that theoretical drive bandwidth had doubled from 1.5Gbps (SATA) to 3Gbps (SATA2) makes for great copy, but anyone familiar with the mechanics of a hard drive knows that standard HDD throughput typically couldn’t saturate SATA, much less SATA2. The real benefit of new drive standards has typically come from those features that take second billing—thinner cables, smaller connectors, hot swappability, Native Command Queuing (NCQ), and improved power management.

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