Enabling Higher Speed Storage Applications with SATA Express
SATA Express is a new specification under development by SATA-IO that combines SATA software infrastructure with thePCI Express® (PCIe®) interface to deliver high-speed storage solutions. SATA express enables the development of new devices that utilize the PCIe interface and maintain compatibility with existing SATA applications. The technology will provide a cost-effective means to increase device interface speeds to 8Gb/s and 16Gb/s.
Solid state (SSDs) and hybrid drives are already pushing the limits of existing storage interfaces. SATA Express will provide a low-cost solution to fully utilize the performance of these devices. Storage devices not requiring the speed of SATA Express will continue to be served by existing SATA technology. The specification will define new device and motherboard connectors that will support both new SATA Express and current SATA devices.
SATA-IO expects the SATA Express specification to be completed by the end of the year.
Breaking the SATA Barrier: SATA Express and SFF-8639 Connectors
Pretty much all high-end client SSDs have no issues saturating the current 6Gbps SATA interface. We've talked about a move to PCIe based SSDs but these are the connectors that will do it.
On the right you have SATA Express, which will deliver up to 1GB/s on PCIe 2.0 and up to 2GB/s over PCIe 3.0. On the left there's the eventual landing place: the SFF-8639 connector, good for PCIe x4 with speeds of up to 4GB/s (PCIe 3.0).
Most client machines will likely use the new NGFF card form factor, but for huge capacities and performance (e.g. servers in the enterprise) we'll see a move from SATA to SATA Express to the SFF-8639 connector over the next few years.