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Oct 13 2009

SATA thinks small with mSATA

Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the consortium behind serial ATA technology, is developing a new specification that will outline a mini-SATA (mSATA) interface controller. The new connector will enable easy SATA integration in small form factor devices. mSATA will offer the same speed and reliability of today’s SATA interface standards; providing system designers and manufacturers high performance and cost-effective storage solutions for small CE products like notebooks and netbooks.

According to PC World the new specification maps SATA signals onto the current small form factor connector Mini PCI Express. This allows for the seamless integration of storage, primarily solid state drives (SSD), into a variety of netbooks and other small, portable electronic devices.

The Benefits

One compelling benefit of the small mSATA connector is that companies can increase storage offerings of devices without sacrificing physical space, a precious commodity on today’s devices. mSATA will support 1.5 Gb/s and 3 Gb/s data transfer rates.

Technology Adoption
An indication that the technology will see widespread adoption among netbook SSD manufacturers is recent news by storage manufacturer Toshiba introducing a line of mSATA SSDs. The drives are produced using Toshiba’s new 32nm process technology and are available in 30 and 62 GB capacities. Performance was outlined as 180 MBps reading speed with a maximum writing speed of 70 MBps – impressive performance for components designed for low cost PCs.

Testing Timeline
The mSATA connector and products were showcased at Intel Developer Forum in September. No concrete timeline has been given for when the mSATA test specification will be available, but Allion has been testing SATA for many years and looks forward to testing mSATA products.