SATA 3.1 spec brings swap standard, improved TRIM

The Serial ATA International Organization—a.k.a. SATA-IO, the body that oversees the development of the SATA standard—has been busy. Earlier today, the group announced that its SATA 3.1 specification is now available for download. Members can grab the spec for free, while everyone else will have to cough up a "nominal fee" for the privilege.

Highlights of the 3.1 spec include new power-saving measures, TRIM performance improvements for solid-state drives, and miscellaneous tweaks. In the words of the SATA-IO press release...

  • mSATA – SATA for mobile computing devices, now with enhanced auto detection to provide increased interoperability by eliminating the need for a dedicated mSATA connector
  • Zero-Power Optical Disk Drive (ODD) – eliminates the power consumption of an idle SATA ODD, resulting in increased energy savings
  • Required Link Power Management – drives energy efficient power management across all SATA devices, reducing overall system power demand
  • Queued Trim Command – allows SATA SSDs to execute Trim without impacting normal operation, improving SSD performance
  • Hardware Control Features – enable host identification of device capabilities, allowing hosts to make more effective use of SATA devices

Another noteworthy addition is the inclusion of "completed [design] requirements" for SATA Universal Storage Module (USM), a standard for swappable SATA drive modules that can fit into a wide range of devices, from TVs and consoles to PCs and drive docking stations. SATA-IO announced USM in January, and Seagate's GoFlex hard drives already support it. Some other device makers, including Thermaltake with its V9 BlacX Flex Edition enclosure, have also embraced the standard.

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