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.

Comments closed
    • OneArmedScissor
    • 8 years ago

    So how exactly is this implemented? For example, to automatically power off a DVD drive, do you need a SATA 3.1 drive connected to a SATA 3.1 controller? Or do you just install a driver update for any old SATA 6gbps controller to make it able to do these things with any connected SATA device? This is as clear as mud.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      It’s a press release, so you aren’t going to get the technical details. It’s not supposed to be clear and well-defined. That’s what you (pay to) get the spec for.

    • khands
    • 8 years ago

    They made such a big stink over “oh, it’s not SATA 3! It’s SATA 6gbps!” and now they’re releasing a spec called 3.1… >.>”

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    mSATA = too little, too late. USB 3 and soon LP/TB have taken over the external HDD market.

    Otherwise, it looks like SATA 3.1 is a just an energy-effiicent verson of SATA3.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      mSATA is a PCIe-style edge connector that supports SATA signalling, to enable things like Intel’s Larson Creek and to allow notebooks/tablets to squeeze in a small SSD for cache/boot without using up the HD bay. Unless you think USB 3 and/or Thunderbolt are going to be used for internal connections, there’s little overlap with the external HD market.

        • Krogoth
        • 8 years ago

        Thanks for the clarfication.

        I thought from the news blurb’s description that mSATA was an attempt to make eSATA more viable.

    • bitcat70
    • 8 years ago

    Is SATA pronounced like data?

      • Majiir Paktu
      • 8 years ago

      That depends on how you pronounce data. I’ve heard SATA pronounced like “Data” from Star Trek.

        • bthylafh
        • 8 years ago

        Which is how I pronounce it, and why I do it that way.

        • trackerben
        • 8 years ago

        For consistency you should be pronouncing PATA in the same way, but then you risk sounding like you are cussing the thing

          • bthylafh
          • 8 years ago

          Most of us old timers will say “IDE” instead, though I normally write it PATA now.

        • Hattig
        • 8 years ago

        SATA: Serial ATA -> S Ay Tee Ay, SAYTA (although SATTAH is actually what I say, because I used to say PATTAH for PATA, not PAYTA or PARTA.) SARTA is obviously wrong but I imagine some people use that. It probably comes down to regional accents and common ‘A’ phoneme sound in that accent.

        Data: DAYTA (as in Star Trek). Have heard DATTAH and DARTA though.

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        “SATA” like [b<]Sat[/b<] (as in sat down on a chair) [b<]aah[/b<] (as in "Aah!")

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      SATA or Serial ATA, is how I do it.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      I just say “S-A-T-A”

    • LoneWolf15
    • 8 years ago

    Can we expect Intel’s upcoming 7-Series chipsets to support this?

    • tbone8ty
    • 8 years ago

    would like to see some performance tests 🙂

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    awesome! improved trim! can they make it stop deleting data all the time though?

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      disable TRIM in your OS, but then your SSD will run slower as it fills and reduces it’s life.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        i was referring to intel’s 320 series….

          • bthylafh
          • 8 years ago

          If you have to explain the joke, it probably wasn’t funny.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            no question. seems i over estimated this crowds ability to remember posts from like 2 days ago….

            • dashbarron
            • 8 years ago

            Not really a funny joke but I got the reference from your first post.

            Everyone’s too serious.

        • Waco
        • 8 years ago

        Technically TRIM reduces the life of your SSD as well.

          • guardianl
          • 8 years ago

          No, it doesn’t.

          TRIM erases data preemptively yes, but no matter what, the drive does this before it writes to the flash again.

            • UberGerbil
            • 8 years ago

            You’re right, though technically, TRIM doesn’t erase anything. It just informs the drive firmware that blocks it would otherwise be working to conserve are actually considered deleted by the file system and therefore can be included in the list of free blocks available for future use. The controller will (probably) get around to erasing them eventually, but there’s no requirement it do so. And in fact, since this makes more total blocks available, the net effect is probably to reduce total erases slightly (especially when the drive is close to being full) because there will be less need for shuffling and consolidation of partially-full blocks.

            • Waco
            • 8 years ago

            Hence why I said technically. 😛 I was being facetious. TRIM doesn’t actually erase things though, it just lets the controller know where the “deleted” blocks within the filesystem are. Depending on the controller implementation that will either do nothing (until the next write needs space) or it will trigger a “defragmentation” of the free space on the drive…which technically does use up cycles. 🙂

            I should just stop trying to be mildly funny and either shoot straight to the absurd or be completely dry.

            • UberGerbil
            • 8 years ago

            That’s usually best. Teh Intraweb has trouble with subtle.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 8 years ago

        Not necessarily. They all need pretty capable “garbage collection” of their own so they don’t screw up all those RAID arrays in servers that they’re actually meant for.

      • Airmantharp
      • 8 years ago

      Haven’t had that issue with two separate 320 drives that I’ve been using regularly now brother 🙂

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        good, i’m happy to hear that. I’d like to pick one up, but evil wife says no : (

          • Vaughn
          • 8 years ago

          That sucks that your wife controls all your purchasing decisions good luck with that.

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