SATA Express: understand this new connector that is being used in PCs

SSDs have reached the speed limit of traditional SATA ports, it is now necessary to go beyond

If you are familiar with PCs , have certainly hear of a SATA port connection and PCI Express slots . The first is commonly used for connection of storage devices , including hard drives and SSDs , and optical drives such as CD , DVD and Blu - ray , and the second is often used in connection expansion devices such as video cards , network , sound, among others .

But Express and SATA connection? Have you heard ? This new interface is exactly the union of the two previous standards , ie + SATA PCI Express . The main objective of this system is to leverage the existing integration components to increase the transmission speed of the storage units .

But why and use the PCI Express port instead of simply working in the natural evolution of the SATA port, SATA IV ? Simple: it would consume too much time and would require many changes in the pattern, resulting in a connector that would consume a lot of energy and would have a maximum speed of 1.2 GB per second ( SATA1200 ) .

Moreover , PCI Express is already widely used and offers a transmission speed of up to 1 GB per second ( per lane ) in its version 3.0. Because the architecture allows grouping cues to improve performance , it is relatively easy to increase data bandwidth of PCI Express . In the case of SATA Express you can group up to two channels , which results in a nominal transmission of 2 GB / s bidirectionally .

But , and that the need for such speed ? If on one hand the traditional HDDs and SSDs input still not enjoying 100 % of the transfer of the SATA III bandwidth , SSDs are already reaching the limit which, in theory , is 600 MB / s , but in practice is at around 550 MB / s . This bottleneck is already limiting the performance of some systems and forcing some users to invest in PCI Express storage systems .

PCI Express storage system

Use the PCI Express port to connect storage drives is not exactly new . For some time there has SSDs plates , which are connected to the PCI Express slot .

This type of equipment has a good performance, but requires installing an expansion card in the cabinet, something that is not always possible, sometimes by physical space or simply the lack of a free PCI Express port on the motherboard.

Old, new connector interface

Although the SATA Express seem like a new connection, it is not exactly new. As mentioned earlier, the architecture used will be PCI Express already exists. However, the connector must be different, as if it was a mixture of the two interfaces. The advantage is that it is backward compatible, meaning it can be used for connecting traditional SATA devices for new equipment as well.

Express SATA connector comprises two more traditional SATA ports and a 4-pin connector. It is possible to connect a cable that leads to a storage unit or two SATA Express traditional SATA drives.

The SATA Express should also reach the server market, however, the connection interface should be somewhat different from that presented in traditional desktops.
Laptops, Notebooks and ultrabooks

A new connector solves the problems of desktops, but what about laptops? Most of this equipment is so compact nowadays that the only peripheral that they use are the mSATA SSDs, as these devices are approximately 50 x 30 x 4 mm. Their advantage is size, but they are also subject to the bandwidth of the SATA interface, ie, 600 MB / s

To resolve this problem , a new type of connector is also being developed . This new connector should follow the same parameters as its desktop counterpart , with the advantage of being extremely compact . This door has the facility to be compatible with both SSDs and with PCI Express expansion cards such as WiFi driver , for example.
When it hits the market ?

Several manufacturers are already working on developing motherboards with the new communication interface , and ASUS is one of them . The company has shown some cards with the interface during CES 2014 , but showed no release date .

However , it is possible that these devices begin to reach the market as soon as devices (read SSDs ) start appearing . And it should not take , since the high-performance SSDs have reached the limit of traditional SATA ports and need more space to continue growing.