AMD and Seagate announced they'll be showing off the next-generation 6 Gbit/s SATA interface at an event in New Orleans. SATA III will offer a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 750MB/s, double as much as SATA II's 375MB/s. The new SATA spec may seem unnecessarily at the moment, but Seagate claims flash-based drives will take advantage of it much sooner than you think.
On a rotating drive, the optimum location for storing data is on the outside tracks, where the throughput is highest as the disk spins. But that data rate will reach 250 Mbytes/s in 2011, saturating the current 3-Gbits/s channel. "You always want to keep the I/O spec in front of the data rate to ensure you don't run up against it," Noblitt said.
Although Seagate was founded on rotating disk-drive technology, OEMs have told Seagate that the 6-Gbit/s interface is needed for flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs) which stream data instantly from flash memory.
"Flash will take advantage [of the new interface], in applicable markets, sooner than you think," Noblitt said. "Six-gig is a perfect interface. OEMs tell us that they want to have the same SATA interface for flash as for a 1.8-inch rotating drive, so they can swap in a drive for flash, or vice versa."