Serial ATA 1.0 spec ready for business

The evolution of computing took another step Wednesday as the final 1.0 specification of Serial ATA was presented at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Jose, Calif.

Serial ATA will eventually replace the current Parallel ATA technology, which links internal storage devices such as hard drives, DVDs, and CD-ROMs to the motherboards of desktop and laptop PCs, servers, and networked storage devices, according to officials for the Serial ATA Working Group.

With scalable performance that starts at 1.5Gbps, Serial ATA is a "drop-in" technology that is said to integrate into current computing architectures easily, while remaining 100 percent compatible with all current operating systems.

Even though older Parallel ATA technology still handles the storage data rates of many computers quite nicely, Serial ATA will provide the headroom for the acceleration of system components over the next decade, Serial ATA Working Group officials said.

Serial ATA will also allow for thinner cabling within computing systems, opening up room for better airflow and cooling. This enables computer makers to design smaller chassis and chip makers to better address the concerns of 5-volt tolerance support in future chip architectures.

Product development using Serial ATA is already underway. The first Serial ATA storage products are expected to hit the market in the first half of 2002, according to Jason Ziller, Serial ATA Working Group chairman and Intel technology initiatives manager.

The 1.0 specification is licensed to the industry on a royalty-free basis.

The Serial ATA Working Group is composed of 74 member representatives from a variety of silicon design companies, interconnect manufacturers, and storage vendors. The Serial ATA Promoter Group includes APT Technologies Inc., Dell Computer Corp., Intel Corp., IBM Corp., Maxtor Corp., and Seagate Technology Inc..

Information about the Serial ATA Working Group is available at www.serialata.org.

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