SATA-IO to Develop mini-SATA Interface Connector Specification

Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO), the consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of serial ATA (SATA[tm]) technology, announced it is developing a specification for a mini-SATA (mSATA[tm]) interface connector. This new low-profile connector will enable more effective SATA integration in small form factor applications. mSATA will support 1.5 Gb/s and 3.0 Gb/s transfer rates.

mSATA leverages the speed and reliability of the popular SATA interface to provide a high-performance, cost-effective storage solution for smaller devices like notebooks and netbooks. The specification maps SATA signals onto an existing small form factor connector, enabling more compact integration in a wide variety of applications for both hard disk (HDD) and solid state drives (SSDs). The mSATA connector allows companies to increase the storage offerings of their products without compromising valuable space.

mSATA is particularly beneficial for manufacturers planning to incorporate small form factor SSDs (approximately the size of a business card) in portable PC devices, where space utilization and cost minimization are key concerns.

“As consumers become more reliant on mobile devices, it makes sense to bring the efficiency and speed of SATA technology to this burgeoning highly portable product segment,” said Knut Grimsrud, SATA-IO president and Intel fellow and director of storage architecture. “Solid-state drives provide a rugged, lightweight and lower power storage solution for these devices, and mSATA is one of the few interfaces that can provide a critical compact connection for these small-form factor SSDs.”

“SATA is already the predominant storage interface used in the hard disk drive (HDD) market,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager for Solid State Drives at IDC. “The mSATA specification extends the low-cost, high-speed benefits to the rapidly growing SSD market, increasing the options for manufacturers to develop small form factor solutions.”

Development of the mSATA specification is being driven by members of the SATA-IO Cable and Connector Working Group, including Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, SanDisk, STEC and Toshiba.

Industry Support for mSATA
“SSD technology can work inside of virtually any form factor, so the new SATA specification should go a long way in encouraging extremely compact SSD storage designs,” said Jim Elliott, vice president, memory marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. “Highly compact Samsung SSDs are perfectly suited as a cost-efficient storage medium for the growing slim notebook marketplace, particularly netbooks.”

“One of the key values SSDs enable is smaller form factors that allow both notebook and netbook computers to be lighter, thinner and more stylish,” said Don Barnetson, Sr. Director of Marketing for SanDisk. “SanDisk is pleased to support the mSATA form factor as part of our leading pSSD product line which will be on display at the SATA-IO booth at the upcoming IDF.”

“Initial adoption of most SATA solid state drives has followed the HDD form factor. Using new mSATA modules enable a smaller, internal module connected to the system board for notebooks, mobile and other embedded storage applications to enable designers greater design flexibility,” said Scott Nelson, VP Memory, Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. “Toshiba is introducing mSATA modules using 32nm NAND in 30 and 62GB densities with read speeds of 180MB/s and write speeds of 50MB/s.”

See mSATA Demonstrations at IDF
Various mSATA devices will be on display in the SATA-IO booth at the upcoming Intel Developer Forum (IDF), September 22-24 in San Francisco, Calif. SATA-IO will also highlight SATA Certified products and demonstrations of the SATA 6Gb/s technology enabled by its recently announced Revision 3.0 specification. Visit booth #425 for more information.

About SATA-IO
Formed in September 2004, the SATA-IO is the International Organization that owns and manages Serial ATA specifications as open industry standards. The organization defines and implements Serial ATA storage specification as the industry’s storage needs evolve. It is dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of the SATA technology by maintaining the specifications, promoting and marketing the benefits of the technology and creating future interface features and specifications that carry storage into the next decade.

mSATA[tm] and SATA[tm] are unregistered trademarks of Serial ATA International Organization.