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Should SATA get updated specs? Example SATA 4.0 @ 36Gbps, 48Gbps or 64Gbps.

Should SATA get updated specs?

  • SATA 4.0 @ 36Gbps.

    Votes: 14 14.4%
  • SATA 4.0 @ 48Gbps.

    Votes: 4 4.1%
  • SATA 4.0 @ 64Gbps.

    Votes: 3 3.1%
  • SATA 4.0 @ 72+Gbps.

    Votes: 8 8.2%
  • I like NVMe but also want an updated SATA spec.

    Votes: 37 38.1%
  • No, I'm happy with NVMe.

    Votes: 36 37.1%
  • Other(Please discuss below).

    Votes: 9 9.3%

  • Total voters
    97
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eidairaman1

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Yes, same, however there are drawbacks. Some throttle from heat, and some motherboards have only 1 slot, or 2. If they could get 6 slots on a motherboard like SATA, then maybe sata would start to vanish???
Yup and introduce more heat to the motherboard.
 
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M.2 drives are indisputably a massive step backwards from the ease of serviceability of 2.5"/3.5" drives. For the latter, to swap a drive you unplug two cables from the existing drive, plug those same two cables into the new drive, and bob's your auntie. Whereas with M.2 you need to get to the motherboard (which is typically on its side in a case) and possibly remove expansion card(s) to access the M.2 slot and drive; you need to unscrew that tiny fiddly screw (make sure not to strip it or lose it!); you need to be careful that you don't slip and smash, or drop, the screwdriver into the motherboard; and you need to be careful that you don't drop or smash the tiny, light, fiddly M.2 drive.

The other advantage of 2.5" drives that I haven't seen mentioned is their superior heat dissipation properties compared to M.2 drives. The latest PCIe 4.0 M.2 controllers are approaching power consumption of 10W and I reckon that PCIe 5.0 controllers will breach that threshold, which exceeds what an entire motherboard chipset draws in some cases. Attempting to cool that on the motherboard, which is already a relatively hot and airflow-less area, is not a good idea - M.2 heatsinks are available but area also a kludge that cause more compatibility issues with Z-heights. We're even starting to see motherboards that are designed around M.2 slots and cooling them, which is just silly to me; the way to deal with heat-producing components is to move them away from each other and put them in containers that are able to absorb and dissipate that heat well, and that's exactly what 2.5" enclosures do.

So, what's really needed is a replacement for SATA, not an update to the standard. U.2 failed on the desktop precisely because it was built on top of SATA Express, using the large and clunky SFF-8639 connector, which made the drives, cables and connectors unreasonably complex and therefore expensive. What U.2 should have done was dump anything SATA and instead be a simple 4-lane PCIe connector on the motherboard, connecting to a simple 4-lane PCIe cable, that connects to a simple 4-lane PCIe connector on a 2.5" drive, all talking NVMe. Essentially, an M.2 slot designed for use with a cable as opposed to direct motherboard connection.

And we already have a working connector and cable standard that exposes and uses four PCIe lanes, while providing up to 15W of power over a 0.8m passive (therefore cheaper) cable: Thunderbolt 3. With some redesign to eliminate the unnecessary DisplayPort support, harden against the frequency emissions inside a computer chassis, and make the connectors physically dissimilar to USB-C, I don't see any reason why a TB3 derivative ("TB3 NVMe") can't be the true successor to SATA on the desktop.

The only downside of course, is that you now have 3 data connectors (SATA, M.2, and now TB3 NVMe). But I think you'd very quickly see TB3 NVMe become the dominant standard over all three because it makes drive swaps simple again; SATA would fall away because the SSD manufacturers would abandon it in favour of TB3 NVMe for 2.5" drives, making HDD manufacturers the only SATA users; and you'd see far fewer M.2 slots because TB3 NVMe allows you to have the performance of M.2 NVMe with the installation simplicity of a 2.5" drive.

Honestly, this could lead to a different form-factor for drives too. Instead of the tiny M.2 or the huge 2.5" form factors, why not one in between that is essentially a combination cooling and protective enclosure for an M.2 drive? Kinda like those external SSD-to-USB adapters that you can buy, except a little larger (1.25") so you can fit two of them in the space a current 2.5" drive goes. That would satisfy both those who like M.2 because it's small and those who like SATA because it's simple, and would neatly overcome the heat dissipation problem of high-end SSDs.
This is an interesting idea, though to me it doesn't seem like you've quite thought it through in terms of its implications. Specifically: controllers, efficiency, and complexity.

I mean, on the one hand you argue that u.2 has failed to gain any consumer adoption because it's "sing the large and clunky SFF-8639 connector, which made the drives, cables and connectors unreasonably complex and therefore expensive", while on the other you argue for basing local storage on a signalling standard that requires not one but two new controllers (TB host and TB device) for every device, and that is overly complex in how it takes a PCIe signal (+ more), translates it into a different signal, then translates it back at the other end. While this is highly useful for TB's intended use - docks, monitors, and external single-port expansion - it will be far more costly than any u.2 product. And, of course, this would drive motherboard costs through the roof due to the need to add 4+ internal TB controllers. That's easily another $40 in BOM cost, before taking into account how it would affect motherboard layouts and production.

The connector that you argue made u.2 expensive is, after all, just two different physical interfaces for native PCIe. There is no possible world in which it is cheaper to take that PCIe signal, convert it, convert it back, and then connect a storage controller, than to just run a decent quality PCIe riser cable. An u.2 cable kit with an m.2-to-u.2 adapter board can be had for ~$35. The price premium for literally any TB3 product over comparable non-TB products tends to be closer to $100 - and that's just for one side of the equation. TB3 also has extremely short maximum cable lengths for passive cabling, which will only be shorter inside of a case due to increased noise. And nobody wants active cabling for their storage. Plus, of course, even passive external TB3 cables are expensive. Internal ones would be worse.

I think there's a far superior alternative to what you're suggesting here, that already exists: OCuLink. OCuLink transmits native PCIe x4 or 4x SATA through a single cable, has a small, user-friendly port, can be either copper or optical for longer runs/higher speeds, requires no additional chips for the copper variants, and can be broken out into whatever device-side PCIe-based connector you might want - OCuLink, PCIe, SFF-8639, whatever. It would be entirely possible to implement native OCuLink SSDs in a 2.5"-ish form factor.

Oh, and one challenge with your proposed 1.25" form factor: power delivery. That's too narrow to reasonably fit a OCuLink or USB-C cable alongside a SATA power connector, so you'd either need a new power connector, in-line power injection in the data cables, or power transmitted from the board. Definitely something that could be overcome, but it's an additional challenge.

Cooling ever more power hungry SSD controllers in the m.2 form factor is definitely a challenge, though IMO part of the solution has to be to stop the ridiculous race towards these horrendously inefficient designs that just look good in benchmarks. But beyond that, moving m.2 slots onto some sort of riser card is a simple and functional solution for this - and widely supported, though of course not universally. We need more platform PCIe lanes, and crucially more native bifurcation support, but that can be done in far simpler and cheaper ways than internal TB3 SSDs.
 
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Hi,
Well you'd never know it from the majority of non disk benchmarks
Most don't care what type of ssd one uses and I've compared os installed on m.2 to sata 3dmark/.....
Not one showed any difference in favor of the rated speed of an m.2 verses as you say "insufficient" sata ssd speed

The only benchmarks that m.2's make a difference on is passmark/ pcmark.../ crystal disk mark and others like them

Fact is not many people transfer large or small blocks of data disk to disk/.. where an m.2 speed would make a real noticeable difference in using a m.2 or likely even a U.2 ssd
So until the prices of these overrated use ssd's come down a lot it's niche use products.

People overstating the importance of m.2's speed is just being misleading.
If SATA is then equivalent to NVMe in real-world use cases, why update SATA?
 
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If SATA is then equivalent to NVMe in real-world use cases, why update SATA?
Hi,
I didn't ask the question you'd have to ask Lex

I'm fine with sata as is but since there was an option to update sata spec's I said sure why not instead of I'm okay with nvme as is which I'm not.
I'm okay with the m.2 speed but cost is only now coming down but speeds are at the cost of m.2 hot spots for very little personal gain in my use case anyway.

So not worth it for myself otherwise I would fill all my m.2 slots and buy pci-e m.2 cards and fill them to.
 
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@Assimilator that's why SFF-8613 and SFF-8087 were developed, to provide a better, smaller connectors.
 
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What?
I admit I haven't read the whole thread - only a few posts above the first of yours I replied to - but it's a valid point...
If SATA can be pushed beyond 6 Gbps, why did SAS feel the need to switch connectors for 12 Gbps.
 
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Honestly...
The two used the same cable. :banghead:
Oh?
Connectors_SAS_SATA_3.jpg
Yes, because THOSE are the same...

We are talking about SATA, not SAS.

This:
SATA_Signal_Cable.jpg

Not this:
SAS Cable.jpg


Do you need more clarification or are you done?
 
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Oh?
View attachment 248284
Yes, because THOSE are the same...

We are talking about SATA, not SAS.

This:
View attachment 248287

Not this:
View attachment 248286

Do you need more clarification or are you done?
You still haven't provided anything to support your stance of the stock SATA cabling supporting many multiples of SATA 3's transfer speeds beyond repeated claims that they can. Which ... well, are unconvincing as you insist on framing them as self-evident truths with no need for supporting evidence. SAS abandoning the SATA connector and cabling spec and instead moving to PCIe is, on the other hand, a strong indication of this cabling not handling that. Because while the connector is indeed slightly different (though still somewhat cross-compatible), they use the same wiring. Heck, the wires in that pic you posted are identical to the wiring on my NAS's HBA SATA cables. So, again: if like you claim this wiring could easily support a 2-3-4x increase in throughput, why has the industry moved on to other standards?
 
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You still haven't provided anything to support your stance of the stock SATA cabling supporting many multiples of SATA 3's transfer speeds beyond repeated claims that they can.
You're right about that. And I'm not going to provide anything other than what I already have. Either you glossed over it or you failed to comprehend what was being said. Either way, that's on you.
Which ... well, are unconvincing as you insist on framing them as self-evident truths with no need for supporting evidence.
Hmmm...
SAS abandoning the SATA connector and cabling spec and instead moving to PCIe is, on the other hand, a strong indication of this cabling not handling that.
If you say so...
So, again: if like you claim this wiring could easily support a 2-3-4x increase in throughput, why has the industry moved on to other standards?
I've already explained this. Other forum users have been following along and understand perfectly what I've been saying...
 
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Oh?
View attachment 248284
Yes, because THOSE are the same...

We are talking about SATA, not SAS.

This:
View attachment 248287

Not this:
View attachment 248286

Do you need more clarification or are you done?
So now you're comparing SATA 6bps with SAS 24Gbps?
Also, I don't know where I said the connector was identical, I said the same cable, i.e. the data cable, as almost all SAS controllers can have a single SFF-8613 connector like the one you posted, broken out to for SATA ports. Alternatively you can go SFF-8087 to SATA. Most SAS backplanes also accepts SATA drives, but not the other way around.

I suggest you read the link below. In case you're too lazy to click on it, here's what really matters.
"As already noted, single SAS internal cables are virtually identical to SATA. The difference is that they can be longer."
 
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Shoutout to @Valantar, @TheLostSwede, and @Aquinus for their incredible patience and thoughtfulness in this thread. I’d be trolling at this point :love:

It's really quite fascinating to see you present a question and a view on that subject, have a number of people argue against your stance, and for you to then entirely refuse to engage with those points of view. Did you create this thread just to have your opinions validated? Were you not actually interested in discussing this?
This sums up a lot of OP’s interventions
 
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You're right about that. And I'm not going to provide anything other than what I already have. Either you glossed over it or you failed to comprehend what was being said. Either way, that's on you.
Sorry, but ... you haven't said anything of any substance regarding to this. This isn't every post, but the most relevant ones, and:


No, it just means the research wasn't done. If 40Gbps can be done over USB through that connector and cabling, 36Gbps can be done over SATA with the same or enhanced connector that is still compatible.
Anything that can be transmitted over circuit pathways on a motherboard can also be transmitted over a properly built cable. Example? HDMI and DisplayPort.
The SATA connector could be fitted with more connectors like they did with USB and still remain backward compatible.
However, 24 or 36Gbps is easily doable
There is nothing, anywhere, that proves the SATA protocol can not be pushed to high speeds and bandwidth. Just like USB, DisplayPort and HDMI, the existing connectors and cabling can but pushed to higher performance with the proper engineering.
Physics says otherwise. Proof you ask? I give you DisplayPort and HDMI as examples.
The SATA cable conductors are physically capable of up to 52Gbps per pair of data lines and SATA has two sets in a single cable. The problem is NOT the physics of the conductors. It's that it was simply never done.
So, you've:
- Said "If USB can do it, SATA can too!"
- Compared SATA to DP and HDMI
- Proposed expanded/revised connectors
- Presented numbers seemingly from thin air
- Made more USB, DP and HDMI comparisons
- And more
- And again presented numbers seemingly from thin air, with absolutely nothing to back them up.

So: where are you getting that 52Gbps/pair number from? Under what conditions? At what cable lengths, thicknesses, and with what shielding? At what rates of signal degradation and data loss? Within acceptable RF noise specs? Can you show a single real-world, non-lab example of those types of data rates over SATA-relevant cable lengths?

And, as has been pointed out previously, your comparisons to USB, DP and HDMI are mostly invalid - not only are external wires subject to a lot less RF noise than internal ones, but they have all had to make changes in various ways. And, crucially, all three are running headfirst into strong cable length limitations for passive cabling. And those cables are getting expensive too.

Beyond that, you seem to be ignoring that SATA has been pushed, just like USB, DP and HDMI, to 4x the original spec's speed. And there's evidence that it can support another doubling - but given that it has been supplanted by NVMe for flash storage, and HDDs don't even saturate SATA2 speeds, there's no justification for the added expense of developing such a standard.

I've already explained this. Other forum users have been following along and understand perfectly what I've been saying...
But that's the thing: you haven't explained anything. The quotes above aren't explanations, they are statements, making claims. The closest you get to any type of explanation are unsubstantiated, hand-wavy comparisons to other standards with varying applicability. And, even if your seemingly pulled-from-thin-air numbers were even remotely realistic, you seem entirely insistent on ignoring crucial elements of such a spec update such as real-world use cases, cost, energy consumption, competing with existing, entrenched standards, etc. Throughout this thread you've seemed dead set on not actually discussing anything, but rather for some reason taking personally what people say when arguing against the feasibility and/or usefulness of a faster SATA standard. I understand that the question you asked in the poll is rather limited in itself - pretty much a yes/no question - but at the same time, if you're posting a question like that on a technically inclined enthusiast forum, you have to expect discussion around the how and why of various possible responses and their real-world implications.
 
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1653154646626.png

InterfaceSerial ATASerial ATAPCI ExpressPCI Express
Revision2.03.02.03.0
Link Speed3Gbps6Gbps8Gbps (x2)
16Gbps (x4)
16Gbps (x2)
32Gbps (x4)
Effective Data Rate~275MBps~560MBps~780MBps
~1560MBps
~1560MBps
~3120MBps (?)


The data above (slightly edited for clarity, no numbers changed) is taken from Anandtech's review of their first test of SATA Express. Their verdict was, essentially, "Why not simply move to PCIe?"

Review linked below:

https://anandtech.com/show/7843/testing-sata-express-with-asus

The SATA-IO went back to the drawing board and realized that upping the SATA interface to 12Gbps would require several years of development and the cost of such rapid development would end up being very high.
Therefore the SATA-IO had to look elsewhere in order to provide a fast yet cost efficient standard in a timely matter. Due to these restrictions, it was best to look at already existing interfaces, more specifically PCI Express, to speed up the time to the market as well as cut costs. ... PCI Express makes a ton of sense. It's already integrated into all major platforms and thanks to scalability it offers the room for future bandwidth increases when needed. In fact, PCIe is already widely used in the high-end enterprise SSD market because the SATA/SAS interface was never enough to satisfy the enterprise performance needs in the first place.
While testing SATA Express and writing this article, I constantly had one thought in my head: do we really need SATA Express? Everything it provides can be accomplished with existing hardware and standards.


Not sure what else I could add to point out that the only use case for SATA in SSD is for bulk fast storage, which could be achieved from PCIe as simply*, and is out of the reach of the average consumer from a cost perspective.

* M.2 drives in a PCIe card are far more performant than SATA could be, and close in cost. U.2 can be used for when your storage needs outstrip what could be done with M.2, and remains reasonable in cost based on a quick Newegg search.
 

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Seems like we're going in circles at this point. Locked
 
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