The future of Serial ATA: SATA Express, NGFF and NVM Express

SATA Express, NGFF and NVM Express make SSDs faster and smaller

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Introduction

For the latest generation SSDs the Serial ATA 600 bus has become a true bottleneck. Not to worry, a faster solution is in the works. The organization responsible for the SATA standard is getting ready for the future of computers in a number of different ways. Today we will take a closer look at SATA Express, NGFF and NVM Express.

State of the art SSDs can nowadays easily reach the maximum transfer rate of the SATA 600 interface. As the name suggests, the theoretical max transfer rate is 600 MB/s, but in practice it's around 550 MB/s that's possible. Many SSDs approach that number even for writing by now. An additional factor is the software-based control of SATA devices, the so-called AHCI (Advance Host Controller Interface) standard. It's not very well-suited for sending multiple tasks simultaneously, while SSDs are very adept at just that. So the Serial ATA 600 bus is really the limiting factor here. If manufacturers want to make faster SSDs, we'll soon need a new interface. 


SSDs are hitting the limits of SATA600, we we shouldn't hold our breath for SATA1200.


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