Seagate Doubles Hard Drive Speed Limits with New 6 Gb/s SATA

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Though few hard drives on the market can even come close to the current 3 Gb/s speed limit on the Serial ATA (SATA) standard, Seagate and AMD are marching forward with a new standard that’s purportedly twice as fast. Both companies demonstrated drives that used the new 6 GB/s standard at a conference on Monday in New Orleans.

Normally, drive hardware acts as the biggest limitation on speed, with the SATA standard acting only a theoretical limit on peak transfer rates. But according to Seagate, the new standard comes just as some manufacturers have managed to begin bumping against the speed limit on the old 3 Gb/s standard, especially ultra-fast SSDs.

“Flash will take advantage [of the new interface], in applicable markets, sooner than you think,” Seagate’s senior marketing I/O development manager Marc Noblitt told ExtremeTech.

Seagate hasn’t yet announced any products that will use 6 Gb/s transfer rates, but said in a press release that drives will be shipping by late 2009, with AMD producing the motherboard chips necessary to take advantage of them.