February 2007
Volume 2, Issue 1

In this Issue:

Implementing eSATA Solutions
Product Spotlight on the SATA-IO Home Page
2007 Technical Roadmap
Upcoming Events

Membership Update

These industry leaders are proud new members of SATA-IO:

Amco Tec International Inc.
IntellaSys Corp.


Iriso Electronics Co.
Macpower and Tytech Technology Co., Ltd.
Mad Dog Multimedia
National Technical Systems
Ritek Corporation
ROHM CO., Ltd.
Santa Electronics Inc.
Shenzhen CY-new Electronics Co., Ltd.
Skymedi Corporation
Speed Tech Corp
TDK Corporation
Workbit Corporation

Implementing eSATA Solutions
By Conrad Maxwell, Silicon Image, SATA-IO Marketing Chair

When implementing an eSATA solution, selecting the right connectors and cables are vital to your success! Design problems may occur if the wrong selection is made. The list below highlights some issues to watch for during implementation.

Connector Issues
1)  Preventing electro-static discharge during connector usage (while plugging in or out).

2)  Compliance with electro-magnetic interference limits set by the FCC and CE regulators.

3)  Using a durable connector that can withstand frequent insert/removal cycles.

4)  Connecting the spring on the front edge must be connected to chassis ground.

Cable Issues
1) Interoperable implementation through compliance with SATA mechanical tolerances.

2) Mated impedance with the connector compliance with SATA mechanical tolerances.

3) Cable connector shielding and cable shielding for robust signal characteristics.

4) Test the performance parameters to ensure the cable conductor size is suitable for the length.

Currently the SATA-IO does not validate external SATA cables and connectors. As a result of member feedback, validation of external SATA cables and connectors is being targeted for late 2007. Once this interoperability work is completed, eSATA products will be included on the SATA-IO Integrators List. To ensure your company’s eSATA product successfully passes SATA-IO Interoperability testing, SATA-IO recommends that eSATA cable and connector designers be aware of the potential issues listed above.

For more information on this topic, please review the white paper “How to Select the Right eSATA Connector and Cable” by the SATA-IO Cabcon group and the Interoperability Documentation which outlines SATA and external eSATA testing.  

Product Spotlight on the SATA-IO Home Page

The SATA-IO Web site has a new look! SATA-IO is proud to feature a new membership logo banner on our home page. To make sure your company’s logo is included, please visit the SATA-IO home page. If you would like your company’s logo added to the banner, please provide SATA-IO Administration with the following information:

  • Your company name
  • Your company URL (or URL of your company’s SATA products)
  • Your company logo with the following specifications 120 x 80 pixels (width x height) with a white background color

SATA-IO has also added a product feature section to the home page. To include your product, please provide the following information:

  • Your company name
  • Your product name
  • Your company URL (or URL of your company’s SATA products)
  • Image of your featured product on a white background as a .JPG. Image size must be a maximum of 220x220         

SATA-IO will feature one product per company for a two-week period.

Please send your product feature information to SATA-IO Administration

2007 Technical Roadmap

SATA-IO thanks the members of the technical focus teams for their achievements in 2006! Each group has provided a summary of their 2006 accomplishments and 2007 targets. 

Frank Chu, Hitachi, SATA-IO CabCon Work Group Chair

The CabCon Work Group was formed to develop and sustain specifications containing all the necessary cables and connectors applicable to the Serial ATA applications. During 2006 the CabCon team developed the new mini multi lane SATA cables and connectors for use in internal and external eSATA applications. Additional work was also contributed to the development of the new micro SATA connector for 1.8” HDD application. In 2007 the CabCon team will focus their efforts on the development of the necessary SATA cables and connectors for Gen3 operations.

Brian Dees, Intel, SATA-IO Digital Work Group Chair

The Digital Work Group charter is to develop and sustain specifications containing the underlying architecture of the Serial ATA protocol excluding the definition of physical characteristics (electrical, cable and connector definition). The 2006 calendar year yielded 7 ECNs towards SATA Revision 2.5, several new command/protocol enhancements such as NCQ Priority and NCQ Unload, as well as refinements to the BIST definition to ensure consistent and usable test methods are available to the industry.  For 2007, the group will support development and disposition of any new protocol-based enhancements, in addition to ensuring supplemental or corrective material is provided in support of SATA Revision 2.6.

Jeff Wolford, Hewlett-Packard, SATA-IO Logo Work Group Chair

The Logo Work Group charter is to identify, define and develop tests that validate key interoperability requirements in the Serial ATA specification.  In February 2006, the first Interoperability Workshop (IW) was held, testing internal HDD, ODD and cable products.  A second IW was held in October 2006, where testing for hosts was added. Between the two workshops, 50 products were tested and have resulted in a number of products listed on the SATA-IO Integrators List. To support testing products outside of the workshops, the Logo work group has worked closely with and approved 3 test labs. For 2007, 2 more Interoperability Workshops are planned, including test development of receiver tolerance, Slimline ODD drives and self certification for IW #3 (April 2007).  Possibilities for IW #4 (Fall 2007), if resources are made available, are eSATA, IL-Ready, non-PC hosts.

Chuck Hill, Alta Engineering, SATA-IO Phy Work Group Chair

The SATA-IO Phy Work Group is providing ongoing support of the specification covering Gen1 and Gen2 speeds. The activities include correction of errors, clarification of existing requirements, and completion of requirements to allow practical implementations of product compliance tests. In 2007, work on Gen1 and Gen2 should be completed.

Technical Integration
Amber Huffman, Intel, SATA-IO Technical Integration Work Group Chair

The Technical Integration team's charter is to integrate content developed by the Digital, CabCon, and Phy technical focus teams into the publicly released Serial ATA specification revisions.  In 2006, the Technical Integration team delivered a release candidate for Serial ATA Revision 2.6.  The new specification includes several cable and connector definitions, specifically the Slimline cable and connector, the internal micro SATA connector for 1.8" drives and the mini SATA internal and external Multilane cable and connector.  Some new Digital features were also added, specifically the NCQ priority and unload, and enhancements to the BIST Activate FIS.  Revision 2.6 is expected to be ratified and publicly available by March, 2007.  In 2007, the Technical Integration team looks forward to new developments by the Phy, CabCon and Digital teams and will deliver the next specification revision when a sufficient amount of material is available. 

6G Phy
Dan Smith, Seagate, SATA-IO 6G Phy Work Group Chair

The SATA-IO 6G PHY Work Group was formed on June 27, 2006 from industry ASIC providers and end-users. At its first face to face meeting in Boulder, Colorado in July 2006, valuable discussion led to a review of the 6G charter and formation of preliminary specification goals. Weekly specification meetings through January 2007 have led to changes regarding OOB, jitter, and amplitude that are important to the 6Gbps transmission rate. The next steps will generate requirements for cables and connectors that maintain backward compatibility while ensuring 6Gbps operation. The goal of finalizing the new specification, with 6Gbps technology, is being targeted for the second half of 2007.

For more information on joining any of the SATA-IO technical teams please contact SATA-IO Administration.

Upcoming Events

IDF Beijing: April 17-18, 2007
Come visit the SATA-IO booth at IDF Beijing. SATA-IO will be looking to meet with Asian HDD, ODD, host and cable vendors. If you have a customer who would benefit from meeting with a SATA-IO representative, please contact SATA-IO Administration and we will coordinate a meeting time at IDF Beijing.

Plugfest #8 and Interop Workshop #3: April 30-May 4, 2007
Registration is now open.

Interop Workshop #3  Registration

Plugfest #8 Registration

SATA-IO Industry Forum: April 30, 2007

The SATA-IO invites you to attend an evening dedicated to discussion of SATA technology and review products within the industry. Come hear members from our technical and marketing groups address the industry roadmap, latest features, specifications and Interoperability Program. Provide feedback to SATA-IO task force teams on the features and benefits you think are a customer/member value.

Where: Embassy Suites Milpitas
             901 E. Calaveras Blvd.
             Milpitas, CA 95035

Come network with other SATA-IO members, share your thoughts, enjoy appetizers and drinks!

Registration information coming soon!

Please submit any future article ideas and topics to Conrad Maxwell, SATA-IO Marketing Chair, Silicon Image.

SATA-IO Administration