Intel 9-Series Chipsets to Support SATA Express Interface
[04/16/2013 08:58 PM]
by Anton Shilov
Intel Corp.'s 9-series chipsets, which will emerge in the year 2014, will natively support Serial ATA Express interface for storage devices that is based on PCI Express protocol. The new interconnection addresses high-speed solid-state drives and will be able to offer a significant performance boost for SSDs thanks to significantly increased maximum throughput compared to conventional Serial ATA-6Gb/s interface.
Although Intel yet has to release its 8-series code-named Lynx Point chipsets this summer along with its code-named Haswell microprocessors for desktops, notebooks and servers, the company has already began to promote its future-generation 9-series chipsets among mainboard developers. Chinese VR-Zone web-site, which has published a photo from a presentation of the new chipsets, claims that the forthcoming platform from the chip giant will feature a number of important innovations.
Intel 9-series chipsets, which will include such core-logic sets as Z97 and H97 as well as derivatives, will support SATA Express interface for high-speed storage devices, which will bolster performance of high-end SSDs that are currently limited by SATA-6Gb/s. In addition, the core-logic series will support all-new Intel device protection technology with boot guard, which will enhance platform security against low-level malware attacks.
The SATA Express technology will provide a cost-effective means to increase device interface speeds to 8Gb/s and 16Gb/s. The specification will define new device and motherboard connectors that will support both new SATA Express and current SATA devices. The SATA Express connectors will maintain backwards compatibility with current SATA cables and will allow plugging both existing hard drives as well as future SATA Express PCIe-based devices.
The 9-series chipsets from Intel will support the company’s next-generation code-named Broadwell microprocessors that will be made using 14nm manufacturing technology starting late-2013. In theory, Intel could release both Core i-series 5000-family “Broadwell” central processing units along with 9-series chipsets already in Q1 2014, but keeping in mind Intel’s strategy to make new launches towards the middle of the year, it is more likely to expect the chip giant to unleash its new family of chips in Q2 – Q3 2014.
Even more exciting than Broadwell is "Skylake", the Successor to Broadwell, due out in 2015 ( major performance improvements to cpu ), but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves... just fyi where the new standards are headed:
http://forum.notebookreview.com/hardwar ... e-way.html
Okay, so we all know what "SATA Express" means, a PCI Express based Storage Controller capable of 8 to 16 Gb/s, which is impressive in itself...
So what does this new "PCIe NVME protocol" for "SATA Express" mean for SSD storage devices?? Samsung leads the way here:
http://www.extremetech.com/computing/16 ... e-protocol
Samsung debuts monster 1.6TB SSD with new, high-speed PCIe NVMe protocol
By Joel Hruska on July 19, 2013
Samsung unveiled its new XS175 line of SSDs today, with capacities of up to 1.6TB and a brand-new storage interface. The new drive uses the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) standard, which is meant to boost SSD performance by transitioning to using PCI Express for transfers rather than conventional SATA.
The Serial ATA standard has been extended multiple times since it first debuted in 2003, but it was fundamentally designed for spinning disks. Many of the features that the SATA/AHCI interface enables, like NCQ (Native Command Queuing) were designed to address problems with that type of media — not for modern SSD architectures. (See: Crucial M500: The first 1TB SSD, priced at just $0.60/gig.)
Normally, enterprise products aren’t of much interest to the consumer market, but NVMe is a feature that’s headed for the consumer space before too long. The performance benefits over AHCI are significant — NVMe is designed to allow a drive to create multiple queues, using a model that more closely maps to the multiple NAND channels in an SSD rather than relying on spinning media to access data sequentially. It supports up to 64K submission and completion queues, with each queue holding up to 64K of entries. Queues can be prioritized or weighted differently to speed system accesses.
Samsung is the first company to implement NVMe, and it claims the standard will offer significant performance advantages. While plenty of other SSDs have used the PCIe bus before now, the benefit of NVMe is that it’s a standardized interface that won’t require specific manufacturer drivers in the future. Once widely adopted, you’ll need just a standard driver that can easily be bundled with the operating system.
Those of you who follow the storage market may be aware that the next generation of SATA controllers, dubbed SATA Express, are adopting PCI Express as their interface. SATA Express and NVMe are complementary, not competing technologies. Specifically, SATA Express specifies the design of the physical connectors and hardware, while NVMe provides the driver and interface. According to the consortium that’s in charge of SATA Express, the decision to move to NVMe was made because it offers increased performance and significantly improved power management without requiring a full doubling of bandwidth.
The current SATA transfer rate tops out at 6Gbps, while SATA Express bumps this to 8Gbps. That might not sound like much, but the SATA-IO working group believes that the benefits of NVMe, combined with the modest bump in raw bandwidth, will deliver a satisfying performance kick.
The first SATA Express chipsets are expected in 2014, with Intel’s Broadwell. SATA Express is backwards compatible with AHCI as well as supporting NVMe — there’s no reason to worry about drives becoming incompatible due to the shift.
Wicked!! SATA Express = physical connectors and hw, while NVMe provides the drivers/interface [ protocol ].
This is very exciting news for the SSD industry, and we will get our first taste of it with Intel's Broadwell platform in early 2014... This will become a very popular interface protocol over time, high bandwidth, low power ( excellent power management ), plus increased queue depths ( more important for server-type workloads, but still... ), improved efficiency, and most importantly there will be NATIVE DRIVERS FOR IT IN THE OS!! Beautiful, no more customized drivers required in the future, just a standard driver builtin to the OS ( or available as Windows Update etc. ) for whatever OS you choose...they will all get a standard NVMe driver in the future... plus SATA Express is backwards compatible with AHCI so no compatibility issues should arise... SATA 3.0 is nice but too rooted in the past ( optimized for mechanical disk hard drives, not SSD flash drives ), this is a proper performance protocol designed for SSD drives from the get-go...
NVM Express, NVMe, or Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface Specification (NVMHCI), is a specification for accessing solid-state disks (SSDs) on a PCI Express bus. NVM is an acronym for non-volatile memory, as used in SSDs. Version 1.0 of the specification was released on March 1, 2011.
SSDs have been made using the PCI Express bus before, but using non-standard specification interfaces. By standardizing the interface of the SSDs, operating systems only need one driver to work with all SSDs adhering to the specification. It also means that each SSD manufacturer doesn't have to use resources to design specific interface drivers. This is similar to how hard disks are built to follow the SATA specification and work with all computers, with no per-hard disk driver needed.
Historically, most SSDs have used busses such as SATA, SAS or Fibre Channel. SATA has been the most typical way to connect SSDs in the personal computer, but SATA was designed for mechanical hard disk drives, and has become increasingly inadequate as SSDs have improved. For example, unlike hard disk drives, some SSD are limited by the maximum throughput of SATA.
Operating system support
The "NVMe Windows Working Group" is an initiative from the OpenFabrics Alliance to maintain a new software stack for Windows for use with PCI Express Solid State Devices. The baseline Windows driver being contributed to the open-source initiative was developed by several of the Promoter companies in the NVM Express (NVMe) Workgroup, specifically IDT, Intel, and LSI. This work is hosted here .
Intel has published an NVM Express driver for Linux. It has been merged into the Linux kernel for version 3.3.
The Intel NVM Express driver has been imported to FreeBSD's head and stable/9 branches.