The 3M company has introduced a serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) connector family that is said to provide smaller, faster and more reliable solutions for storage interface than do parallel ATA connectors. The 3M SATA connectors were designed with a 0.050-in., in-line contact pitch so that they mate with standard 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard disk drives (HDDs).

In the signal sector, SATA connectors have been configured in a seven-contact format. These connectors rely on two differential pairs (four contacts) that are interdigitated, and are thereby isolated by three ground contacts (G-SS-G-SS-G). The two SS pairs serve as transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx) contacts, while the three grounds also function as the EMLB contacts, thereby making the 3M SATA connectors hot pluggable.

The 3M SATA signal plugs are available in a seven-position stand-alone configuration or in combination with power pins. The seven-position signal plugs are available in a variety of configurations and PCB attachments to enhance ease of access when interfacing the host board--typically a PCI card, RAID controller or SATA port multiplier--with an HDD device.

The second interface recognized in the SATA connector family is the power segment: It comprises 15 contacts that accommodate three primary voltage ranges--3.3 V, 5 V and 12 V. Each voltage is allocated three standard contacts.

SATA was developed by a working group (SATA International Organization) comprising APT Technologies, Dell Computer, Intel Corporation, Maxtor Corporation and Seagate Technology. They developed a 10-year roadmap for SATA that offers attractive price/performance capabilities, making it a viable alternative to existing technologies in the server and network storage markets.