Silicon Image Joins the SATA II Party

Just two weeks after Marvell announced the first 3-gigabit per second Serial ATA II host controllers, Silicon Image has unveiled its own SATA II host controller.

Silicon Image’s SiI 3124 is a 64-bit 133 MHz PCI-X to 4-Port Serial ATA controller that will be available in two pin-compatible versions: the SiI 3124-1, which operates at first-generation SATA speeds of 1.5 Gbps per port, and the SiI 3124-2, which operates at SATA speeds of 1.5 Gbps and also
provides support for 3 Gbps signaling.

The Serial ATA working group is in the process of completing the final details of the 3 Gbps specification for second-generation SATA signal speeds, Silicon Image says. The company has been active in the specification’s development and has designed the 3124-2 based on the current version of the spec with enough flexibility to accommodate future changes.

“A controller with native command queuing, enclosure management device support, and port multiplier capabilities is ideal for deploying SATA in server and networked storage segments,” states Knut Grimsrud, Serial ATA working group chairman and Intel senior principal engineer. “Intel is pleased that Silicon Image has integrated these Serial ATA II features into a single controller that provides a comprehensive solution addressing the needs of this important market segment.”

Silicon Image reports the SiI 3124 is compliant with the Serial ATA 1.0 specification and supports all existing SATA II extensions to the Serial ATA 1.0 specification, including native command queuing, enclosure management device support, selectable output strengths for backplanes, hot-plug support, and FIS-based switching with port multipliers. The controller also supports tagged command queuing.

SiI 3124 drivers support Windows, Linux, and Netware operating systems, for both RAID and non-RAID operations. Software RAID 0 (striping), RAID 1 (mirroring), RAID 1+0 (mirrored stripe), and RAID 5 (parity stripe) functions are supported through Silicon Image’s SATARaid software RAID management utility.

Silicon Image claims the SiI 3124 “provides a host of enterprise-class customer benefits that position it ahead of competing enterprise SATA solutions, including proven SATA compliance, best-in-class I/O performance, RAID software integration, and FIS-based switching for port multipliers.”

“The SiI 3124 was designed for high performance,” says Ed Pak, vice president of storage products at Silicon Image. “Our implementation enables customers looking for enterprise-level performance at a more affordable price to achieve that goal using the SiI 3124 with Serial ATA drives. Today, Fibre Channel solutions run at 200 MB/s, SCSI implementations operate at 320 MB/s, and now we have enabled our new SATALink Serial ATA product to run at 300 MB/s.”

The SiI 3124-1 and SiI 3124-2 are now sampling and are expected to begin shipping in the fourth quarter. The SiI 3124-1 is priced at $22 and the SiI 3124-2 is priced at $28 in quantities of 10,000.

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Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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