Chip flaw delays Marvell SATA 6Gb/s launch

July 17, 2009 | 14:21

Tags: #lynnfield #pata #sata #sata-3 #sata-60gbs #sata-6gbs

Companies: #marvell

The first products to use the new SATA 6Gb/s standard have been delayed after chip manufacturer Marvell Semiconductor discovered issues with backwards compatibility.

According to ExtremeTech, the company has been forced to delay its 88SE9123 SATA chipset after discovering issues with backwards compatibility – a delay which has reportedly lead to its removal from planned Lynnfield motherboards from both Asus and Gigabyte.

In a statement, a Marvell spokesperson confirmed that “a hardware issue” was indeed responsible for the delays, but reassured customers that this wasn't down to the recently-ratified SATA 6Gb/s standard: rather, the issue is one of backwards compatibility with old parallel ATA (PATA) devices.

Marvell claims that the issue comes from the “legacy PATA functionality, not the SATA” and that customers looking to implement the 88SE9123 chipset won't be left in the dark too long. Stating that a solution has already been identified, Marvell claims that testing with regards to “compatibility and performance” continues and that a 2009 launch is still on the cards.

The news is unlikely to please the Serial ATA International Organisation, which had high hopes for the new standard, claiming that the finalised spec would lead to additional speed “without compromising the quality and performance [consumers] have come to expect.” While the issues is unrelated to the SATA standard itself, the 88SE9123 was considered a flagship product for SATA 6Gb/s – and any delays are likely to cost the standard.

Should companies be looking to ditch the ageing PATA standard in favour of SATA anyway, or do you applaud Marvell for taking the time to get their chipset right before release? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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