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Non-storage peripherals over SATA

Like they do with those SDIO cards.
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On many lower end recent motherboards that lack PCI Express slots, SATA ports can be the only unused connection fast enough to support high bandwidth I/O devices such as USB 3.0 adapters or gigabit ethernet without bottlenecking.

Enter adapters for SATA to USB 3.0, SATA to multiple GbE ports, SATA to PCI Express @ 4Gb/s, etc., and all sorts of 'impossible' upgrades become possible. Power would come from a spare HDD power cable.

To low-level systems of the computer, the adapter might appear to be an ordinary SATA storage device so as to avoid any fussy business with the BIOS. Not being a programmer I have no real idea of the specifics of that. Apologies if this exists already, this is my first try at this.

Dan Fakeman, Nov 18 2010

Gigabyte GA-D525TUD motherboard http://www.gigabyte...ge.aspx?pid=3549#ov
Current motherboard lacking PCI Express [Dan Fakeman, Nov 19 2010]


       hmm toughie. SATA expects block-storage addressable media whereas GbE is streaming though you might be able to squeeze around it.   

       //On many lower end recent motherboards that lack PCI Express slots//   

       got a link for one ? I'm curious.
FlyingToaster, Nov 19 2010

       Back in the day, SCSI was used mainly for storage devices but also supported peripherals such as scanners. Like SATA, it had internal and external versions. A new revision of the SATA command set could be made to support peripherals. Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is implemented as an extension of SATA (SATA devices can be used on SAS, but not the other way around), probably new SCSI peripherals for SAS could be made if driver support were added.
Spacecoyote, Nov 19 2010

       how about external video graphic cards? for laptops?
mofosyne, Nov 19 2010

       <A new revision of the SATA command set could be made to support peripherals.>   

       You seem to know a fair amount about this. Would it be correct to assume that such changes to the command set might not be possible with existing SATA controllers?   

       What I was picturing was that commands might be passed to the device disguised as blocks written to the "disk" the SATA controller thinks it's talking to. Or something along those lines. Data pushed from the device end might be difficult to get the mobo to accept as 'normal' storage device behaviour though, which could be a deal breaker for that strategy.
Dan Fakeman, Nov 19 2010

       It should be possible to make it work; how well it will work is another matter. I've found an old article suggesting that non-storage peripherals would be made for SAS but apparently nothing came of it.
Spacecoyote, Nov 19 2010

       <how about external video graphic cards? for laptops?>   

       Do many laptops have a spare SATA connection though? Mini PCI-E to PCI-E adapters do exist for similar purposes but they seem to be very expensive for what they do (near US$100 if I recall). I guess it's because they figure the potential market is so small for such upgrades that they might as well jack up the price per unit.   

       I suspect that the same thing might be true if a real company produced the SATA to X adapters as suggested. For the purpose I suggested, a $100 adapter doesn't look too appealing to the person trying to keep a low-end computer current.   

       I recently learned also of Intel's Light Peak optical 10 Gbps standard, intended to replace many current cable types including those used for SATA and USB 3.0. In the meantime though there may be a limited niche for the adapters suggested.
Dan Fakeman, Nov 19 2010


       Anacronym overload.

       I don't think a PCI-E to SATA adapter would be feasible due to latency issues.
Spacecoyote, Nov 20 2010

       I like this in principle, but it's the way things tend to go anyway, in general - ports that have one or few uses tend to become more versatile or become obsolete and be replaced by something that _is_ versatile.   

       Example: - PS/2: replaced by USB   

       Counterexample: - PS/2 (single purpose): substituted for RS-232 (multiporpoise).   

       It seems silly that yet another single-purpose port (SATA) was introduced, when there were existing ports, such as SCSI and ethernet, whose speed well exceeded the transfer speeds of hard disks.   

       I hope my grammar is clear. A substituted for B can be substituted for B replaced by A, but in general, replaced by is not replaced by substituted for, nor is substituted for substituted for replaced by. Her sinuses were rather blocked. And she doesn't like being called gran.
spidermother, Nov 20 2010

       You might think its just silliness, but there is usually a good reason. For instance, RS232 isn't well suited for mice (no power supply without resorting to kludges, and even with power kludge cannot power an optical mouse; it was used only because it was the most readily available interface at the time) And Ethernet isn't well suited to storage devices (too much overhead, added hardware expense per drive.) Generally, hardware engineers know what they're doing.
Spacecoyote, Nov 20 2010

       Aside: A firewire connector is similar to a USB connector except that is is notched and therefore cannot be inserted the wrong way. USB could have easily been made this way, but the implementers cared more about cost than user friendliness in this case: rectangular connectors are cheaper to make.   

       In a similar vein, what little work I get these days (I'm self-underemployed) usually involves replacing broken power connectors on laptops because the damn manufacturers won't spend $0.50 each on a durable connector for a $800 laptop. Not that I'm complaining about the work ;)
Spacecoyote, Nov 20 2010

       How many bits were left over, and how many times would you need to dismantle the iBook before you had two iBooks?
Ling, Nov 20 2010

       [Ling] I think the Axiom of Choice only applies to computers with Open Source operating systems.
mouseposture, Nov 20 2010


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