More on SATA Express
Before we dive into testing, let's take a look at some of the finer details surrounding SATA Express and other PCIe based storage platforms. Then we'll test the system provided by ASUS with the ROG RAIDR and a native PCIe SSD - a SanDisk A110.
As mentioned, Intel provides ample PCIe lanes for motherboard makers to incorporate SATA Express today.
Until recently, PCIe based storage meant expensive add-in cards. Native PCIe meant high-dollar products from companies like Fusion-io or controllers from IDT (now owned by PMC Sierra), found in the Micron P320h. Both products intended for enterprise use.
Moving forward, enterprise products move to the new SFF-8639 interface for up to four PCIe lanes in a 2.5" form factor. Consumer products use SATA Express with two PCIe lanes.
Forward Insights predicts a slower adaption for PCIe based storage than we observed with SATA 6Gb/s. A slow economy, mixed with a large base of existing platforms slow progress, but I suspect the reduced cost of PCIe based storage will entice the enthusiast and power user markets.
The electronics for both SATA Express and SF-8639 connectors are identical aside from the extra data paths for SFF-8639.
We did find a picture of a proposed SATA Express connector and it appears the comities are not ready to fully merge consumer and enterprise into one universal connector. The tab in the middle will block SFF-8639 from some SATA Express specific backplanes and cables if this proposed connector is in fact the final design.