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Sil 3726 port multiplier from Silicon Image offers unparalleled price performance

SiI(TM) 3726(TM) Serial ATA (SATA) port multiplier is the latest in Silicon Image's SATALink(TM) family of SATA storage IC products. We report on the technical specifications and the unique technology which makes its storage price performance outstanding value...


Date: 9 Jun 2004

The SiI 3726 SATA port multiplier supports the Serial ATA II: Port Multiplier 1.1 specification enabling the connection of multiple SATA drives to a single SATA host port for multiple storage applications. Combined with Silicon Image's advanced SiI 3124-2(TM) PCI-X to SATA II controller, the SiI 3726 is the highest performance SATA port multiplier solution on the market. The unique and sophisticated switching technology inherent to the SiI 3726 enables users to fully exploit the new SATA II signalling speeds of 3Gbps, as well as advanced host controllers that utilise Frame Information Structure (FIS)-based switching, such as the SiI 3124, to create extremely high-performance yet cost-effective storage solutions.
Ideal for a variety of storage applications, including home and consumer electronics storage (digital content and high-definition video), JBOD or RAID storage arrays, and server and workstation storage, the SiI 3726 will also enable the implementation of high-performance external SATA Direct Attached Storage (DAS) systems based on the new external SATA specification -- recently released for review by the SATA Working Group. Silicon Image's industry-proven, robust SATALink PHY technology embedded in the SiI 3726 ensures reliable connections to these next-generation external SATA-attached storage systems.

Unlike port multiplier implementations without advanced aggregation capability, the SiI 3726 doesn't need to downshift its host connection from 3Gbps to 1.5Gbps when connected to 1.5Gbps hard drives. Instead, the advanced switching technology aggregates data to and from 1.5Gbps hard drives for transport at 3Gbps speeds over the host connection. When paired with a high-performance FIS-based switching controller like the SiI 3124, which is capable of executing commands and transferring data to multiple drives concurrently, the SiI 3726 provides unequalled data throughput over a single SATA link.
With the SiI 3726/SiI 3124 combination, Silicon Image has demonstrated read and write performance over a single SATA link in excess of 230MB/s, far exceeding the single link performance of other SATA port multiplier solutions and rivalling the performance of more expensive storage technologies.
Mark Yen at Gigabyte, which is sampling Silicon Image's new port multiplier said "The SiI 3726 uniquely supports the new SATA speeds of 3 Gbps -- this is truly next-generation technology the industry has been waiting for."

The SiI 3726 SATA II-compliant port multiplier connects one SATA host to up to five SATA hard disk drives. Its read/write aggregation technology delivers the highest performance available, effectively utilising the additional bandwidth unleashed by the new 3Gbps SATA II signalling speeds. The SiI 3726 is compliant with the SATA specification for either command-based switching or FIS-based switching host controllers. The SiI 3726 may be connected to command-based switching host controllers for low-cost capacity expansion in less demanding applications, or it may be coupled with a FIS-based switching controller for heavy-workload implementations. In either configuration, the SiI 3726 supports Native Command Queuing or legacy Tagged Command Queuing operations. Other features supported by the SiI 3726 include SEMB (SATA Enclosure Management Bridge), asynchronous notification, independently programmable PHYs for extended backplane or external applications, and hot plug, a standard feature on all Silicon Image SATALink products.

The Silicon image web-site is


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