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Intel releases AHCI 0.95 to advance Serial ATA

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Intel has released the latest version of the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) specification, a move the company hopes will drive the development of more advanced Serial ATA device controllers.

The specification, version 0.95, puts in place the details discrete host controller designers need to ship AHCI Serial ATA parts by the end of year, Intel claimed today.

AHCI allows system software to query Serial ATA controllers to find out whether they support advanced features, including command queuing, hot swap and power management - all through a standard interface. It then allows the system to make use of those facilities if they are available.

The 1.0 version of the AHCI spec. is expected early next year, but 0.95 should be sufficiently close to allow vendors to begin work on products safe in the knowledge that only minor tweaks will be necessary to ensure conformation with the final spec. AHCI is expected to be incorporated into motherboard chipsets during 2004. Support for the spec. will be included in the next version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn.

That, in turn, should speed the adoption of Serial ATA and of Serial ATA II, which extends the Serial ATA spec. with server and networked-storage specific features, and paves the way for higher data speeds.

AHCI was developed by representatives from AMD, Dell, Marvell, Maxtor, Microsoft, Red Hat, Seagate and StorageGear, and chaired by Intel. ®

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