Serial ATA


Let MindShare Bring "Hands-On Serial ATA 3.2 & AHCI Overview" to Life for You

MindShare brings the SATA course to life through its interactive classroom style, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises. This course covers the SATA 3.2 specification from a hardware design perspective and also discusses the software requirements of SATA implementations (Includes SATA Express and M.2). The Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) is also described along with its numerous registers.

MindShare Courses On Serial ATA (SATA):

Course Name

Virtual Classroom

Hands-On Serial ATA (SATA) 3.2 & AHCI
3 days

3 days

Show Me

PIPE 6.0 - PHY Interface for PCI Express and more
1 day

1 day

Show Me
SATA 3.2 and SAS 3.0
4 days

4 days

All of MindShare's classroom and virtual classroom courses can be customized to fit the needs of your group.

Hands-On Serial ATA 3.2 & AHCI Course Info

You Will Learn:

  • The The sequence of events associated with SATA initialization, including Out Of Band (OOB) signaling
  • Detailed operation of a SATA HBA and drive when executing legacy commands
  • How to verify proper command protocol associated with each of the command categories
  • How to verify proper control protocol associated with writes to the Control register
  • How to validate proper FIS (Frame Information Structure) protocol given trace captures from a SATA
  • protocol analyzer
  • The actions taken by each layer in the SATA interface
  • The details associated with the implementation of Port Multipliers
  • The operation and performance advantages of Native Command Queuing (NCQ)
  • SATA Express implementation and features
  • M.2 sockets and modules for SSD applications
  • Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) fundamentals
  • How to use Arbor to view AHCI registers

Course Length: 3 Days

Who Should Attend?

Hardware designers, software developers, and system validation engineers will all benefit from this course. Both hardware and software requirements of a SATA subsystem are detailed and explained through numerous examples and the use of protocol analyzer traces.

Course Outline:

Part I: SATA Overview

  • Evolution of Parallel ATA
  • Motivation for SATA
  • SATA Overview
    • HANDS-ON ARBOR LABScan system and understand Arbor features

Part II: FIS Transmission Protocols

  • FIS Types & Formats
  • Transport & Link Protocol Details
  • FIS Retry (Transport Layer)
  • Data Flow Control
  • Physical Layer Functions
  • Error Detection & Handling

Part III: Command & Control Protocols

  • Device Control Protocols
  • Device Command Protocols
  • Native Command Queuing (NCQ)
  • NCQ Protocols
  • New Commands & Subcommands
  • NCQ Log Addresses
    • HANDS-ON ARBOR LAB: Verify NCQ operation

Part IV: Server Implementations

  • Port Multipliers
  • Port Selectors
  • Enclosure Services

Part V: Physical Layer Details

  • SATA Initialization
  • AFE & Electrical Details
  • Link Power Management
  • Hot Plug
  • Built-In Test (BIST)
  • Cables/Connectors

Part VI SATA Express (SATA-IO) Overview

  • Introduction to SATA Express
  • SATA Express Connectors / Receptacles
  • PCIe Drives/SATA Drives/SATA Legacy Drives
  • Connector Matrix
  • SATA Express Pinouts

Part VII M.2 Sockets & Modules (PCI SIG) Overview

  • Introduction to M.2
  • Socket 2 & Socket 3 for SSDs
  • M.2 Supports SATA/PCIe Speeds
  • Module dimensions
  • M.2 Pinouts

Part VIII: Advanced Host Controller Interface Overview

  • PCIe Configuration of AHCI
    • HANDS-ON ARBOR LAB: Evaluating the AHCI Capability Registers
    • HANDS-ON ARBOR LAB: Evaluating the Port Registers
    • HANDS-ON ARBOR LAB: Evaluating the Memory Structures

Recommended Prerequisites:

A solid understanding of one or more storage bus protocols such as ATA or similar architecture is recommended but not required.

Training Materials:

  1. Downloadable PDF version of the presentation slides.
  2. SATA Storage Technology eBook (or hardcopy on request) by Don Anderson. Publisher: MindShare Press
  3. Optional: License to MindShare Arbor software tool, used for student labs in the class to access AHCI controller registers.
  4. Optional: SATA 3.2 Technology eLearning course
  5. Optional: Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) eLearning course


SATA Storage Technology