When we started receiving 12Gbps SAS products in the summer of 2013, we were met with typical products such as the Adaptec ASR-8885 RAID Adapter, the LSI SAS 9300-8e HBA and the HGST SSD800MM SSD. Each of these products delivered excellent performance that far outpaced the 6Gbps versions that they were built on. But, in order to have a full working ecosystem, you need more than just a RAID card and a stack of SSDs. You need cables, backplanes and enclosures. Considering how many 6Gbps SATA/SAS products that are on the market, those things should be easy to find, right? Not so fast. When moving to 12Gbps SAS, cables and backplanes had to be specifically designed to support 12Gbps signaling. Simply changing the connectors on a 6Gbps backplane was not good enough. The T10 SAS 3.0 specification calls for transmit and receive equalization to maintain error free transfers, which is just one of the many changes required in the 3.0 spec. If that sounds even vaguely familiar, you probably know a little bit about PCI Express, specifically the 3.0 specification. PCIe 3.0 was the first serial protocol to implement this adaptive equalization. At a signal integrity level, SAS 3.0 and PCIe 3.0 are very similar. This helps explain why so much effort was put into the design and validation of 12Gbps SAS products, including cables and backplanes."
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