SATA moves to ditch power cables

The Serial ATA International Organisation (SATA-IO) is working on a new specification to provide power over external SATA devices, without the need for a separate power source, by the second half of this year.

At the moment, eSATA devices - which include external hard disk drives and portable optical drives - need an extra power source. Under the Power Over eSATA initiative, the SATA-IO would see enough power for a single drive sent from directly from the host system using a specially designed cable.

"Enhancing eSATA with power delivery will provide a new level of convenience to the designer and the end user. By eliminating the need for a separate power connection, customers can more easily expand their storage, making Serial ATA an even more attractive solution for mainstream storage applications," said Knut Grimsrud, SATA-IO's president.

The Power Over eSATA cable would remain compatible with existing connector form factors and keep the current maximum transfer rate of three gigabits per second, SATA-IO said.