Serial ATA (SATA) and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) are data storage protocol standards that have the primary function of transferring data (directly or otherwise) between the host system and mass storage devices (e.g., hard disk drives, optical drives, and solid-state disks). These serial storage protocols offer several advantages over older parallel storage protocol (ATA and SCSI) interfaces:

  • Faster data transfer
  • Ability to remove or add devices while operating (hot swapping)
  • Hot swapping can only occur when it is supported by the operating system
  • Thinner cables for more efficient air cooling
  • Increased operation reliability

Intel® FPGA SATA and SAS

Intel developed SATA and SAS solutions based on the latest FPGAs with transceivers. Stratix® V GX, Stratix® IV GX, Arria® V, Arria® II GX, Arria® II GZ, Cyclone® V, and Cyclone® IV GX FPGAs support the electrical and signal requirements for SATA and SAS (see Table 1). Intel FPGAs, coupled with SATA and SAS intellectual property (IP), offer a solution for developing storage interfaces on a single chip.

Table 1. Intel FPGA SATA and SAS Support


SATA 1.0
(1.5 Gbps)

SATA 2.0
(3.0 Gbps)

SATA 3.0
(6.0 Gbps)

SAS 1.0
(3.0 Gbps)

SAS 2.0
(6.0 Gbps)

SAS 3.0
(12.0 Gbps)

Stratix V

Stratix IV


Arria V


Arria II GX


Cyclone V




Cyclone IV GX





The IP portion of the Intel FPGA solution is instrumental to the SATA and SAS I/O connectivity. The FPGA provide the foundation, but the IP makes the SATA and SAS I/O possible. Several Intel FPGA Design Solutions Network (DSN) members developed SATA and SAS IP for both host and device interfaces. As shown in Figure 1, the IP cores have all the basic components of a SATA and SAS interface: a physical layer interface that connects to the embedded transceivers in the Intel FPGA devices, a link layer, and a transport layer.

Figure 1. IP Core

Market Applications

The Intel FPGA SATA and SAS solutions are ideal for high-throughput storage applications. Using the IP cores, along with Intel FPGAs, provides a powerful foundation to build storage solutions that connect to host systems to storage. You can use the device and host cores independently (as seen in Figure 2) or together (used as a bridge).

Figure 2. Using IP Cores with Intel FPGAs