New SFF-8639 Drive Backplane Connector: An Introduction

Mike Dearman

Posted: 16th February 2012

SFF-8639 is an extension of the 8482 SAS Connector, which has higher signal quality requirements (to support 12Gb/s SAS and Gen3 PCIe) and adds support for SATA Express and 4 lanes of MultiLink SAS or PCI Express.

The connector has a total of 6 High-Speed signal paths; strangely, each specification only ever uses up to 4 of them at any time.

The standard defines a backplane connector that is designed to support the following interfaces:

Whilst the connector is physically compatible with all of the drive types listed above, systems using this connector will probably only support a subset of these interfaces. The initial use of the connector will be for the new U.2 NVMe Solid State Drives (SSDs), with several vendors already working on products.

A major point of interest here is that the connector will be hot-plug compatible. This will be the first major design for PCIe storage that supports hot-plug, and there is likely to be a wide range of testing issues around this.

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