Partnering up with AMD, on Monday Seagate announced the latest Serial ATA specification: SATA3. The new specification offers hard drive transfer speeds of up to 6Gbps, which is around 600MBps.
This new specification was developed by the Serial ATA International Organization, in order to provide a hefty upgrade from today's SATA2 specification. So just how much of an upgrade is it? Your average SATA2 drive today can offer hard drive transfer speeds of up to 3Gbps, which is roughly 300MBps, so in theory SATA3 will be twice as fast. As CNET notes, it's important to know that software and hardware holds back these speeds, so in reality they're about 100MBps less than they could be. Never-the-less, this will leave you with a hard drive that can transfer 500MBps, and that's not something to laugh at.
Most importantly, the newly developed interface will be backwards-compatible with all previous SATA standards, so you won't have to upgrade cables or connectors; this will save consumers a nice bit of cash when they're deciding to upgrade (when SATA3 is released, of course). SATA3 brings with it better power management and native command queuing, which will generally increase system performance.
Seagate is apparently in the last stages of development of a SATA3 hard drive, and you can expect one by the end of this year. Additionally, AMD will fully support the new standard with its current 750 chipset and all future chipsets.