SAS PHY call today (7/6), 10 am CDT

Alvin.Cox at Alvin.Cox at
Thu Jul 6 06:07:32 PDT 2006

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Below are the minutes from the 6/29 call. Rob Elliott should be resent 

today to have additional discussion on the proposals and the concerns that 

have been noted. Due to the holiday week for the US, this posting is late 

and participation may be low.


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Webex information: 

Topic: SAS-2 PHY WG 

Date: Thursday, July 6, 2006 

Time: 10:00 am, Central Daylight Time (GMT -05:00, Chicago) 

Meeting number: 826 515 680 

Meeting password: 6gbpsSAS 


1. SAS-2 PHYSICAL address frame

* Is the frame too big or otherwise unwieldy?

Okay. Standard address frame size.

A concern was voiced that G1 rate must be supported to read the frame. 

Some feel this is a mistake for future generations. Page 9 of 05-397r4 

illustrates a case where one PHY does not support G1 speeds, however, the 

G3 frame requires support of G1 to transfer the payload of the address 

frame. This is a contradictory situation. In other words, for the G3 

window to work as defined, G1 shall always be supported. This may be a 

problem several generations down the road.

An alternative is to keep existing frame structure for each speed 

supported and use the final window for training and locking. Not that much 

time is lost for the multiple 600uS windows.

2. SSC

New bullets were not discussed in detail as the information is too new. 

Plan to have input on the next call.

* Is a 1/(non-power-of-two) ALIGN rate a good idea?

* Separate ALIGN rates to optimize performance or just one rate for all 


* What is the best term to replace "clock skew management" in 7.3?

* The average up-spreading cannot exactly match the average down-spreading 

in an SSC profile.  How do we specify the accuracy?  Does the ALIGN rate 

of 1/2048 provide enough extra ALIGNs to account for the inaccuracy?

Comment: The 100 ppm reference clock accuracy has the same affect. Round 

up for the buffer, but there still needs to be a reasonable limit on the 

upper side. Rob needs to explain what problem the question is trying to 


* Make sure everyone agrees with the math on the last page, and that we're 

not off by a factor of 2 anywhere. 

Old questions:

Are definitions for down spreading and center spreading acceptable?

ST indicated that they would rather train on an SSC signal rather than a 

non-SSC signal. Agere and Vitesse indicated that it is better to train on 

non-SSC, but there would be a need to verify signal integrity after SSC is 

turned on. Training with SSC enabled is probably possible, but this has no 

data to support that it can actually be done. It was suggested that it be 

assumed on for now and if it has to be changed later, then it can change. 

To change it later could be a significant design impact for drives. 

Expanders are expected to have independent control of SSC on PHY’s 

already, so the impact would be less for them.

SSC can be enabled and disabled without significant impact to the 

transmitted signal if done at the zero-crossing but it may take several 

microseconds to make the change from SSC to non-SSC.

Should a minimum SSC range be specified? Rob indicated he wants a minimum 

specified, but most who voiced an opinion did not support a minimum 

setting. SATA initially had problems with SSC but these seem to be getting 

better over time. One comment made indicated that the SATA ranges seen by 

that person typically from 1000 ppm to 3000 ppm rather than the full 5000 

ppm allowed. Many thought it best to be a purchase specification 

requirement rather than a standard if a minimum value is desired.

Several comments were made regarding EMI and the SSC pattern. The pattern 

requirements still need some sort of clarification so that an issue of 

overrunning buffers is not caused, but also that the pattern is effective 

in reducing EMI. The “area under the curve” approach was mentioned. But

in itself can permit a square wave implementation that would cause a 

buffer overrun issue. Ideas on how to define should be posted to the 

reflector or sent to Rob.

3. Speed negotiation sequence

·	 Reviewed the new presentations and had some concerns about the 

final negotiation window RCDT. Do expanders with many PHY’s need more than 
300uS to process the information? Is 500uS enough?

·	 Should there be a fixed value or just start sending training 

pattern when ready?

·	 How should the configuration data be sent? Should it be a 32-byte 

packet, handled by new primitives, or some other option?

·	 What information should be included?

New questions: 

How do we know that the address frame was correctly received and 

processed? Can there be some sort of handshake to verify?

Do we need to specify how options are downgraded after a failed speed 

negotiation? Alvin suggested that the system determine what to change 

rather than the target device since the system is more likely to be aware 

of what can be changed for improvement. It was mentioned that turning off 

SSC is one possible option, but if this made a system non-compliant, then 

the device should not be trying to turn off SSC for that application. 

There should be some sort of control specified, as if both ends are trying 

to make changes, a conflict may result.

Page 9 of 05-397r4 illustrates a case where one PHY does not support G1 

speeds, however, the G3 frame requires support of G1 to transfer the 

payload of the address frame. This is a contradictory situation.

Additional items needing investigation/comment:

·	 Should SSC be on or off during receiver equalization setting?

Today’s comments indicated that there are both advantages and 

disadvantages to having SSC active during the initial setting process. 

Having it on while setting equalization is an untested item, but is 

probably possible. If setting is done while it is off, then the signal 

reception needs to be verified after it is turned on.

·	 Is it viable to make a drive have independent SSC control on the 

transmitters of its two ports? Independence is required to set the 

receiver equalization without SSC since one port may be operating prior to 

the other one performing speed negotiation.

It is possible in some designs, but an alternate suggestion of turning off 

SSC at a zero-crossing for both PHY’s was proposed as an alternative. 

There may be some timing issues with a smooth disable of SSC.

·	 In the beginning of the final speed negotiation window, does there 

need to be an idle time or can both devices immediately start transmitting 

the training pattern? It is assumed that if G2 is required, the sequence 

would follow the SAS 1.1 standard.

A 300uS window was suggested in the 06-295. Since this is close to the 

existing RCDT of the other windows and minimal compared to the training 

interval maximum time, it was suggested to just use the existing RCDT 

time. Some indicated they would like to go ahead and start the training 

pattern when they were ready rather than at a set time. Additional 

feedback is needed regarding this. It was also stated that some expanders 

with many PHY’s may have a problem getting the information processed in 

that amount of time if all the PHY’s were trying to communicate with the 

processor at the same time.

·	 It is assumed that all expanders and initiators are capable of 

receiving downspread SSC. Are there any know exceptions?

LSI, Vitesse, Marvell: None

Alvin Cox

Seagate Technology, LLC

Tel 405-350-7424

Cell 405-206-4809

E-Mail	alvin.cox at

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