ATA Ad-hoc Working Group Minutes - 08/94

R. S. Shergill rss at
Thu Sep 8 16:24:36 PDT 1994

Accredited Standards Committee*
X3, Information Processing Systems

Doc. No.   X3T10/94-____R0
Date:            Sept 8, 1994
Ref. Doc.:    
Reply to:  S. Finch

To:       Membership of X3T10

From:     Shergill/Finch

Subject:  Minutes of X3T10 ATA Ad-hoc Working Group Aug 31-Sep 1, 1994


1. Opening Remarks      
2. Attendance and Membership, Introductions   
3. Approval of Agenda 
4. Document Distribution      
5. Old Business       
5.1  Termination Issues (Hanan)       
5.2  ATA-2 Technical Review   
6. New Business       
      6.1  Multi-threading (Hanan)
7. Meeting Schedule       
8. Adjournment        

Results of Meeting
1.  Opening Remarks

Steve Finch convened the meeting at 9:00 am.  Steve thanked Ray Heineman 
of Maxtor for hosting the meeting.

As is customary, the people attending introduced themselves.  A copy of 
the attendance list was circulated for attendance and corrections.

It was stated that the meeting had been authorized by X3T10 and would be 
conducted under the X3 rules.  Ad hoc meetings take no final actions, 
but prepare recommendations for approval by the X3T10 task group.  The 
voting rules for the meeting are those of the parent committee, X3T10.  
These rules are:  one vote per company; and any participating company 
member may vote.

The minutes of this meeting will be posted to the X3T10 BBS and the ATA 
Reflector and will be included in the next X3T10 committee mailing.

2.  Attendance and Membership, Introductions

Attendance at working group meetings does not count toward minimum 
attendance requirements for X3T10 membership.  Working group meetings 
are open to any person or company to attend and to express their opinion 
on the subjects being discussed.

The following people attended the meeting.

Name                    Company                Email Address
Norm Harris            Adaptec        
Richard Kalish       Adaptec                rkalish at
Lawrence J. Lamers   Adaptec                   ljlamers at
Joseph Chen              Cirrus Logic           chen at
Nicos Syrimis     Cirrus Logic 
Lane Lee               Conner Peripherals     
Jeff Epstein     Future Domain        
Mark Raymond     Future Domain        
Dan Colegrove    IBM                colegrove at
Tony Pione                 IBM    
Ray Heineman     Maxtor                     ray_heineman at
Ron Roberts               Maxtor 
Tom Newman             Mission Peak Designs   
Robert Griffith          National Semiconductor       
Robbie Shergill          National Semiconductor  rss at
Curt Allred              Nexcom Tech.   
Karl Schuh             Nexcom Tech.   
Peter Brown            Oak Technology 
Phil Verinski    Oak Technology       
Charles Yang     Panasonic    
Mike Carpenter           Qlogic                      M.carpenter at
Farbod Falakfarsa      Quantum      
James McGrath    Quantum       
Don Powlison    Quantum      
John Masiewicz           Seagate Technology      masiewicz at
Hale Landis             
Stephen Finch    Silicon Systems         5723283 at
Yas Hashimoto      Toshiba America      
Devon Worrell    Western Digital      
Tom Hanan              Western Digital           t_hanan at
(Note: Not all attendees were present for both days).

3.  Approval of Agenda

  Item 5.1 was struck because Hanan did not put his proposal on the 
Reflector at least two weeks prior to this meeting as was agreed to at 
the last meeting. Tom was asked by Steve to bring this in as an ATA-3 
  Item 6.1 was added for the second day, if time permits.
  The agenda was approved as amended.

4.  Document Distribution

ATA-2 Working Draft, Rev 2f  - Finch, SSI.
Re: Items for ATA agenda - McGrath, Quantum.
Re: WD Command Queuing Proposal - McGrath, Quantum.
Hale Landis's Comments - Landis.

5.  Old Business

5.1  Item removed from agenda.

5.2  ATA-2 Technical Review:

The working draft revision 2f was reviewed in a section-by-section 
manner.  Rest of this section is intended to be a complete list of 
changes agreed upon. Please refer to the Working Draft revision 2g for a 
complete and accurate description of the changes.

Revision Page will be deleted when the document is finalized (was a 
comment by Gene Milligan)

Throughout the document, Steve will explicitly say "bit xxx" instead of 

Throughout the document, Steve will change 'x' to 'r' for all reserved 

Section 3:  
Added glossary item - Command acceptance: a command is considered 
accepted whenever the host writes to the cmd reg. and the device 
currently selected has its BSY bit set to 0. An exception exists for the 
execute diagnostics cmd. (see description of execute diag cmd).

Added glossary Item - Drive Selection: a drive is selected when the DEV 
bit in the Drive/Head register is equal to the device number assigned to 
the device by means of a dev0/dev1 jumper or switch or use of the CSEL 
(moved here from section 6.1.1)

Section 3.2.5  
Tom Newman said that the byte ordering appears reversed - others didn't 
agree.Tom Hanan wanted a note added - this is not the order in the PC. 
All agreed, Hanan wrote the note and it was added. Tom Newman was asked 
to check the actual byte ordering on a disk drive.
On Day-2:  Tom Newman reported back. His results showed that the byte 
ordering is reverse of what the document currently contains. Confusion 
was due to the difference in byte-ordering between the actual data 
transfers at the interface and the way Identify Data is represented. 
Agreed to change this section to address only the byte ordering for 8 
and 16-bit data transfers - not the byte-ordering related to fields in 
Identify Device data. Also worked out an advisory note saying that some 
systems will swap bytes. Voted on the note's inclusion: For: 13, 
Against: 4. The note was accepted.

Changed "n from 2 to 512" to "n starting at 2" 

Paragraph 2: changed "will" to "shall" and also stressed "on the 
interface" again.

Sections 4.2 and 4.3  
Editor will soften the language to say that the connector shown here is 
one example of several connectors. Agreed that we will completely define 
the connection schemes in ATA-3.

Section 4.5   
Table 3, second line, description, changed "Rise" to "Fall".

Section 5.2.4  DASP-
Third paragraph, second sentence: deleted.

Added back the language from rev 2d concerning the requirement for the 
host to current limit on the LED load. (John Masiewicz comment).

Sections 5.2.6 and 5.2.7  
Added after the last sentence "The device shall not act on the data 
until after it is latched". 
(Tony Pione and Devon Worrell had pointed out this problem).

5.2.10 INTRQ
Joe Chen wanted to add back the option of clearing INTRQ automatically 
at the end of the data block transfer - except for the last block 
transfer.  Hale didn't like this option because it means that 
interlocking is lost. Tom Newman pointed out that there are other ways 
to interlock. Jim mcGrath pointed out that the hardware implementation 
of today require a dead-time to be inserted in order to ensure 
interlock. The group voted on the concept behind Joe's proposal - 3 in 
favor (cirrus, conner, toshiba), 14 against. Joe was asked to bring this 
issue to the plenary meeting if he wants to pursue this further.

5.2.11  IOCS16-
Fourth bullet point:
Jim McGrath: should it be "not valid" or "not asserted"? He wanted it to 
be "not asserted". Others disagreed. The group agreed unanimously to 
change "is not valid" to "shall not be used by the host".
Another isssue raised was whether an editor's note should be added 
stating that IOCS16's switching at mode 3 or higher speeds is not 
recommended. Vote - 5 for, 6 against. Not accepted.

5.2.15 second para, last sentence: changed "made by...." to "vendor 
specific".  CSEL
Tom Hanan brought up the issue that some people want to use CSEL to 
select the devices electronically -  so we should specify that the csel 
should be used only at the time of reset. Added the sentence: "host 
shall maintain CSEL at a stable level for at least 31 seconds after 
the deassertion of Reset-". Also changed the terms "grounded" and "open" 
to "negated" and "asserted" in the two bullets.

6.1 changed the title to Device Addressing Considerations and combined 
with subsection 6.1.1.

Paragraph 3, first sentence: deleted everything after Device/Head 
Register (see clause 6.2.8) because the other methods are configuration, 
not selection. Robbie Shergill asked that the last sentence of para 3 
should be deleted because it is not consistant with figure 1. This 
opened up the issue of whether a single drive can exist as drive 
1. Tom Hanan claimed that some people are implementing systems with a 
slave drive only. Steve Finch asserted that this cannot be done without 
violating the spec. This issue was not resolved and the sentence in 
question was left intact.

Fourth paragraph was moved to glossary.

6.2 table 7: Issue was raised whether "not used" be changed to 
"reserved"? After a lengthy discussion the group decided not to do so. 
The Device Address register entry was replaced with a note saying that 
only bit 7 has to be kept high impedance and the rest of the bits are 

mcgrath asked that Cyl/Head/Sector Number updating requirement be 
removed because the auto-increment circuitry is costly and the updating 
serves no real purpose. Hale and Hanan agreed with this. Changed the 
wording to state that the updating is only required for media access 
cmds that end in an error. Added an editor's note stating that all 
commands ended with the CSH updated prior to this spec, but this spec 
doesn't require that.

6.2.5  Data Register
Changed wording as suggested by Hale in his document.

6.2.6  Device Control Register
Made bits 7-3 reserved. Voted on making bit 3 reserved: 12 in favor, 1 

6.2.7 Device Address Register
Eliminated this section. Added a note to table 7 instead. 

6.2.8 Device/Head Register
Removed second sentence.
Made bits 7 and 5 reserved.
Removed the "binary encoded" term.
Changed the name of the L bit to sector address mode select
Changed the name of the DEV bit to device address

6.2.9 Error register
BBK bit: Ray Heineman wanted to eliminate this bit because Format Track 
has been made vendor specific and it is the only command that uses this 
bit. Hale wanted to retain it because he may need to use it for commands 
other than format track.
Voted: make it reserved? For: 10, opposed: 4.

MC and MCR bits: Hale wanted to remove the description only and say that 
these are for removable media and the implementation is vendor-specific. 
Joe Chen disagreed - these bits have been in ATA-1 and some people are 
using them.
Voted - in favor of Hale's alternate wording: 12, against:1.

6.2.11 Sector Count register
Accepted Hale's alternate description which says essentially that just 
because SCNT=0 doesn't mean that the command completed successfully.

Deleted the reference to Format Track cmd.

6.2.12 Sector Number register
Accepted Hale's alternate description.

6.2.13 Status register
Joe Chen proposed making bits 2, 4 and 5 vendor-specific.
CORR bit: McGrath wanted to make it "reserved" altogether. Colegrove 
wanted to retain it because his users monitor this bit to keep track of 
media degradation. Shergill asserted that it is the definition of 
"correcatble error" that varies from vendor to vendor so just make this 
vendor specific. This was agreed to.

DWF bit: Hale doesn't mind making this vendor specific, but wants to 
retain the portion that this bit should stay set 'till the status is 
read. Voted to accept Hale's wording. 13 for, 3 against.

DSC bit:  Agreed to accept Hale's recommendation and make it equal to 
DRDY bit because BIOSes generally look for this state in the Status 
register. McGrath asked for, and all agreed, that a note should be added 
that in ATA-3 this bit will be reclaimed. Additionally, this bit's name 
was changed to Bit4.

Next, Hale's introductory statements for this register were amended and 

Gene Milligan had commented that the clearing of error bits is not 
clearly defined and this causes the hosts to never know what to believe. 
Hanan agreed and suggested that the ERR bit and the Error register 
should be required to hold their state until the next command. All 
agreed on the following language:

   "Once this bit is set, the device shall not clear this bit or change 
the contents of the command block registers, except the data reg and the 
vendor specific bits in the Status register, until a new command is 
accepted by the device, the SRST bit is set to one, or RESET- is 

   Another of Gene's comments was also accepted - it should be noted 
that the BSY=1 state can be very short so the host sw should not rely on 
detecting this state.

    The group next considered Hale's proposals pertaining to the Status 
register. Hale recommends that DRQ, ERR and CORR bits be changed only 
while BSY=1. chen suggested that just BSY and DRQ's relationship should 
be covered here and ERR and CORR bits should not be covered. Finch 
asserted that the better way to specify this is that there are only 
certain registers or bits that the device can change while BSY=0. These 
bits are: DRDY, DWF, bit 4, CORR, IDX in the status register and the 
Data register. This change was accepted.

   A lengthy discussion took place on the issue of BSY's state during 
data transfers. In the end, the group agreed to Hale's five conditions 
for when BSY must be set but changed the language. Sum total of it all 
is that from 400ns max after command acceptance and until command 
completion, if DRQ is not set then BSY must be. The list has been made a 
set of requiremnts for the events when the device must set BSY. Robbie 
Shergill raised the point that the device should also not be allowed to 
set BSY at any other times - which was the original intention of this 
list in ATA-1. This was agreed to and Steve will add a sentence at the 

    DRDY bit: accepted Hale's re-wording with few changes: deleted the 
requirement that it stays stable 'till status is read. A discussion took 
place concerning whether DRDY=1 means that the device is ready to ACCEPT 
a command - given our new definition of command acceptance. This issue 
was not resolved.

    ERR bit: Dan Colegrove rewrote the paragraph in response to Gene's 
comment of this morning. It specified the list of bits and regs that 
must not change once ERR bit is set and until the next command.  

6. New Business

 No new business items were addressed as the technical review was 
not completed within the allocated time.

7. Meeting Schedule

       9/15: Houston, TX.  Host: Compaq.
       9/27-28: Milpitas, CA. Host: Quantum  (was previously scheduled 
                                              to be held at Longmont).
       11/10: Palm Springs, CA.  Host: Western Digital

8. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at approximately 4:00 PM on Sept 1, 1994.

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