U.3 Ports should really replace SATA ports for everybody.
U.3 Ports are:
- Space Efficient on the MoBo edge ( 1x U.3 Port = 2x Vertical Stacks of SATA Ports via adapter) in terms of how many HDD's can be supported.
- Supports SATA, SAS, & PCIe through one Universal connector.
- Less Material to use, gives you more drive connection options and more drives to be connected.
Also, modern SSD's need to start using the 1.8" HDD form factor
as "Their new standardized Form Factor".
A 5 mm thick 1.8" HDD, reused as the modern SSD standard & using standard SAS/SATA/nVME over PCIe U.3 connector is perfect IMO.
The PCB area is for a 1.8" HDD form factor is up to 3600 mm² on one side of the PCB.
A 30110 M.2 drive has 3300 mm² on one side of the PCB.
That's MORE than enough PCB real estate for optimal routing.
At 1.8", the form factor is compact enough to slip into your pocket
It's smaller than a pack of Bicycle Playing Cards, slightly larger than a PS2 Memory Card.
Thinner than both of those items at 5 mm thick.
While HDD's should retain the 3½" & 2½" form factors as their primary domain.
Also, it's great for WD to finally step into the Multi-Actuator Arms race.
The race is on to satiate the bandwidths of SATA/SAS/nVME over PCIe.
How many independent actuators can you get to.
Obviously, the ultimate goal is every actuator arm being fully independent, that would be "AWESOME".
The combined throughput of that would be CRAZY HIGH.
Now, they need "Built in RAID 0" at the controller level to make it easily useable for every day consumers.