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SATA2 vs SATA3 - Frequently asked questions
Published Date : 08 Apr 2013   Content Ref: TEC3241867  





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A common question we receive is 'I've heard of SATA2 and SATA3, do I need SATA3 in my computer?'. The quick answer is no, unless you are using SSD drives.

This article should help to answer some of the common questions around SATA2 vs SATA3 and explain the reasoning behind this.

Currently, standard 5400rpm 2.5" notebook and 7200rpm 3.5" desktop hard drives won't be able to transfer enough data to fully utilise a SATA2 connection let alone a SATA3 connection, so although having the latest specification is good; it is far from essential and most of the time not practical in normal configurations.

A SATA3 supported platform is more useful when you install a SSD (Solid State Drive) hard drive as these hard drives have the ability to transfer data at a lot higher speeds and bandwidth than standard hard drives.

Examples:

Our 500GB, 1.0TB and 2.0TB hard drives are the fastest 7200rpm 3.5" desktop hard drives we currently supply. Although the interface on these drives is SATA3 (6.0Gbs/600MBs), the maximum transfer rates that these drives can sustain is:

500GB
Sequential read speed: Upto 125MBs

1.0TB and 2.0TB
Sequential read speed: Upto 210MBs

So as you can see these will not saturate a SATA2 (3.0Gbs/300MBs) connection, let alone a SATA3 (6.0Gbs/600MBs) connection.

If you move to SSD, then SATA3 (6.0Gbs/600MBs) and our current 120GB and 240GB SSD can support the following transfer rates:

120GB and 240GB 
Sequential read speed: Upto 530MBs
Note: Gbs = Gigabits Per Second, not GBs = Gigabytes Per Second

To summarise, SATA3 support is not needed for standard hard drives and should only be requested as a feature if you select a SSD drive or plan to use SSDs in the future.
Note: This is likely to change as SATA3 technologies filter down to lower cost hard drives.

Table showing the ingredients needed for SATA3 support

The table below shows you the mix of hardware you require to get SATA3 (SATAIII) support on RM PCs and notebooks as of April 2013.

Click to view a larger image
  Image showing the different platforms on which SATA2 and SATA3 is supported


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Document Keywords: sata, sata2, sata3, sataII, sataIII, serial ata, serial-ata2, serial-ata3, 3241867, SATA 2, SATA 3, sata 2, sata 3


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