What’s the Difference Between SATA 2 and SATA 3?

What Is SATA?

If you have some knowledge about computer, you may know what SATA is. Usually, SATA is related to the hard drive. Many of you may have heard of SATA hard drive or SATA SSD. In this phrase, SATA refers to the port of the drive. It looks like the following picture:

As you can see, the port is composed of two parts. The left part (the shorter one) is used to transfer data, while the right part (the longer one) is used to supply power.

Then, what does the SATA socket on PC look like? In the laptop, the SATA socket is like the following picture:

But in desktop PC, the SATA socket is like the following picture:

That’s because the power supply socket is on the other location on the desktop. You should use two cables (a data cable and a power supply cable) to connect the SATA drive to desktop PC.

SATA 2 vs SATA 3

SATA has different versions. Nowadays, the most common version is SATA 3, which is also the mainstream interface among hard drives. But there is still a market for its previous version SATA 2. For example, the PS4 consoles and some old PCs still have SATA 2 socket. If you search online, you can still find SATA 2 hard drive products.

Distinguish Between SATA 2 & SATA 3

SATA 2 and SATA 3
SATA 2 and SATA 3

Then, how to distinguish between SATA 2 & SATA 3? For drives, you should know the model information of the drive and search it online. Then, you can know whether the drive is a SATA2 or SATA3 drive.

For sockets on a PC, you can use software like AIDA64, DiskInfo, etc. to know the port type on the PC. Of course, you can also check that directly on the motherboard. If your PC has both SATA 2 & SATA 3 sockets, manufacturers will mark them on the shell or the motherboard as follows:

But if you want to know more methods on how to distinguish between SATA 2 & SATA 3, please refer to this post: SATA 2 vs SATA 3: Is There Any Practical Difference?

Differences Between SATA 2 and SATA 3

Many of you may know the following things about SATA2 vs SATA3:

1. The SATA 2 speed is 3 Gb/s (300 MB/s) while the SATA 3 speed is 6 Gb/s (600 MB/s).

2. SATA3 is compatible with SATA 2. But if you connect a SATA3 drive to a SATA2 socket, the transfer speed will lower down to SATA2 speed.

Then, if you PC still uses SATA 2 socket, you may have the following questions:

1. Should I upgrade to SATA 3 drives?

2. Should I upgrade my PC to a SATA 3 PC?

Let’s explains these problems one by one.

1. Should I upgrade to SATA 3 drives?

This depends on what hard drive you use. If you are using a SATA2 HDD now, you can upgrade it to a SATA3 HDD, a SATA2 SSD, or a SATA3 SSD and this will improve the PC performance. But if you are using a SATA 2 SSD now, I don’t recommend you to upgrade the drive, because:

If you want to upgrade the SATA 2 HDD to a SATA SSD, you may wonder which SSD you should use — either a SATA 2 SDD or a SATA 3 SSD. Actually, this depends on the price. On Amazon, a SATA 2 SSD can be more expensive than a SATA3 drive.

The reason may be that most SATA 2 SSDs have been discontinued. Therefore, it’s recommended to buy a SATA3 SSD rather than a SATA 2 SSD.

2. Should I upgrade my PC to a SATA 3 PC?

In general, you can upgrade your PC to a SATA 3 PC through the following two ways:

  • the motherboard. But this method is not recommended if your PC can work normally still. Replacing the motherboard or PC will cost a huge amount of money.
  • Use PCIe to SATA adapter, If your PC has more PCIe socket. You can use PCIe to SATA adapter to convert the PCIe socket into more than one SATA 3.0 sockets.

Also Read: An Ultimate Guide to Prepare the Microsoft Azure DP-201 Exam

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