sata 2 vs sata 3

SATA vs SATA 2 vs SATA 3 – What’s the Difference?

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) is an interface that allows you to join your storage units (HDDs, SSDs, and optical drivers) to the motherboard.

Basically, SATA is the alternative for PATA, which adopted parallel communication (carrying a number of bits of information). Moreover, they’ve turn out to be a de facto customary for each HDDs and SSDs at this time.

However, since its introduction, now we have encountered a number of revisions, with the newest one being the SATA 3.5. Regarding the identical, this text will information you thru the variations between these variations and whether or not or to not swap to the newest one.

What is SATA?

As the identify suggests, the Serial Advanced Technology Attachment is predicated on serial communication. This implies that knowledge is transferred from the storage units to the pc motherboard one bit at a time.

This is why knowledge transmission utilizing SATA is much less vulnerable to any interruptions or damages. Moreover, the upper knowledge transmission charge is one more reason why most customers favor them over different storage gadget interfaces.


sata vs pata
SATA vs PATA connectors

In the sooner days, we closely relied on Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (PATA), additionally known as IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics). Reportedly, they use a 40-pins configuration with round 40 or 80 conductor ribbon cables.

Apart from the cumbersome connector with huge units of pins, their knowledge switch charge was additionally comparatively low (as much as 133 MB/s). Also, with the growing RPM of the laborious drives, PATA acquired out of favor and was finally changed by SATA.

Basically, the newer know-how was higher when it comes to knowledge switch charge (150 MB/s), and the information corruption charge was additionally considerably diminished. Moreover, the information connector pins have been additionally diminished from 40 to simply 7.

Furthermore, SATA changed the 4-pin Molex energy connectors with way more highly effective 15-pin SATA energy connectors. The different enhancements embrace the hot-swapping function, much less energy consumption, and low-priced.

Please have a look at the desk beneath to study the basic variations between PATA and SATA:

Mode of Communication Parallel Serial
Data Connectors 40-pin kind with cumbersome conductor ribbon cables 7-pin configuration
Power Connectors Molex (4 pins) SATA connector (15 pins)
Data Transfer Speed (MB/s) 60, 100, 133 (three variations) 150, 300, 600 (three revisions)
Hot-Swapping Unavailable Available
Power Consumption Comparatively excessive Comparatively low
Cost Comparatively excessive Comparatively low
Differences between PATA and SATA

Note: SATA and PATA are incompatible however can co-exist on the identical machine having each the interfaces. Hence, for those who want to join your PATA laborious drive to a motherboard having solely a SATA port, you require a PATA to SATA converter.

SATA Interface Architecture

sata architecture
Five Architecture Layers of SATA

Regardless of the SATA bus interface kind, the working mechanism stays the identical. Well, it has a five-layered structure – bodily, hyperlink, transport, command, and utility layers.

Here, every of the layer offers companies to the layer above it:

  • Physical Layer: This layer ensures that the SATA units are detected by the system. Moreover, it’s answerable for hyperlink initialization utilizing Out-of-band (OOB) signaling, bit-level encoding, and defining each the bodily and electrical traits.
  • Link Layer: After the hyperlink institution within the bodily layer, the Frame Information Structures (FISs) are transmitted over the SATA hyperlink right here. Moreover, it is usually answerable for lowering EMI and certifying knowledge integrity.
  • Transport Layer: Once the FISs are transmitted to the transport layer, it defines the format for every. Also, it appends a management header and instructs the hyperlink layer for additional building and transmission.
  • Command Layer: As the identify suggests, the command layer offers essential instructions to the transport layer for a sequence of actions to be carried out.
  • Application Layer: The ultimate layer of SATA structure is the appliance layer, which interacts with the SATA units. Basically, it represents the software program that controls the general ATA instructions and ensures their correct execution.

SATA Revisions

Well, PATA was extensively used for nearly 20 years. However, even after SATA changed them, the information switch charge wasnt nonetheless excessive to work greatest with storage units having increased RPMs.

Hence, it was evident that customers have been seeking to substitute the primary model of SATA as quickly as doable. Thus, the SATA interface was revised a number of occasions to suit client wants.

Unfortunately, the Serial ATA Working Group isnt engaged on a subsequent revision additional than 3.5. Hence, its very probably that this legacy protocol customary can be changed by newer know-how, presumably NVMe. To study extra about it, learn our different article on the variations between SATA and NVMe.


SATA, SATA 1, or SATA-I used to be launched in 2003. Well, the first-ever revision, 1.0a, was labored simply to switch the Parallel ATA know-how.

Moving on, that they had an improved knowledge switch pace than PATA however have been finally changed by the second revision, which was comparatively a lot quicker. Also, as talked about earlier, they launched superior energy and knowledge connectors that made connecting the storage units to the circuit board simpler.

Furthermore, SATA 1.0 had weaker motherboard ports and was simply breakable. In reality, most customers have been pissed off with the frequent free connections and shaking points when connecting to the sockets.


  • Overall higher know-how than PATA
  • Easier connection on each storage units and motherboard ports
  • Forward appropriate with SATA 2 and three

  • Replaced by SATA 2 after only a yr
  • Slower and fewer safe than each SATA 2 and three
  • Weak connectors
  • Rare to search out in todays date


Since SATA 1 was nonetheless slower and didnt match the very best pace of some HDDs, a big revision was achieved in 2004. This was named SATA 2 or SATA-II, and it has a greater knowledge switch charge, bandwidth throughput, and moreover launched NCQ implementation, which was lacking in 1.0.

Further, this technology was revised twice (2.5 in 2005 and a pair of.6 in 2007) for additional enhancements on connectors, NCQ precedence, NCQ unload, and so forth.


  • Overall higher than SATA 1
  • Introduction to NCQ
  • Backward appropriate with SATA 1 
  • Forward appropriate with SATA 3

  • Replaced by SATA 3
  • Lacks locking mechanism


In 2009, the Serial ATA International Organization launched SATA 3, which changed SATA 2. Thus, most fashionable motherboards include SATA 3 ports. Nonetheless, some older ones nonetheless have SATA 2 headers.

As anticipated, the third technology got here with a a lot increased knowledge switch charge. Among the assorted modifications, probably the most noticeable is the lock mechanism that ensures the connectors don’t come off shortly.

Furthermore, SATA 3 or SATA-III was revised 5 occasions, with every replace including new options – 3.1 (2011), 3.2 (2013), 3.3 (2016), 3.4 (2018), and three.5 (2020). Basically, every revision added elevated efficiency and higher integration of the secondary storage units.


  • Best SATA technology
  • Introduction to lock mechanism
  • Backward compatibility with each SATA 1 and a pair of

  • Slower and fewer safe than NVMe
  • Soon to get replaced by the NVMe interface

What’s the Difference? SATA vs SATA 2 vs SATA 3

Now that concerning the three generations of SATA, its time to dive deep into the most important variations between them.

Generally, SATA, SATA 2, and SATA 3 differ in header labels, knowledge switch charge, NCQ implementation, lock mechanism, knowledge connectors, and energy connectors. In this part, youll study every of those components briefly.

Data Transfer Rate

HDD Data Transfer Speed

The knowledge switch charge determines the pace of the SATA interface. Basically, it may be outlined as the quantity of information transferring from the HDDs or SSDs to the host pc.

Well, the information switch charge is probably the most essential distinction between the three generations of SATA. Indeed, this issue helps us decide the quickest SATA model.

Reportedly, the primary technology SATA (SATA-I) changed PATA and has an uncoded knowledge switch charge of 150 MB/s (1.5 Gb/s). This is feasible by the 8b/10b encoding, the place an eight-bit phrase is transformed to a 10-bit image.

Next, the second technology SATA, aka SATA-II or SATA 2, has a local knowledge switch charge exactly double of the primary technology, i.e., 300 MB/s (3.0 Gb/s), additionally accounting for the 8b/10b encoding.

Lastly, SATA 3 additionally makes use of the 8b/10b encoding scheme and has a local knowledge switch charge of 600 MB/s (6.0 Gb/s). Hence, its fairly clear that the third technology is far quicker than the opposite two revisions.


sata appearance
Check Motherboard Port Label to Identify SATA Generation

Moving on to its look, the SATA cables and connectors look exactly the identical. Nonetheless, motherboard producers produce completely different coloured cables (pink, blue, yellow, black, orange) to tell apart the completely different SATA generations.

However, there’s a seen distinction within the cable connectors. While SATA 1 and a pair of look fairly an identical, the addition of a lock mechanism in SATA 3 makes them distinctive from the previous two.

Whether SATA 1, 2, or 3, you possibly can join all of them to the identical motherboard header. Thus, the one technique to establish the ports is by checking the port label.

For SATA 2, yow will discover indications like SATA 2_2, SATA2_5, SATA2_3, and so forth. Similarly, for SATA 3, yow will discover indications like SATA 3_3, SATA 3, SATA 3_5, and so forth. However, if in case you have a pc from the early 2000s, youll probably discover the labels imprinted simply SATA, which means they belong to the primary technology.

NCQ Implementation

no ncq vs ncq
SATA With No NCQ Implementation vs. SATA With NCQ Implementation

Native Command Queuing (NCQ) is likely one of the SATA options that ensures learn/write head actions are considerably diminished in order that they’re executed in the perfect order doable.

In SATA 1, this function wasnt accessible, which means there have been pointless head actions. This resulted in poor efficiency, and the HDDs or SSDs used to put on off simply (though nonetheless higher than PATA).

However, SATA 2 and three each make the most of this protocol that permits the storage drives to self-determine the efficient order. This considerably diminished the variety of head rotations, and the identical work was achieved a lot faster than that of SATA 1 with no NCQ implementation.

Lets have a look at the above illustration to know this extra shortly. In SATA 1, the drive head rotates thrice to carry out a job, taking an extended path. On the opposite hand, in NCQ carried out SATA 2 and three, the drive head rotates simply two occasions, taking a shorter route for the completion of the identical job.

Data Connector

Although the SATA 1, 2, and three knowledge connectors look all an identical, the options positively distinguish them from each other. 

Well, theres no noticeable distinction between SATA 1 and a pair of. However, the SATA 3.0 revision began utilizing two foil-shielded differential pairs that offered a big benefit within the transmission line. Basically, this enables ease of routing cables and surprisingly reduces the price too.

Power Connector

Unlike the information connectors, the Serial ATA Working Group, made numerous modifications within the energy connectors. Well, the primary revision was adopted within the 2.6 model that produced a slimline connector for use by pocket book optical drives and different smaller components.

Moreover, the two.6 revision additionally launched the micro SATA and a separate microdata connector, which is considerably thinner. However, this was solely meant for 1.8-inch laborious disk drives.

Furthermore, revision 3.3 adopted PWDIS in its third pin permitting it to enter and exit the POWER DISABLE mode. This additionally made it appropriate with SAS specs.

Lastly, the sooner variations of SATA 1 additionally got here with the Molex connectors to be appropriate with the PATA cables. However, this was faraway from the latter variations of SATA 1 and is now not discovered.

Well, you possibly can undergo our different put up that guides you on how one can join the SATA energy cable. 

Lock Mechanism

metal lock clip in sata 3
Metal Lock Clip in a SATA 3 Connector

Well, the most important downside with the SATA 1 knowledge connectors was that they have been simply plugged out resulting from a lacking locking mechanism. Although SATA 2 improved the connectors, they nonetheless lacked locks that made the connection safe.

However, SATA 3 launched particular metallic lock clips that make sure the cables don’t plug out simply. Moreover, there are right- or left-angled connectors that additionally stop unintentional loosing of the cables.

As proven within the above determine, revision 2.0 didnt include the lock mechanism. On the opposite hand, theres a small metallic spring on SATA 3.0 that ensures the jack is securely hooked up to the motherboard and storage units ports. 

Similarities Between SATA, SATA 2, and SATA 3

As talked about earlier, SATA 1, 2, and three have a comparable working mechanism and undertake the similar structure. Moreover, the information and energy connectors pin configurations additionally stay the identical.

Firstly, the information connectors are 8 mm large and have a complete of seven pins – three grounds and 4 knowledge strains (A+, A-, B+, B-). On the opposite hand, energy connectors are comparatively wider and have a 15-pin configuration – 9 energy strains, 5 grounds, and one for staggering exercise. Interestingly, newer motherboards present two to 4 of those SATA cables of their field.

sata data and power connector pins
SATA Data and Power Connectors Pin Configuration

However, the pins of the slimline and micro energy connectors are considerably diminished. Nonetheless, the working mechanism stays an identical.

Moving on, all of the SATA generations have an elective hotplugging interface. However, to allow it, you require a supporting host gadget and OS. 

Lastly, all of the SATA revisions are ahead and backward-compatible. This implies that you should utilize SATA 1 cable on SATA 2 and three ports, or SATA 2 cable on SATA 1 and three ports, and SATA 3 on 1 and a pair of ports.

Caution: Despite the legacy assist, the utmost pace capability will get diminished as a result of variations between the port and cable technology. For instance, if youre utilizing a SATA 3 connector on SATA 2 ports, the storage gadget can be restricted to the options of SATA 2.

Should I Switch to SATA 3?

Since SATA 1 or 2 can effectively carry out learn and write capabilities on SATA 3 ports, you possibly can nonetheless use them as a substitute of switching to SATA 3. Nonetheless, youll be restricted to loads of options accessible within the third technology. 

Likewise, youll additionally miss out on the lock mechanism on SATA 3 connectors for those who nonetheless favor utilizing SATA 1 and a pair of cables. 

Moreover, utilizing SATA 2 or 3 on HDDs is totally high-quality, as each assist the utmost pace supported by most laborious drives. However, SSDs often have a charge of 500 MB/s, and to take full benefit, we advocate utilizing SATA 3.

Hence, in case your motherboard solely helps SATA 2, however youre wanting so as to add SATA 3 ports, you possibly can simply achieve this utilizing extension playing cards. 

Thus, if youre planning to improve to SATA 3, you possibly can take a look on the ultimate comparability chart beneath and resolve for your self.

Factors SATA 1 SATA 2 SATA 3
Data Transfer Rate 150 MB/s 300 MB/s 600 MB/s
Appearance Port labels have simply SATA Port labels have SATA 2_2, SATA2_5, SATA2_3, and so forth. Port labels have SATA 3_3, SATA 3, SATA 3_5, and so forth.
NCQ Implementation No Yes Yes
Data Connector 7-pin configuration 7-pin configuration 7-pin configuration and makes use of two foil-shielded differential pair cables
Power Connector 15-pin configuration, earlier variations included each Molex and SATA connectors  15-pin configuration, introduction to micro SATA, and slimline connectors 15-pin configuration, PWDIS in its third pin
Lock Mechanism Unavailable Better than SATA 2 however lacks the metallic lock Metal lock ensures the correct connection between the plug and the socket
Legacy Support Forward appropriate with SATA 1 and SATA 2 Forward appropriate with SATA 3 and backward appropriate with SATA 1  Backward appropriate with SATA 1 and a pair of
Hotplugging Feature Available Available Available
Final Comparison: SATA vs SATA 2 vs SATA 3

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