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SATA 2 Vs SATA 3 HDD: What’s The Difference?

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While using a PC, we all do two major tasks and their importance can’t be denied. You will surely not buy a PC that has problems dealing with these two tasks. What are these? These are using a bulk of data and saving them persistently on your PC. 

Data storage is something that you can’t compromise on and for this, you buy expensive Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). These HDDs help store the data and increase the speed at which data is being transferred. 

Buying a good HDD is not the only thing to meet your data storage tasks but it is also highly dependent on using the best SATA interface. This SATA interface is linked to our PC and they also have a huge impact on the performance of your computer. 

Different versions of SATA are available in the market and the latest one is SATA 3.0. SATA 3.0 has come up with many more attractive features than the previous SATA 2.0.

Here, we will focus on the major differences that SATA 2 and SATA 3 have. 

What is SATA?

Let’s first discuss what SATA is, before getting into a detailed contrast of SATA 2 and SATA 3. SATA stands for Serial AT attachment. It is a bus interface that links the adapters of the bus to different data storage types of equipment including optical drives (CD and DVD etc), solid-state drives (SSDs), and hard disk drives (HDDs). 

In simple terms, SATA takes data from the PC’s motherboard and then sends it to these above storage devices.

SATA was publicized in the year 2000 and many modern devices such as laptops, desktop machines use it. It proved to be the best interface that outplaced the previous interface of Parallel AT Attachment, commonly known as PATA. 

The benefits of using SATA are not limited but it also needs a smaller size cable and costs you less than that PATA interface. It also worked using just seven conductors while the PATA interface was using forty or even eighty. 

With SATA, you can link any of the little computer types of equipment with the port since SATA provides an adjustable port. SATA also uses the maximum rate of signals to ensure the fastest data transfer thus never compromising on data transferability which is always important for you.

SATA 2 Vs SATA 3 HDDs: Head To Head

FactorsSATA 2SATA 3
GenerationSecond Generation of SATA Interface.Third Generation of SATA Interface.
Speed3Gbit per second.6Gbit per second.
Bandwidth Throughput300MB per second.600MB per second.
InterfaceSATA 2 interface can function on SATA 1 ports.SATA 3 interface can function on both SATA 1 and SATA 2 ports.

SATA 2 Vs SATA 3 HDD: Detailed Comparison

No doubt, SATA 2 and SATA 3 are revised and more powerful versions than SATA 1. If you are confused about choosing between SATA 2 and SATA 3, you must read the differences below. We will be discussing different distinguishing features between SATA 2 and SATA 3. 

1. SATA 2 VS SATA 3: Backward Compatibility

SATA 2 interface can work on SATA 1 port, and the SATA 3 can work on SATA 1 and SATA 2 ports. This functionality is also known as backward compatibility. But, the maximum limit of data transfer rate by a SATA HDD will be limited because every port has some restrictions of speed as well. 

2. SATA 2 VS SATA 3: Speed

Speed is a factor that can not be denied while comparing SATA 2 and a SATA 3 HDD. 

Speed of SATA 2

SATA 2 came directly after SATA 1 interface and was publicized in the year 2004. This SATA 2 has the capability of transferring data at the rate of 3 Gbits per second. 

Speed of SATA 3

On the other hand, SATA 3 is the latest version of SATA. SATA 2 was entirely publicized in the year 2009 and has the capability of transferring data at the rate of 6 Gbits per second. 

No doubt, there are multiple uncontrollable situations, based on which you will not get the exact written speed of the SATA 2 and SATA 3. 

3. SATA 2 VS SATA 3: Bandwidth

The volume of data transferred in a given amount of time over the internet is known as bandwidth. Bandwidth is another most important distinguishing feature between SATA 2 and SATA 3.

The bandwidth of SATA 2

SATA 2 provides the bandwidth throughput of 300MB per second which is twice provided by SATA 1.

The bandwidth of SATA 3

SATA 3 excels in providing a bandwidth throughput of almost 600MB per second, which is exactly twice that provided by SATA 2. 

4. SATA 2 VS SATA 3: Native Command Queuing Feature

SATA 2 and SATA 3 also provide a new feature of Native Command Queuing. This feature helps in efficiently increasing the performance of the SATA interface on a PC. 

5. SATA 2 VS SATA 3: Structure

If we talk about the structure of SATA 2 and SATA 3 then you will not find out many differences as their connectors are the same. 

While seeing the SATA 2 and SATA 3 on the motherboard, you might find them identical. Some creators differentiate them by giving a color difference. Structurally, SATA 2 and SATA 3 are just 2 HDDs consisting of seven pins. The major difference is the rate of data they are offering to transfer in a moment or a second. 

6. SATA 2 VS SATA 3: Cable 

The best feature is, you do not need to worry about the compatibility of cable between SATA 2 and SATA 3. The cables are entirely compatible with all the versions of SATA.

7. Others

Both the SATA 2 and SATA 3 provide hot swapping. They both support linking in the hardware components and linking out these components even if your PC is running. Both of these come with a default ability of clock frequency signals. 

Irrespective of speed, both the SATA 2 and SATA 3 are reliable and can detect errors and bugs themselves. Not only that, but they can also correct the bug themselves. 

Is SATA 2 HDD Worth It?

With a data transfer speed of  3Gbit per second, and a bandwidth capacity of 300 MB per second, SATA 2 HDD is 100 % worth buying. It also provides backward compatibility and comes with a Native Command Queuing feature. 

Though it’s not the latest version of SATA, you must go for it, if it suits your needs. Let’s dive into the best recommended SATA HDDs. 

1. Toshiba MG Series Enterprise 14TB 

With a digital storage capacity of 14 TB, this SATA 2 is worth buying. It offers a cache size of 256 with the linking compatibility of a USB. It comes with a persistent write cache technology and offers 24 hours operation.

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2. Toshiba 10TB SATA 512e 7200RPM 3.5″ Enterprise HDD – MG06ACA10TE

Offering a digital storage capacity of 10 TB, this SATA 2 is worth buying. It also offers compatibility with your desktop and a cache size of 256. It comes with a 7200 RP performance technology and offers 24 hours operation.

3. Toshiba MK3276GSX 320GB SATA/300 5400RPM 8MB 2.5″ Hard Drive

With a digital storage capacity of 320 GB, this SATA 2 is a good pick to buy. It offers a cache size of 8 MB with the linking compatibility of a desktop and laptop. It comes with a 5400 RPM spindle speed and of course, 24 hours operation is a must.

We recommend you read 15000 rpm hard drive vs SDD.

Is SATA 3 HDD Worth It?

SATA 3 is better than SATA 2 as it offers better transfer and storing ability of data. With a data transfer speed of  6Gbit per second, and a bandwidth capacity of 600 MB per second, SATA 3 HDD is worth buying. With the feature of backward compatibility, it also has the Native Command Queuing attribute. 

SATA 3 is the latest version of SATA having the most advanced features and is among the most reliable among all versions of SATA. Let’s see the best recommended SATA HDDs. 

1. Seagate BarraCuda 8TB Internal Hard Drive HDD 

Using BarraCuda internal Hard drives, this SATA3 HDD is the most reliable. If you are a pro gamer, looking for the best HDD then it’s the best choice. It provides a digital storage capacity of 8TB and is fully compatible with your laptop and desktop. 

2. Seagate IronWolf 4TB NAS Internal Hard Drive HDD

Wants to have a powerhouse performance then go and grab this SATA 3 HDD. Most reliable and works faster using NAS-optimized hard drives. It also offers compatibility with your business and personal desktop along with a cache size of 64MB. It comes with no downtime, and vibrations, this HDD offers 24 hours operation.

3. Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD

This HDD is compatible with the servers, and storage systems. It is the most reliable and the best for pro gamers, storing the bulk of data with amazing features as well. With a digital storage capacity of 2 TB, this SATA 3 uses BarraCuda internal Hard drives.

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Interchanging SATA 2 HDD With SATA 3 HDD

As we have discussed, all SATA HDDs have backward compatibility, which means SATA 3 interface can be used on SATA 2 and SATA 1 ports. So, we can interchange SATA 2 HDD with SATA 3 HDD. 

The only thing that needs to be remembered is that the SATA 3 will only operate at the speed of the SATA 2 port which is built into your PC. You will experience a slow speed due to the speed restriction of the SATA 2 port.

Can I Use SATA 3 SSD on SATA 2 Motherboard?

The answer is yes, you can use a SATA 3 SSD on a SATA 2 motherboard. This is because a SATA 3 provides 6Gbit per second speed and comes with backward compatibility, so you can use it on SATA 2 motherboard. 

But you will experience a slow performance due to the limited capacity of the SATA 2 motherboard. No doubt, you will get to see many other good and worthy features as compared to your previous SATA 2.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a SATA 2 and SATA 3 hard drive?

The major difference is the data transfer and storing ability of these two hard disk drives. SATA 2 can transfer data at the speed of 3 Gbit per second while SATA 3 can transfer data at a speed of 6Gbit per second. Bandwidth also differs as SATA 3 provides bandwidth which is exactly twice the bandwidth of SATA 2.

Can I connect SATA 2 HDD to SATA 3? 

SATA 3 not only comes with backward compatibility but forward compatibility too, so the answer is yes, you can use a SATA 2 by linking it with a SATA 3 motherboard.

Is SATA 2 enough for HDD?

SATA 2 comes with a data transferability of 3 Gbit per second and with a bandwidth of 300MB. SATA 2 is the best and is enough too as it meets the normal disk requirements.

Is SATA 3 enough for HDD? 

SATA 3 doesn’t give any performance increase as it can’t max out a SATA 2 connection. On the other hand, SATA 2 is the best as it comes with a data transferability of 3 Gbit per second and with a bandwidth of 300MB. SATA 2 is enough since it meets the normal disk requirements.

Should I get an HDD or SSD?

You should go for buying an SSD as it consumes less power than HDD. The battery stays long-lasting and has much more data transferability than that of an HDD. Also, an SSD takes very little time to start as compared to a hard disk drive.

Final Words

We have researched the differences between the SATA 2 and SATA 3 and we have come up with the above-discussed information. SATA 2 is good to use but, a better version always gives us some more amazing features.

Due to the backward compatibility feature of SATA 3, we recommend you use a SATA 3 HDD as it can work well with your previous SATA 2 motherboard.

Also, when the major concern is acquiring the best storing and transferring capability of data then you must go for using a SATA 3. Many modern computers use SATA 3 now since it is the most advanced hard disk drive in the market.

If you have any doubts then feel free to ask them in the comments section below. We will be more than happy to help you out.