Yoodley is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
SATA 6Gb/s (also known as SATA 3.0 and SATA III) is an interface that helps a device’s hosting bus adapters connect to storage devices like hard drives, solid-state drives, etc.
As its name suggests, it has a transfer speed of up to 6 gigabits per second, roughly 600 megabytes per second. SATA 3.0 is the latest version of the SATA interface and is twice as fast as its previous version SATA 2.0, which clocked at 3 gigabits per second. This article will discuss everything you need to know about SATA 6Gb/s.
What Does SATA Stand For?
SATA stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. The name perfectly defines the product as the interface creates a medium between hosting bus adapters of a computer/device and storage devices.
SATA 6Gb/s is the latest installment to the SATA interface and comes with high transfer speeds of up to 600 megabytes per second. It was first released in 2009 and remains to be the fastest interface even today. Storage devices like solid-state drives and hard drives use this interface to connect to computer systems.
SATA vs. PATA
Before SATA came into existence in 2003, Parallel ATA (PATA) was the most commonly used interface for connecting storage devices. It has a transfer speed of 133 megabytes per second. For connectivity, PATA used wide data cables and connectors, which would take up a lot of cabinet space, hindering airflow and cabinet space for other components.
The first generation of SATA was released with 150 megabytes per second, which was already faster than the PATA interface. Moreover, it used narrow serial cables and connectors for connectivity, allowing more room for component addition and better cooling due to having more space for proper airflow.
SATA’s first installment was already ahead of PATA in various departments. However, the former made the latter completely obsolete with its later installments, as SATA 2.0 and SATA 3.0 provided 300 megabytes and 600 megabytes of transfer speeds, respectively. However, PATA-based products are sold today for devices designed to run on the interface. Though very few devices operate on the network today.
A Brief History of the SATA Interface
The SATA interface first came into light in 2003, revolutionizing computer technology due to its high transfer speeds backed by comparatively compact hardware. The interface has seen three revisions since its release: SATA I, SATA II, and SATA III (SATA 6Gb/s). Let us discuss each of them.
1. SATA I
Released in 2003, SATA I (SATA 1.0) was the first version of the SATA interface. It was released as a technology that would go down to change computers completely. Previously, devices used the PATA interface with a clunky hardware setup and transfer speeds of 133 megabytes per second.
With SATA 1.0, you could get transfer speeds of 150 megabytes per second. Though the speed difference may seem marginal right now, it was a huge deal back in the day. The SATA interface also used narrow serial cables and connectors, providing more room for airflow and adding more hardware components. Optical drives like CDs and DVDs were one of the primary users of SATA 1.0.
2. SATA II
SATA II (SATA 2.0) hit the market in 2004, just one year after the first installment. At this point, SATA had already outclassed the PATA interface, with manufacturers slowly switching all their models to the former. The second installment added even more strength to SATA’s momentum as it doubled the transfer speed of the first installment at 300 megabytes per second.
SATA 2.0 introduced the concept of Native Command Queuing (NCQ), a technology that allows the interface to read and write multiple commands simultaneously. The technology paved the way for multitasking and high processing speeds to transfer data fast. Mechanical hard drives used SATA 2.0.
3. SATA III
SATA III was introduced in 2009 and is the latest version of the SATA interface. During its release, the SATA interface had more or less made PATA completely obsolete. Surprisingly, the interface again doubled on its predecessor, providing 600 megabytes per second of transfer speed. It also consumes less power than previous generations. Modern-day solid-solid state drives are examples of SATA III devices.
There have been more revisions to SATA III since its release in the form of SATA 3.1 and SATA 3.2. These revisions mainly changed the hardware department of the system with slight additions to the software as well. However, no changes were made to transfer speeds.
Is SATA Compatible Forward and Backward?
All SATA products are compatible backward and forward. However, if you connect an older device with a newer port or a newer device with an old port, you will see slower-than-average speeds.
You can connect SATA I devices using SATA II and SATA III hardware. However, it is tough to find SATA I devices and ports nowadays as they are ancient technology. Moreover, the interface is capped at 150 megabytes per second, which will go slower due to a bottleneck caused by the later hardware.
SATA II, the intermediate version between the first and the latest iteration, has the advantage of being compatible with both newer and older devices. However, it is challenging to find SATA II ports and devices in the market today, as SATA III has entirely replaced them. Its improved performance and faster data transfer rates make it the preferred choice for most modern computing devices.
SATA III is compatible with all previous installments and all later versions of SATA III (SATA 3.1 and 3.2). Computer manufacturers have been using SATA III ports for over a decade. Therefore, a scenario where you might need backward compatibility is rare, although possible.
Is It Worth Upgrading to SATA 6Gb/s?
Having the latest technology at your disposal is always beneficial. However, whether the upgrade is worthwhile is a different question. SATA 3.0 provides high transfer speeds of 6Gb/S (600 megabytes per second) that are only best utilized by solid-state drives.
If you use older hardware, you may not need SATA 3.0. For example, hard drives are capped at roughly 200 megabytes per second of transfer speeds. Therefore, they are easily handled even by SATA 2.0, which operates at 300 megabytes per second of speed.
Check out the video below to learn the difference between multiple hard drives available these days.
SATA 6Gb/s is the latest version of the SATA interface, a medium to connect a device’s hosting bus adapters with storage devices to transfer data. It is the fastest storage device interface and has been since 2009. We discussed everything about SATA 6Gb/s in the article above.