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Difference Between SATA and SATA 2

sata-diskSATA vs SATA 2

SATA (Serial AT Attachement) is a standard for interfacing high speed devices, mostly hard disk drives, to the motherboard of a computer. It has all but replaced the older Parallel ATA because it presents a lot of advantages like faster speeds and hotswap capability. SATA was later superseded by a newer and better version of the same standard called SATA 2. The biggest difference between the two is in the maximum speed that they allow. SATA 2 is capable of reaching 300MB per second throughput while SATA is only capable of 150MB per second, twice as fast. Another advantage of SATA 2 is in its ability to support multiple devices. With the use of a port multiplier, you can attach up to 15 SATA 2 devices on a single line. On the older SATA interface, you can only attach one on every line.

Although SATA 2 is much faster compared to SATA, we must understand that this is only the maximum speed of the interface and not the hard drives themselves. Conventional hard drives are not able to utilize the maximum speed of even the original SATA interface. It is then a common misconception that conventional mechanical hard drives that utilize SATA 2 are faster than hard drives that use SATA. You can only notice the speed difference when you are using flash based storage media that can operate at much higher speeds, especially when reading the data.

In order to maintain backwards compatibility, SATA 2 devices are capable of negotiating the speed that it operates on. It can fall back to the slower speed of the original SATA if the other does not support SATA 2. But some devices are incapable of conducting this negotiation, thus a lot of SATA 2 devices are equipped with a physical jumper to switch between the two.

Although SATA 2 is much faster, there is really no tangible difference for those who utilize mechanical hard drives. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for the future and its cost is not really a factor.

Summary:
1. SATA 2 is a twice as fast as SATA
2. SATA 2 devices can support up to 15 devices with a port multiplier while the original SATA standard can only support 1 per line
3. Conventional SATA and SATA 2 hard drives operate at the same speed
4. Only flash based storage media can take advantage of the full speed of SATA 2
5. SATA 2 devices can operate at SATA speeds


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