This is a dumb question that I'm fairly certain I know the answer to already, but I'm going to ask it anyway.
I'm planning on picking up a new hard drive this month. Probably a 1TB 7200RPM hdd to throw in my new build. I just ordered the following cable b/c it was $0.99 with free shipping, 18 inches, straight-to-90 degree connectors with metal latches: http://www.meritline.com/straight-to-right-serial-ata-s...
So my question, do I need a "SATA 3.0Gb/s" cable to work with my HDD? For a buck I figured it was worth a shot, plus I'm pretty sure this is fine. But the description made me wonder.
These Serial ATA/SATA cables embrace the new standard of Serial ATA connection, which boasts data transfer speeds of up to 150 Mbps. The Serial ATA/SATA cable connects the system board with any Serial ATA and Serial ATA devices, including hard drives, CD ROM, CDRW and DVD ROM.
Why do they market these things for "SATA I" if they can be used for "SATA II"? Also, I believe there's a typo - shouldn't it say that the cable supports transfer speeds of up to 150 MBps (not Mbps)?
You are right all around. There is no difference in cable design between original and second-generation SATA. And the max speed is 300 MB/s on SATA II, or 3 Gb/s. My only concern is the old "you get what you pay for" adage - if this cable sells cheap, will it perform as well as others (and yes, some are over-priced, too)? You cannot really tell until you use it, so go ahead. It is SUPPOSED to work in this application.
I can't recommend a specific HDD speed test utility, but I'm sure others can - there are several. However, let me caution you on expectations. You will NEVER see an average data transfer speed of 150 to 300 MB/s when you test a SATA drive. The actual speeds vary to some extent across the drive because of rotational speeds and data density, but they will range in the area from 30 to 100 MB/s, and average over the whole disk surface will probably be from 40 to 80 MB/s. The 150 or 300 numbers in SATA specs are the MAXIMUM BURST data rate, but real-world averages are affected by many things and come out significantly slower. That's OK, because the same realities affect all disk systems. The recent exceptions that manage to beat some of these realities are among the SSD units that have no moving parts.