Hi all,

I'm looking to replace my hard disk, which is a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB.

My friend told me to get a SATA HDD, not a SATA-II. What is the difference between the two? And is my old HDD a SATA or SATA-II?

The new HDD I'm looking at is a Seagate 7200.12 ST3500418AS, which the store assistant told me is a SATA-II. However, the Seagate website labels both as SATA only.

I'm afraid that I'll buy a HDD which is incompatible with my system, especially since I'm going to install Windows 7 on it and I previously had the problem of Windows (Vista) setup not recognizing my hard drive. Would the new HDD be compatible?

Thank you.

5 answers Last reply
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  1. There have been three versions of SATA:

    --> SATA Revision 1.0 (1.5Gbit/sec)
    --> SATA Revision 2.0 (3Gbit/sec)
    --> SATA Revision 3.0 (6Gbit/sec)

    SATA drives are upwards and downwards compatible with the SATA ports on a motherboard or disk controller. So a SATA Rev 1.0 drive will work with a SATA Rev 2.0 port, and vice versa. There's the occasional mismatch - most drives include a jumper you can use to force it to a lower SATA level in that unlikely event.

    The drives you quoted are SATA Rev 2.0 drives, as are most drives manufactured today. If a current drive just says "SATA" with no qualifier, chances are it's SATA Rev 2.0.

    SATA Rev 3.0 is quite new and products that use it are starting to be introduced. Hard drives that use SATA Rev 3.0 are usually advertised as such, often with the phrase "6Gb/sec SATA" or something similar. But for hard drives the increased protocol speed is irrelevant because the disk itself doesn't even get close to the limit of SATA Rev 2.0 speeds. SATA Rev 2.0 is even good enough for most SSDs - there are only a handful of the very most recent and high peformance ones that actually benefit from SATA Rev 3.0.
  2. Well posted sminlal -I don't know why your friend would advise against SATA II, unless your board will not support it.

    Honestly, mechanical drives (non-SSDs) do not saturate the interface anyway.
  3. sminlal's got it right. Your friend must have been referring to a problem a FEW people have had. In the SATA system, when SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drives are connected to older original SATA (1.5 Gb/s) controllers the drive is supposed to recognize the situation and slow itself down to the controller's speed. But sometimes that fails. Seagate, WD and a few other makers have built a good solution into their drives for this particular case. A jumper can be placed on a pair of pins of the back edge of the drive to force a SATA II drive to behave like the slower older type. In fact, for a while (maybe still?) Seagate was shipping all their SATA II drives with the jumper installed, and people who knew their controllers were faster SATA II standard were supposed to remove the jumper. Just a note of warning: jumpers had been used for some things on older IDE drives and people got used to adjusting them at that time. On the new SATA drives the jumpers are used for entirely different things. You should adjust the one for SATA communication speed if necessary, but do NOT change any others unless you really know what you're doing.

    For exact details on how to set the jumper on a Seagate drive, see here:
  4. Thank you all for the replies. The jumper has indeed been set on my old HDD. It looks like a small block fitted over the 2 pins. So if I do have to set the jumper and the new HDD's jumper isn't already set, do I just (carefully) remove the "block" from the old HDD and put it over the pins in the new HDD?

    Sorry if these questions seem too easy for the experts here, but I have no experience in hardware at all. :)
  5. Yep, that's all it will take.

    Try the new drive without the jumper first, it's most likely to work just fine.

    If you need the jumper, check the label on the drive to make sure you put it in the right place. There's no guarantee that the two drives will have the same layout for the jumper pins.
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