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SATA I, II, and III questions

I am looking at HDDs, was looking at RAIDs for a while but I am not looking at just multiple dicks; and I have been looking into what the levels of backwards compatibility with SATA ports was. I have 6 SATA II and 2 SATA III ports and I want to most effectively use them.

It seems like all levels can fit into the same ports but I have read some people talking about jumpers being needed and some not. So I thought I'd ask as explicitly as I could.

Can a newer SATA (is III) male end go in a SATA I or II socket as is?
Could an older SATA male end go in a newer socket as is?

Or can any combo work and the the comp just compensates?
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  1. Best answer
    SATA III is backwards combatible with SATA II and SATA I, but will perform at lower speeds

    you may have to set some jumpers
  2. ok so a SATA II male in the SATA III connector would work fine then?
  3. yes, you should be fine
  4. Thanks a ton.
  5. Best answer selected by zeuriel.
  6. It IS all supposed to just work. For example, a newer 3.0 Gb/s or 6.0 Gb/s SATA drive is SUPPOSED TO figure out that it is connected to an older slower SATA controller port and automatically set its communication speed to match the port's. VERY often it does just that.

    The one relatively common combination that pops up is: a SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drive connected to an original SATA (1.5 Gb/s) controller port. In SOME of these combinations the SATA II drive fails to slow down automatically and needs to be forced to do it. Some HDD makers allow this by placing a jumper on a particular pin pair on the back edge of the SATA drive. (In fact, at least one HDD maker used to ship their SATA II HDD's with this jumper already installed to be SURE it would work with all SATA ports; you were supposed to remove it if you KNEW your SATA controllers also were SATA II.) Some HDD makers, however, had other methods like using a free downloadable utility to write data to the HDD.

    NOTE that this is virtually the ONLY jumper setting the normal SATA drive user ever needs to adjust. There are NO jumper settings on SATA units for Master or Slave. In fact, in the case of one manufacturer, if you install a jumper on the wrong pin pair it can set the unit to a special mode in which the HDD appears to be dead! (Removing the wrongly-installed jumper fixes it with no harm.) So setting SATA jumpers wrong can actually CAUSE problems, so be careful.
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