6Gb/s HDD on 3Gb/s SATA motherboard

After completing my home built system, there's one last thing that I'm conscious of needing to upgrade fairly soon.

My PC currently sports a horribly old 168GB HDD that is slow, noisy and all round inefficient. So I first started looking into an SSD as a replacement, maybe something like 120GB SSD. But I only wanted one to combat the slow issue. However, I recently thought about it more and realised that maybe what I needed was a high capacity, fast, HDD. This way I could get the high capacity I very much need for all of my games and software but also possibly get the speed of an SSD. I also heard that HDDs last longer than SSDs and SSDs are ultimately not worth what you pay.

So, my next task was to go onto my motherboard manufactorers page and see what SATA version I have, turns out it's "Sata 3Gb/s". So then I started looking around for HDDs. Found one that stuck out, a 1TB WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX. It's an awesome size compared to what I'm running and, as stated in the specs, runs at 6Gb/s.

So here's my overall question, if I put this 6Gb/s HDD into my 3Gb/s machine, will it ensure I get a solid 3Gb/s read and write speed all of the time as it's double what my motherboard allows?


Full PC Specs:
AMD FX-4100 @ 3.6Ghz
16GB DDR3 RAM @ 1333Hz
Asus 560 Ti DIRECTCUII @ 930Hz
Asus M5A78L-M/USB3


Ps. In order to cut out the slavish unhelpful comments, I know little about HDDs and would appreciate it if you could refrain from abuse as seen so often in this forum.
10 answers Last reply
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  1. Are you talking about...? The speeds given by the manufacturer?

    Because on all my Western Digital drives I was able to see Speeds on 6Gb/s or 3Gb/s? So, I'm un-sure of what exactly you are looking for as an answer?

    Nothing as far as HDD guarantees you any speeds, routine maintenance, clean up, partitioning, and regular tasks need to be performed. The first 30% of the HDD always being the fastest.

    But LOOK at Western Digital's site... you should be able to find speeds for 3Gb/s which will not be anywhere close to that 3 gigabyte term... just so you know, nor will 6Gb/s. I believe your actual speeds are determined by HDD and MB/Power Supply? I would assume those would be the determining factors. Just because something is double in terminology, doesn't mean that you're getting double anything.

    http://www.thinkcomputers.org/western-digital-caviar-black-1tb-wd1002faex-sata-6gbs-hard-drive-review/
  2. Anonymous said:
    Are you talking about...? The speeds given by the manufacturer?

    Because on all my Western Digital drives I was able to see Speeds on 6Gb/s or 3Gb/s? So, I'm un-sure of what exactly you are looking for as an answer?

    Nothing as far as HDD guarantees you any speeds, routine maintenance, clean up, partitioning, and regular tasks need to be performed. The first 30% of the HDD always being the fastest.

    But LOOK at Western Digital's site... you should be able to find speeds for 3Gb/s which will not be anywhere close to that 3 gigabyte term... just so you know, nor will 6Gb/s. I believe your actual speeds are determined by HDD and MB/Power Supply? I would assume those would be the determining factors. Just because something is double in terminology, doesn't mean that you're getting double anything.

    http://www.thinkcomputers.org/western-digital-caviar-black-1tb-wd1002faex-sata-6gbs-hard-drive-review/



    Thanks for your reply. I guess I was using terminology more than the actual facts. Sorry for any confusion, but what I was asking is that: My motherboard is only capable of speeds UP TO 3Gb/s. However, the HDD is built for 6Gb/s. So, I was wondering, putting an HDD that was faster than what my motherboard can cope with could mean that it runs at 3Gb/s all of the time as that's what my motherboard allows?

    I hope that makes more sense.
  3. Yeah, what I was saying is that... your manufacturer... SHOULD have specifications for the specific speeds the HDD will run at when on a 3Gb/s SATA interface and a 6Gb/s SATA interface... I checked before replying, but... I didn't see it on their site? Maybe Google around a bit... usually as far as I have seen 6Gb/s is about 200MB/s more than 3Gb/s speeds.

    I mean I don't know much about HDD really either other than the specifications I have seen and the information I have read, but I spend probably a year debating and researching before I buy anything, haha. So, out of all the HDD specs I have seen, it usually averages to about that, but I could be completely wrong.

    You having such a fast HDD you are getting/have... I don't think you'll be fine as it's not always the the transfer speed, but the spin speed and the actual hardware itself. Yours gets an average from my memory of this morning of I believe 4ms average latency?

    Which, yeah... 6 vs. 3... you may notice a little difference with some things, but with the cache on the HDD I don't know that you're really going to see a performance difference on either interfaces. That HDD is very fast for a 1TB no doubt.

    I wouldn't want just one hard drive either, because in all possibilities you will eventually have to back it up... 1TB could take a very long time and be a little harder to find a drive capable to hold the image. Just a suggestion. I would maybe see if it's cheaper though to get two 500GB (probably not) though, because the smaller the HDD the less space to go through and work on the arm... theoretically being much quicker.

    Or another thing you could do is get a smaller like 250Gig WD Black if they have them for the OS and a 1TB (partitioned out) for all your junk and data files. With 250Gigs at the end of the drive partitioned for OS back ups?

    Also, make sure you always partition your drives out to small Operating System on the first partition, the less space available the less defragmentation, the quicker the finding the needed information. You don't wanna cram a hard drive full of crap all over the drive as that's more work and wear on the drive... try to keep your OS partition as free of unnecessary stuff as absolutely possible.

    Always remember the smaller the size of a partition the quicker it is to get from the start to the end, I think that goes without saying, but you'd be amazed at the people who have one partition and wonder why their computer slowed down after a year of downloading games, videos and music. :sarcastic:

    Also, these benchmarks show the drastic difference in access times vs. different sizes.
  4. Hard drives can be 6Gb/s "compatible", not 6Gb/s capable.
    No hard drive can spin fast enough to saturate a 6Gb/s port.

    Hard drives that are labeled 6Gb/s have a cache buffer (64MB with the Caviar Black WD1002FAEX) that can transfer its contents at 6Gb/s speeds, but that it.
    Hard drive manufacturers label their drives 6Gb/s mainly for marketing purposes.

    SATA 1 (1.5Gb/s) speeds are from 1MB/s to 150MB/s.
    SATA 2 (3Gb/s) speeds are from 151MB/s to 300MB/s.
    SATA 3 (6Gb/s) speeds are from 301MB/s to 600MB/s.

    The data transfer speed of the Caviar Black WD1002FAEX is 126MB/s.

    Here's the link for the spec sheet of the drive: http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-771434.pdf

    So bottom line: You can connect any model hard drive to a SATA 2 port and you will get full Read/Write speeds from the drive. :)
  5. Dereck47 said:
    Hard drives can be 6Gb/s "compatible", not 6Gb/s capable.
    No hard drive can spin fast enough to saturate a 6Gb/s port.

    Hard drives that are labeled 6Gb/s have a cache buffer (64MB with the Caviar Black WD1002FAEX) that can transfer its contents at 6Gb/s speeds, but that it.
    Hard drive manufacturers label their drives 6Gb/s mainly for marketing purposes.

    SATA 1 (1.5Gb/s) speeds are from 1MB/s to 150MB/s.
    SATA 2 (3Gb/s) speeds are from 151MB/s to 300MB/s.
    SATA 3 (6Gb/s) speeds are from 301MB/s to 600MB/s.

    The data transfer speed of the Caviar Black WD1002FAEX is 126MB/s.

    Here's the link for the spec sheet of the drive: http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/SpecSheet/ENG/2879-771434.pdf

    So bottom line: You can connect any model hard drive to a SATA 2 port and you will get full Read/Write speeds from the drive. :)



    ^ This.
  6. Maximum speed any hard disk can reach is only(?) sata 2 . That is the maximum limit of these spinning devices. U will see newer model mother boards with sata 3 and eventually these will replace all the older sata model. It does not mean that u will get a sata 3 speed by plugging a sata 2 or 1 hard disk. Go and read few hard disk reviews from the net, u will see best possible speed given out by hard disk there.
    All sata ports r backward compatible.
  7. As others have said, the 6 Gb/s HDD will work in your machine, AND in fact it will not work slower than in a machine with a 6Gb/s controller system. Its speed is limited by the mechanics of the spinning drive and head arm movement.

    You should be aware, however, that an SSD DOES perform faster than any HDD by almost 2:1. But you have to decide whether that is worth the high cost of a low-capacity SSD. Personally, I prefer the HDD, but I'm not a gamer into ultimate speed.
  8. Yup, everyone else was a little more succinct and to the point with the facts. ;)

    Paperdoc said:
    You should be aware, however, that an SSD DOES perform faster than any HDD by almost 2:1. But you have to decide whether that is worth the high cost of a low-capacity SSD. Personally, I prefer the HDD, but I'm not a gamer into ultimate speed.


    Okay, so here's my thing question then... SSD's are waaay faster, but would you technically get any noticeable speed improvements in gaming? Without the use of some kind of DiskRAM?

    I mean, loading the program would be much faster and loading information (to get to more gameplay) faster default, but you have to be pretty well off to afford the space for your big games to all fit on. So, without a DiskRAM utilized your gameplay would not be any faster, just loading the game and time takes to getting to play would improve?

    As far as I know, that's the only advantage as far as program usage (after loading) going without utilizing some of it as if it were RAM? So, without the utilizing it as RAM the only advantages would be: load times, power consumption that's almost nothing, noise level is pretty much nothing at all, and no worries about fragmentation. Like a .1ms access time is like I click and it's there pretty much there, but after that... I don't see the performance advantage?
  9. peptobismal, I'm not going to answer because I don't know. I don't have practical experience as a gamer. So let's hope someone who does can answer your points.
  10. Anonymous said:
    Yup, everyone else was a little more succinct and to the point with the facts. ;)


    Okay, so here's my thing question then... SSD's are waaay faster, but would you technically get any noticeable speed improvements in gaming? Without the use of some kind of DiskRAM?

    I mean, loading the program would be much faster and loading information (to get to more gameplay) faster default, but you have to be pretty well off to afford the space for your big games to all fit on. So, without a DiskRAM utilized your gameplay would not be any faster, just loading the game and time takes to getting to play would improve?

    As far as I know, that's the only advantage as far as program usage (after loading) going without utilizing some of it as if it were RAM? So, without the utilizing it as RAM the only advantages would be: load times, power consumption that's almost nothing, noise level is pretty much nothing at all, and no worries about fragmentation. Like a .1ms access time is like I click and it's there pretty much there, but after that... I don't see the performance advantage?



    The only advantage to an SSD with gaming is load times. In fact that's the overall advantage to an SSD. It increases system responiveness overall to an amazing level. Mechanical hard drives have long been the main bottleneck in a PC. The SSD removes that bottleneck. Everything you click on happens almost instantly.

    I have had my Vertex2 for right at 2 years now and even though it's "slow" by modern SSD standards it's still amazingly fast compared to any mechanical drives and I always ran RAID 0 for my primary drives before I got the SSD. Even in RAID mechanical drives just can not compare. I will never not have an SSD again.

    I think you are confused about the benefits of a RAM disk. Even with a RAM disk gameplay would not be faster.
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