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SATA II or SATA III Cable for SSD

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August 24, 2012 6:40:25 PM

Hey guys,

I have been searching around the Internet for hours now and all I've found is ambiguous answers so I thought I'd ask the specific question I'm searching for.

Basically, I bought a new SSD (hooray!) but it didn't come with a cable. I told my friend about it and he said he had spares so it's all good right? Well I started wondering if there was a difference in not only the connections of SATA III, but also the cables. I can't find a definite answer.

Do SATA III cables have a higher volume of data transfer than SATA II, or is it only the connectors and not the cable? Hypothetically speaking, if I have a device with SATA III that can actually use the full potential of SATA III (that's where the ambiguity online has come from), and a motherboard with a SATA III connector, would it make a difference if I used a high quality SATA II cable (again, ambiguity arose online from quality) instead of a SATA III cable?

Basically my friend is giving me good quality SATA II cables, but if there is a difference, then I'll just go buy a SATA III cable somewhere (probably online, and have to wait for delivery)
a b G Storage
August 24, 2012 6:50:49 PM

Johmama said:
Hey guys,

I have been searching around the Internet for hours now and all I've found is ambiguous answers so I thought I'd ask the specific question I'm searching for.

Basically, I bought a new SSD (hooray!) but it didn't come with a cable. I told my friend about it and he said he had spares so it's all good right? Well I started wondering if there was a difference in not only the connections of SATA III, but also the cables. I can't find a definite answer.

Do SATA III cables have a higher volume of data transfer than SATA II, or is it only the connectors and not the cable? Hypothetically speaking, if I have a device with SATA III that can actually use the full potential of SATA III (that's where the ambiguity online has come from), and a motherboard with a SATA III connector, would it make a difference if I used a high quality SATA II cable (again, ambiguity arose online from quality) instead of a SATA III cable?


Basically my friend is giving me good quality SATA II cables, but if there is a difference, then I'll just go buy a SATA III cable somewhere (probably online, and have to wait for delivery)


Your SATA II cables are fine, see this from SATA article on Wikipedia (subsection SATA 3.0):

"In general, the enhancements are aimed at improving quality of service for video streaming and high-priority interrupts. In addition, the standard continues to support distances up to one meter. The newer speeds may require higher power consumption for supporting chips, although improved process technologies and power management techniques may mitigate this. The later specification can use existing SATA cables and connectors, although it was reported in 2008 that some OEMs were expected to upgrade host connectors for the higher speeds.[12]"


The only difference I know that has changed since SATA 1.0 is the inclusion of locking mechanisms on SATA III cables, although this was already there on some cables in SATA II. As well the motherboard ports were fitted with a plastic rim to prevent accidental torque related breakages of the connector heads, which were a problem occasionally prior.
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August 24, 2012 6:52:18 PM

Johmama said:
Hey guys,

I have been searching around the Internet for hours now and all I've found is ambiguous answers so I thought I'd ask the specific question I'm searching for.

Basically, I bought a new SSD (hooray!) but it didn't come with a cable. I told my friend about it and he said he had spares so it's all good right? Well I started wondering if there was a difference in not only the connections of SATA III, but also the cables. I can't find a definite answer.

Do SATA III cables have a higher volume of data transfer than SATA II, or is it only the connectors and not the cable? Hypothetically speaking, if I have a device with SATA III that can actually use the full potential of SATA III (that's where the ambiguity online has come from), and a motherboard with a SATA III connector, would it make a difference if I used a high quality SATA II cable (again, ambiguity arose online from quality) instead of a SATA III cable?

Basically my friend is giving me good quality SATA II cables, but if there is a difference, then I'll just go buy a SATA III cable somewhere (probably online, and have to wait for delivery)


SATAIII cable is 6GBs compared to STAT II's 3Gbs, with STAT II your SSD read/write will be capped at 270mb/s max whereas with SATAIII your SSD(depend on the model like Intel 520 or Samsung 830) can get as fast as 520mb/s. Using a SATA II cable for a SSD is like plugging in a USB3.0 device into a USB 2.0 drive, it will work but you aren't maximizing its potential.
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August 24, 2012 7:04:27 PM

Heh, this is what I meant by ambiguity online. Half the people are saying "Yes, it makes a difference" and the other half are saying "No, you're fine."

Not that I don't appreciate the responses, I'm just saying it seems like there is no true answer and it's all speculation. Right now I'm leaning towards me being fine using SATA II, but I just want to be sure. Are there any benchmark tests anywhere to prove either way? I've looked, but can't find any. I can't believe there aren't somewhere...
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August 24, 2012 7:10:16 PM

sherlockwing said:
SATAIII cable is 6GBs compared to STAT II's 3Gbs, with STAT II your SSD read/write will be capped at 270mb/s max whereas with SATAIII your SSD(depend on the model like Intel 520 or Samsung 830) can get as fast as 520mb/s. Using a SATA II cable for a SSD is like plugging in a USB3.0 device into a USB 2.0 drive, it will work but you aren't maximizing its potential.


not exactly true.

if either your drive or your socket are sata2, sata 2 cable is fine.

If you have a sata3 ssd, unless it's very fast, you won't lose much with a sata2 connection. My ssd is SF-2281 w toggle NAND, which is the fastest MLC based you can get. It loses 10-15% throughput on sata2 with a queue depth of 1 or 0. Most 120gb ssd's can't even fully saturate sata2's available bandwidth.

A 240 gb version of my drive would lose significantly more performance, but for most 120gb drives, the difference isn't particularly dramatic.

However, it's not like sata3 cables cost much, and if you have a sata3 ssd and a sata3 socket, you may as well get the appropriate cable.

have fun!
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Best solution

a b G Storage
August 24, 2012 7:17:47 PM

Johmama said:
Heh, this is what I meant by ambiguity online. Half the people are saying "Yes, it makes a difference" and the other half are saying "No, you're fine."

Not that I don't appreciate the responses, I'm just saying it seems like there is no true answer and it's all speculation. Right now I'm leaning towards me being fine using SATA II, but I just want to be sure. Are there any benchmark tests anywhere to prove either way? I've looked, but can't find any. I can't believe there aren't somewhere...


Here is one such benchmark review supporting that there is NO DIFFERENCE between SATA II cables (from 9 years ago) and SATA III cables from 2011:

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/your_sata_cab...



"Let’s first say that when we started this, we were absolutely sure we’d see a difference. Afterall, moving to an authentic SATA 6Gb/s cable cleared up our problems the first time right? Wrong. As we worked our way through the first few cables, we began to realize that the SATA I/O did its work when it first put together the Serial ATA spec for cables. There is virtually no difference between a brand-new SATA 6Gb/s marked cable made this year and one produced nearly eight years ago as far as performance goes. Expensive cable, cheap cable; long cable, short cable—none of it seemingly made a real difference. If anything, the minor variances in performance can be attributed to variances in the benchmark or the SSD."

Unlike PATA, the SATA signalling is differential, so it is not nearly as susceptible to noise as before, since any common mode noise picked up are rejected via differences between the + and - signal lines. Gotta love that balanced (differential) design.
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August 24, 2012 7:57:41 PM

Best answer selected by Johmama.
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August 24, 2012 8:02:43 PM

Maxx_Power said:
Here is one such benchmark review supporting that there is NO DIFFERENCE between SATA II cables (from 9 years ago) and SATA III cables from 2011:

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/your_sata_cab...


This is exactly what I've been looking for. Someone to actually go out and test this. Thank you.
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a b G Storage
August 24, 2012 8:38:52 PM

Johmama said:
This is exactly what I've been looking for. Someone to actually go out and test this. Thank you.



No problem. Glad I could help.

Cheers.
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April 20, 2013 8:08:34 PM

Honestly dude, I believe there is no real physical difference in the cable design, so that is where the "yes it is fine" comes in.

And then there is the second response, where they are simply reiterating what they have Googled about metrics which are associated with the theoretical upper bounds of the two difference specs...

While technically correct for the interface, is not correct for the cable itself.

The specs are associated with the controllers on the host, and the device, and say nothing about making a new cable.

This is not the same argument as USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0, where USB 3.0 "B" ends are significantly different than common USB 1.0, and 2.0 variants.

I have a 256 GB SanDisk SSD (SATA III), used as the OS device, and I forgot for about three months that I needed to purchase another 90-degree-bend "SATA III" cable. I ran out while using the supply of four, that I had purchased originally, to connect my RAID devices, in the same box. I noticed no difference after I finally remembered to purchase the right-angle cable, upon installing an H80 and finding that I had an out-of-place cable installed on that ssd. (It wasn't going in the same direction as the other cables on the raid devices.) I decided to migrate some data off another ssd that I was about to put into my mobile development workstationi to replace the slow 5400rpm 1tb drive, and read/write was no different.

I was using dd to migrate whole filesystems and saw no difference on the drives that I connected with the spare, flat oriented, legacy SATA cables.

I had to do this for two 256GB drives, and a 120GB drive and no real different between the different cables.

I believe that the labelling of SATA III cables is merely a marketing ploy, and just makes us feel all worm and upgrade-fuzzy, as consumers.

Johmama said:
Heh, this is what I meant by ambiguity online. Half the people are saying "Yes, it makes a difference" and the other half are saying "No, you're fine."

Not that I don't appreciate the responses, I'm just saying it seems like there is no true answer and it's all speculation. Right now I'm leaning towards me being fine using SATA II, but I just want to be sure. Are there any benchmark tests anywhere to prove either way? I've looked, but can't find any. I can't believe there aren't somewhere...


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