Many beginners are confused about the compatibility between SATA drives, SATA cables, and ports, and this article will explain all these compatible factors.
There are three revisions of SATA (SATA 1, SATA 2 & SATA 3), and all the SATA revisions are backward and forward-compatible. But you will see noticeable differences in the speed if you use different revisions of SATA drives to different ports.
When it comes to SATA cable compatibility, then there is no such difference in the cables because they have not changed with the SATA interface revisions.
Below, it is explained what speed you will get by using different versions of the SATA interface and cables.
SATA Data Cable Compatibility
Before knowing the SATA cable’s compatibility, we must learn about the different SATA versions and their speed. So, let’s dive deeper into this-
SATA is an interface that allows our storage drives, especially (hard drives, SSDs, and DVD drives) to be connected to the computer’s motherboard. It uses one DATA cable to transfer data and one Power cable to supply power.
Multiple SATA interface revisions have been developed to allow for increased capacity and bandwidth. Here are the revisions-
- SATA 1: The first revision, SATA 1 (developed in 2003), and its data transfer rate was 1.5 Gb/s(150 Mb/s). According to some experts, the ports of SATA 1 on the motherboard were feeble and didn’t have any locking system initially. Hence, the connection got lost when the motherboard got shaken.
- SATA 2: This is the 2nd revision of SATA and was developed in (2004); its data transfer rate was 3Gb/s (300 Mb/s). This 2nd revision was better in terms of durability, locking mechanism, and speed than the previous version. This version of SATA was enough for a 7200RPM hard drive, but it will bottleneck with the speed of SSDs.
- SATA 3: This is the 3rd & current version of SATA, released in (2009). Its data transfer rate is 6Gb/s (600Mb/s), two times faster than SATA 2 and four times faster than SATA 1.
Now, let’s dive into the main point, the compatibility of SATA-
There is no need not worry about SATA interface compatibility. SATA is entirely forward and backward-compatible, allowing us to connect different SATA drives revisions to the different SATA ports. But the data transfer rate will be scaled down to the highest common bandwidth between the drive and the port.
Let’s understand the difference in the speed by taking examples-
If you connect a SATA 3 SSD whose maximum bandwidth is 600 Mb/s to a SATA 1 port on a motherboard whose max bandwidth is 150mb/s, it will work fine, but the data will transfer at the speed of 150 Mb/s.
The same thing will happen if you connect a SATA 2 SSD whose max bandwidth is 300mb/s to a SATA 3 port whose max bandwidth is 600 Mb/s; data will transfer at the speed of 300mb/s (not 600mb/s).
SATA Power Cable Compatibility
All the 15 pins SATA power cables equipped with the Power Supply are compatible with the storage devices like hard disk drives and SSDs. So, you don’t have to worry about the SATA power cable revisions.
You can buy any new hard drive and SSD from the market, and you can install them into your system and provide the necessary power to it from your power supply via the SATA power cable that comes with your PSU.
If you have an old Power Supply that doesn’t have the Power cable left, then you can use the SATA splitter cables or Molex to SATA adapters. I wrote a complete guide on connecting multiple drives to one SATA cable.
Another thing you must remember is that in recent times PC builders are mostly purchasing modular Power Supplies with all the detachable cables, including the SATA cables.
So, don’t try to replace your SATA power cable with another Power Supply cable because Power Supply has different modules, and SATA power cables are not interchangeable.
Suppose you have to replace the PSU SATA power cable for any reason; in that case, you must check the model and spec carefully and then buy the cables because manufacturers wire their PSU cables differently from one another. If you are using aftermarket cables or cables from another PSU, then it can become risky for your system.
So, you have to pick the appropriate cables; otherwise, it could damage your Power Supply, motherboard, and other systems components.
Are All SATA Cables Compatible with SATA 3?
All SATA interfaces are backward & forward-compatible, and it doesn’t matter what cables you use (cables don’t matter). Which version of motherboard SATA ports you have and which revision of the SATA storage device you use matters the most.
Based on these two factors, you will get your data transfer speed.
At the end of this article, I want to summarize everything for you; the SATA interfaces are forward & backward-compatible, and the SATA cables (data & power cable) have nothing to do with compatibility.
I hope this article helps you to know SATA compatibility. Keep following this blog regularly to learn more about the SATA and different PC cables and components.
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