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seeker
04-29-08, 10:31 PM
I had always thought that all SATA cables were alike, at least in terms of their performance ratings, but after looking at some ads, it appears otherwise. Some cables specify SATA II and others just SATA I...like this one:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=698685&CatId=84

I see no obvious external means of identification, unless there is a tag, so how can one be certain if a cable is right or not? I just got a new MB which is SATA II, but the cable that came with it looks exactly like the one that I already have, which came with SATA I hardware.

I also noticed that there are some cables that have external shielding. I had never thought about it before, but is an unshielded SATA cable subject to corruption or data loss without being shielded?

einstein_314
04-29-08, 11:07 PM
There is NO difference between SATA I and II cables. They are identical. Sure shielding would be good I guess....but I don't think it's an issue in 99.9% of applications.

nekrosoft13
04-29-08, 11:09 PM
einstein is right, there is no such thing as SATA II cable.

seeker
04-29-08, 11:14 PM
I was thinking the same thing, until I came across the ad that I linked above. If all SATA cables were capable of 300 MBs, then why would a manufacturer limit their specification to only 150 MBs? That would be very poor marketing.

CaptNKILL
04-29-08, 11:17 PM
SATA II standard cables have clips so they are more secure, SATA I cables do not... as the picture on tiger direct shows.

The speed should be the same though.

mailman2
04-29-08, 11:22 PM
I believe SATA II rated cables may conform to tighter specs. Just made better.

Monoprice actually sells "SATA II" cables too -
http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10226

seeker
04-29-08, 11:27 PM
SATA II standard cables have clips so they are more secure, SATA I cables do not... as the picture on tiger direct shows.

The speed should be the same though.
Although locking clips are probably more common on newer technology, they are not exclusive to only SATA II, as can be seen here:

http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/pName/sata-serial-ata-cable-locking-latches-18-inch-uv-blue/cName/cables-and-adapters

These are only rated at 150 MBs also.

Buckeye
04-29-08, 11:42 PM
Seeker ask lots of SATA questions :)

seeker
04-29-08, 11:51 PM
If you don't ask questions you can't learn much.

CaptNKILL
04-30-08, 12:15 AM
Although locking clips are probably more common on newer technology, they are not exclusive to only SATA II, as can be seen here:

http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/pName/sata-serial-ata-cable-locking-latches-18-inch-uv-blue/cName/cables-and-adapters

These are only rated at 150 MBs also.
There really isn't such a thing as a "sata II cable". When the 3gbit standard came out (incorrectly labeled SATA II) most manufacturers updated the cables because the originals came loose often.

Old style cables = no clips

Improved cables = clips

You can still buy either, but the ones with the clips are a newer design. The only differences are the clips. There is no SATA1\SATA2 cable and they are all capable of 3gbit transfer rate.

seeker
04-30-08, 12:24 AM
CaptNKILL,

I certainly can't say that you are wrong, but it isn't supported by the links that I gave. Can you provide a link to something that supports what you said?

CaptNKILL
04-30-08, 12:58 AM
CaptNKILL,

I certainly can't say that you are wrong, but it isn't supported by the links that I gave. Can you provide a link to something that supports what you said?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA#SATA_3.0_Gbit.2Fs
A SATA data cable rated for 1.5 Gbit/s will handle current second-generation SATA 3.0 Gbit/s drives without any loss of sustained and burst data transfer performance.

Most stores will put whatever they please on the specs for cables. People generally don't care too much and there is a chance they will fall for it and spend a few more dollars on a "SATA II" cable thinking it'll double their transfer speed.

seeker
04-30-08, 01:28 AM
CaptNKILL,

I'm not certain if I'm being the Devil's advocate, or that I simply missed something in the Wikipedia link that you gave, but it appeared to me that the primary thing that limits the actual transfer rate is the harddrives themselves, not the cables. That may seem to agree with what you have already said...but not exactly. Yes, it does appear that a cable can be either SATA I or SATA II and get the same transfer rate on a given harddrive, but that is because that the harddrives provide less than the rating of a SATA I cable, not that a SATA I cable is capable of transfering 3g of data. If that is true, then it probably doesn't matter what the cable is rated at, unless harddrives improve. But to split hairs, there still appears to be a difference between these cables...if their ratings can be believed. Since the difference in price is so little, I can't see why one should buy those only rated at SATA I. Perhaps I'm just biting on the bait.

EDIT: I also noticed that the article answered the other part of my question regarding shielded cables. Apparently external cables are required to be shielded, but internal cables are not. However, the shielded cables that I read about said nothing about being for external, nor did they say anything about the minor differences in the connectors, so apparently shielded internal cables are also available. Your article said that SATA cable are not as subject to noise as are PATA cables, but it would appear that the shielding might offer a slight improvement.

CaptNKILL
04-30-08, 01:33 AM
CaptNKILL,

I'm not certain if I'm being the Devil's advocate, or that I simply missed something in the Wikipedia link that you gave, but it appeared to me that the primary thing that limits the actual transfer rate is the harddrives themselves, not the cables. That may seem to agree with what you have already said...but not exactly. Yes, it does appear that a cable can be either SATA I or SATA II and get the same transfer rate on a given harddrive, but that is because that the harddrives provide less than the rating of a SATA I cable. If that is true, then it probably doesn't matter what the cable is rated at, unless harddrives improve. But to split hairs, there still appears to be a difference between these cables...if their ratings can be believed. Since the difference in price is so little, I can't see why one should buy those only rated at SATA I. Perhaps I'm just biting on the bait.
You may be right, but I wouldn't bother spending more on a SATA II cable until you read something that says they are actually different than SATA I cables.

I've looked around the web quite a bit and I can't find a damn thing. Its strange really.

Other than speculation like ours and web stores trying to sell you something, there aren't many google results related to sata cables.

EDIT: I just found this, and its exactly what I said earlier:

http://www.overclock.net/faqs/99397-info-there-difference-between-sata-sata2.html
They are identical except for a locking mechanism on more up to date cable designs. The sata I\II designation by stores is purely marketing.

seeker
04-30-08, 01:47 AM
CaptNKILL,

The link that you gave in your edit is interesting, but even it allows that a cable with a higher transfer rating might do better at burst rates. I really do not know just how significant that actually is, but I imagine that it would only be measurable with a harddrive benchmarking program. Still it is something. In any case, this thread has given me some perspective on the matter.

CaptNKILL
04-30-08, 01:49 AM
CaptNKILL,

The link that you gave in your edit is interesting, but even it allows that a cable with a higher transfer rating might do better at burst rates. I really do not know just how significant that actually is, but I imagine that it would only be measurable with a harddrive benchmarking program. Still it is something. In any case, this thread has given me some perspective on the matter.
Err... no, it clearly states that there are NO 1.5gbit cables. They are all the same design, therefore they are all 3gbit. Stores advertise them differently to boost sales of more expensive cables.

Directly from Seagate:
There is no such thing as SATA rated at 150mb/s or rated at 300mb/s. It is
just SATA cable. Don't get confused by the marketing definitions.
Sincerely,

Alexander C.
Seagate Technical Support