How to Get SATA 6.0Gb/s (SATA Revision 3.0)

SATA 6.0Gb/s (or SATA Revision 3.0) is a new computer standard that is definitely beginning to make inroads into new products.  Hard drives from a number of manufacturers that use the SATA 6.0Gb/s interface are already available.  SATA 6.0Gb/s in solid state drives (SSD) is highly desirable because the increase in performance provided by this new standard lets consumers take the most advantage of the high performance of the SSD drives.

Backward compatibility of SATA 6.0Gb/s devices with the original SATA and SATA Revision 2.0 means that these new drives will work when connected to any SATA interface.   However, to take advantage of the full performance of the new SATA spec, you’ll need a matching interface.

So – how do you get SATA 6.0Gb/s  for your computer?

Desktop computers often come with extra drive bays in which to hold the added drives.  Desktop computers also often come with extra slots for expansion cards.  Perhaps the easiest way to get a SATA 6.0Gb/s interface into your organization’s desktop computers is to use an expansion card.   These cards, available in versions that use a PCI-E connection, and other versions that use a PCI slot, are inserted in the appropriate slot on the motherboard.  The expansion card will have one or more SATA Revision 3.0 plugs, into which you plug hard drives and other peripherals.

SATA 3.0 ports, 6.0Gb/sOn some cards, the plastic plug is a different color to indicate that it’s a SATA 6.0Gbps plug.  Motherboards and desktop computers that include SATA 6.0Gb/s ports may also use a different port color for this higher speed connector.   Using a different color for the SATA 6.0Gbps cable (in some cases, the cables are grey, in contrast to the usual red color of traditional SATA cables), and a unique color for the SATA Revision 3.0 plug make it easier to assure that consumers can distinguish between the new and old technologies.

During the computer industry’s migration to SATA 6.0Gb/s, new motherboards that include SATA Revision 3.0 built onto the board are becoming available.  Motherboards and computer systems will include SATA Revision 3.0 ports that will enable higher performance disk operations.

Laptop computers will also undoubtedly include the higher speed SATA interface.  In these computers the slight performance advantage of connecting a fast hard drive to a faster controller will be obvious to many users.  The improved power management inherent in SATA 3 will increase battery run times as well.

If the last decades of computer history are any indicator, computer manufacturers will rapidly incorporate this new technology onto motherboards and drive makers will be building hard disk drives to support it.  This is, in part, because computer sales are often based on performance – and SATA 6.0Gb/s enables higher data throughputs that may equate directly to increased sales (or, conversely, to avoid sales lost because a company’s product DOESN’T have the increased performance).

With the increased availability of SATA 6.0Gb/s devices, the eventual move by organizations and individuals to systems with these interfaces will accelerate.   The dropping price of Solid State Drives will also help push adoption forward, because of the high speeds they can deliver when connected to SATA Revision 3.0.

Mark Brownstein is a technology journalist and technology consultant who specializes in explaining and interpreting new technologies, and clarifying how to integrate these new products into current systems. He has been Editor-In-Chief at computer technology and networking publications, has held significant editorial positions at major technology magazines, and is a frequent contributor to various technology magazines. He has written seven books. He is Microsoft Certified, and spends much of his time testing hardware and software products, running his own networks, and learning the best ways to get computer systems running and to keep them running.

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