SATA II to the Power of 3.0Gb/sec: Three Drives Reviewedby Purav Sanghani on June 25, 2005 7:06 PM EST
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Our overview of the SATA II specification a few days ago provided our readers with some insight on what SATA II was really about. In short, SATA II provides updates to the SATA 1.0 specifications including new features and a possible increase in transfer rates from 1.5Gb/sec to 3.0Gb/sec if drive manufacturers decide to implement these features in their products. The new transfer rates depend on what combination of hardware is used to build a drive such as the port multiplier, port selector, cables, and connectors used in a storage system.
The first drives capable of 3.0Gb/sec transfer rates came to our attention a while back but we wanted to see a few other manufacturers show us their offerings before we dug deeper into the supposed higher speed drives. Hitachi was the first to market the SATA II 3.0Gb/sec drive with Samsung and Western Digital following. Samsung was nice enough to send us a test sample to work with and we picked up a Hitachi and Western Digital model in time.
All drives are, of course, SATA II units capable of 3.0Gb/s. The Samsung and Hitachi drives feature Native Command Queuing while Western Digital has decided to leave the feature out. The SATA II standard does not require any of these features but it is always nice to have them in any newly released drive. Our look at Seagate's Barracudas proved that NCQ has no great effect on regular day-to-day tasks so we are not expecting much from the feature this time around. Let's take a look at our testing methods...
Note: To enable 3.0Gb/sec and/or spread spectrum clocking it is required that we download the Feature Tool from Hitachi GST's website. The Feature Tool is a boot time utility and comes in CD ISO and floppy image format.