Of course, for connecting SATA-based drives (hard drives, solid-state drives and CD/DVD drives) to a computer we need SATA cables. SATA 3 is the current generation of the SATA interface and most drives and cables available today support its maximum data transfer rate of 6Gb/s. Therefore, you may inquire how to tell if a SATA cable is 6Gb?
Typically, it can be determined by the different attributes and features a SATA 6Gb cable provides. This includes 6Gb/s transfer rate, backward compatibility with earlier SATA versions, a locking latch, 90-degree angled connector and durable low-profile construction. A SATA 6Gb cable doesn’t need to have a specific color and that depends on the manufacturer.
We will explore these attributes here and further describe how to get the most out of a SATA 6Gb cable.
We will also explore in detail on how to tell if a SATA cable using different methods.
How to Tell if a SATA Cable is 6Gb?
You may already know that SATA is the predominant interface today for connecting storage devices to motherboard. There exist different generations or versions of the SATA interface i.e. 1, 2 and 3. These versions differ from each other in their maximum data transfer rate.
SATA 3 has a transfer rate of 6Gb/s and is the latest version that’s mostly used today. SATA 1 and SATA 2 have a maximum transfer rate of 1.5Gb/s and 3Gb/s respectively.
Along with drives, SATA cables that are used for establishing connections come in different SATA versions. Most cables available today both offline and online specify SATA version 3, thus supporting a maximum rate of 6Gb/s.
Here we will elaborate on the different characteristics of a SATA 6Gb cable which would help you in identifying and choosing the right one.
Also Read: How does a SATA port look like?
1. 6Gb Transfer Rate and Backwards Compatibility
A SATA 6Gb cable fully supports SATA 3 specifications. It means you will get the maximum data transfer rate of 6 Gb/s when used with a SATA 3 drive and a supporting motherboard.
The cable is also backward compatible with previous generations and supports their rates i.e. 1.5Gb/s and 3Gb/s.
If you have a SATA SSD and you are getting a transfer rate of around 550 MB/s, then you are using a 6 Gb cable.
2. Presence of a Locking Latch
A way of identifying SATA 6Gb cable generally is the presence of a locking metal latch on either one end or both ends of the cable.
The latching seven-pin connectors lock when connected to a supporting SATA port. Its purpose is to ensure a tight-fitting and secure connection all the time. It also prevents accidental disconnection between the storage device and the motherboard.
Most SATA 6Gb cables available today come with the latch feature while older SATA 1.5Gb or SATA 3Gb ones may not have it.
3. 90-degree Angled Connector
A SATA 6Gb cable typically also have a right-angled or left-angled 90-degree SATA connector on one end and a straight connector on the other end. This ensures that the 90-degree connector plugins to your SATA hard drive to reach hard areas and tight spaces.
Like the latch, the angled connector is a convenient feature you will find in SATA 6Gb cables. Note that older models may not have this handy feature.
4. Flat, Low-Profile, and Durable Construction
SATA 6Gb cables have a more low-profile and durable construction as compared to cables of the previous generations. This ensures an improved airflow and less clutter in your computer’s casing, which helps to keep it cool and clean.
Furthermore, a SATA 3 cable has a flat design which helps in avoiding untidy tangles and snags in the casing.
5. Different Lengths
SATA 6Gb cables are available in different lengths that range up to 1 meter. This is a source of more convenience and flexibility as to where to mount a drive in a computer’s case.
The earlier PATA standard used cables that were restricted to 18 inches (0.46 meters).
Do SATA 6Gb Cables have a Specific Color?
Apart from the different ways we looked above that denote a SATA 6Gb cable, a common query rises that’s related to its color. Do SATA 6Gb cables come with a specific color?
The short answer to this question is no because these cables have different colors. Some are red, some blue, some black and so on. It primarily depends on the manufacturer of the cable.
On the other hand, you will find that many cables have black-colored connectors but it’s not necessary for all of them.
Sometime in the older motherboards, you may see both SATA 2 and SATA 3 ports. On these motherboards, the two ports and the cables may be color coded so that it is easier for you to differentiate.
But as it stands, there is not common standard for color code for SATA cable.
Also Read: How to Add More SATA Ports to Motherboard?
Does a SATA 3 Cable Provide a Maximum 6Gb/s Transfer Rate?
Most manufacturers specify the cables according to SATA version i.e. SATA 1, SATA 2 and SATA 3 as stated previously.
It’s important to understand that if you use a SATA 3 cable, then both the drive and the motherboard must support SATA 3 version to get the maximum benefit out of the interface. You can do this by utilizing a SATA 3 port on your motherboard to connect a SATA 3 drive whether it’s HDD, SDD, or even DVD drive.
Also, note that you won’t notice a much difference in performance if you purchase a SATA 3 HDD and use a SATA 3 cable to plug it into a SATA 2 port on your motherboard.
However, if you buy a SATA 3 SSD and put it into a SATA 2 port using the same SATA 3 cable, then its maximum transfer rate will be halved. In this case, you will see a big difference in performance, and you won’t be able to take full advantage of the SSD.
Thus, we recommend that you also check the specifications of both the drive and motherboard to get maximum advantage of the SATA 6gb cable.
Also Read: How Many PCIe Cable Do I Need?
In this article, you have just looked at how to tell if a SATA cable is 6Gb.
We reiterate here that it’s not SATA 3 cable alone that would allow you to take advantage of the 6Gb/s speed that the interface supports. Chiefly it depends on the SATA version of the drives you have along with the SATA ports that your motherboard features.
You should opt for a quality cable from a reputable manufacturer for your drives. A very cheap cable can tend to break or develop other problems after some time which you don’t want to happen.