Most desktop and laptop hard drives are connected to the motherboard using the SATA interface. A key specification of the disk whether a hard drive or solid-state drive is the SATA version (2 or 3) it supports that determines the maximum data transfer rate it can provide. So, you may ask, how do I know if my hard drive is SATA 2 or 3?
This can be determined by checking the label in case of a new hard drive. You can also find out the model number of your drive in both Windows and macOS and then search for the SATA version it supports. Alternatively, you can use disk utility applications in both the operating systems to find if it’s SATA 2 or 3.
In the following text we will learn more about the methods of determining whether you have SATA 2 or 3 on hand.
Below we talk about different ways in detail on how to figure out your SATA drive version.
How do I Know if My Hard Drive is SATA 2 or 3?
SATA is the default interface that connects storage devices to the motherboard and there are different versions or generations of the interface ranging from 1, 2 and 3.
The primary difference between SATA 1, SATA 2 and SATA 3 is the maximum throughput or data transfer rate. SATA 1 features the maximum throughput of 1.5 Gb/s, SATA 2 features 3 Gb/s while SATA 3 features 6 Gb/s.
Storage devices such as hard drives also come with specific versions of SATA.
While Windows doesn’t have a direct way to display your drive’s SATA version, there are different ways through which you can determine whether it’s 2 or 3. You can also find the information in macOS if you have a Mac computer.
For Windows-Based Computers
1. Check Your Hard Disk’s Label
If you have purchased a new HDD or SSD and haven’t yet installed it on your computer, you can check the disk’s label to determine the drive’s SATA version. Some manufacturers specify the SATA version directly on the label.
Look for the terms such as SATA II or III. In some cases, the speed may be mentioned as SATA 3 GB/s or 6 GB/s that stands for SATA 2 or 3 respectively.
Alternatively, you can also check your motherboard port labels. The ports/connector on motherboard are often labelled. If your motherboard labels the SATA ports as SATA 3 then there are high chances that the hard disk connected to it would be SATA 3.
Many newer hard disks these days also come with a QR code pasted on top. You can simply scan it to learn the specifications about your HDD.
2. Check Your Hard Disk’s Specifications
If the disk is already in use, you first need to find out its model number. For this, you can right-click the Start button in Windows and select Device Manager. Open the section named Disk drives to view a list of all drives on your computer.
Look for the specifications of a specific drive on Google by typing the model number in the search bar. This will take you to the manufacturer’s page or other websites where you can find the information related to the SATA version.
Note that some manufacturers specify the version as SATA 300 or 600, referring to the bandwidth throughput as 300 MB/s or 600MB/s of version 2 or 3 respectively.
Another way to find the model of your hard disk is to access BIOS. Specifically navigate to BIOS primary hard disk section. This generally has the hard disk model mentioned.
You can also try out using the msinfo32.exe command on Windows to find out the hard disk information and model.
So in summary you have three methods to find out the model:
- Device Manager
Once you have the model, you can look it up on Google.
3. Check through CrystalDisklnfo Utility
You can also check if your hard drive is SATA 2 or 3 by utilizing a compact and freeware disk utility called CrystalDisklnfo. It shows you detailed information about the hard disk, including the SATA version it uses.
For this purpose, you need to download the latest version of the application and then run the installer. After done with the installation you need to run the application.
At the top, your hard drive model number and capacity will be displayed. If you have multiple hard drives, you can choose a specific drive to view its data.
Look for the section named Transfer Mode in the main window of a drive. Here you can check what connection the drive is currently using and what connection it supports up to.
For instance, if you find it as “SATA/300 | SATA/600”, then the information before the vertical bar refers to SATA version 2 that the drive is currently using. The information after the vertical bar refers to SATA version 3 that the drive can support.
For MacOS-based Systems
Let look at how do I know if my hard drive is SATA 2 or 3 if you are on a Mac system.
1. Check Your Disk’s Specifications
Click on the Apple menu and then choose About This Mac. After that, click on the System Report button to open the System Information. In the Hardware section navigate to SATA/SATA Express.
On the right pane, you will find the model number of the hard disk that’s installed on your computer. Search this model number on the internet to find the SATA version supported by the drive.
2. Check through SMART Utility Application
You can also find out whether your hard drive supports SATA version 2 or 3 by making use of a trialware application called SMART Utility by Volitans Software. It works on Mac computers and is a reliable way to find your hard disk information.
Simply you need to run the application after downloading and installing it. In the main window of the application, basic info related to the hard drive is displayed.
Click on “More info” on the top. It will open into the information window where you can look for the SATA version along with maximum throughput.
Does SATA Version 2 or 3 Matter for a Hard Drive?
The SATA interface supports forward and backward compatibility. This means that all SATA drives will work with all motherboards that support SATA.
As you see, SATA 3 uses the same connector as SATA 2. If there is a difference in the SATA version of your hard drive and the motherboard, then it will scale down to the highest supported version of the interface and operate at its speed.
For example, if your motherboard supports SATA 2 or 3 and you have a SATA 2 drive, then the maximum throughput of the interface will be 3 Gb/s. If you have a SATA 3 drive, and your motherboard supports SATA 2, then the maximum throughput will also be 3 GB/s. In this case, you will not get any performance benefit if the motherboard supports only SATA 2 and you connect it to a SATA 3 drive.
Keep in mind that most hard drives available today support SATA 3. For a hard drive of SATA 3 to provide a maximum data transfer rate, your motherboard should also support SATA 3.
Also Read: How to Charge Laptop in a Car?
When determining how do I know if my hard drive is SATA 2 or 3, also try to note your computer’s built-in SATA version that it supports.
While it does not make a big deal to get a hard drive of SATA version 2 or 3 for normal users, it would limit the performance of the drive if your computer supports a lower version.
It’s worthy to check for the SATA version if you are building a new PC or upgrading your computer’s drive to a new one.