What Is SATA, SATA II, and SATA III, and Which Controllers Have Support for It?

Updated Aug 25, 2019

Reported In

Hardware

  • PXI Controller

Issue Details

What Is SATA, SATA II, and SATA III, and Which Controllers Have Support for It?

Solution


SATA stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. 
 
SATA I is the first generation SATA interface, and it runs at 1.5 Gb/s, although the actual bandwidth throughput is up to 150MB/s, due to 8b/10b encoding.
 
SATA II is a second generation SATA interface, and it runs at 3.0 Gb/s, although the actual bandwidth throughput is up to 300MB/s, due to 8b/10b encoding.
 
SATA III is a third generation SATA interface, and it runs at 6.0Gb/s, although the actual bandwidth throughput is up to 600MB/s, due to 8b/10b encoding.
 
SATA is completely forward and backward compatible. SATA II specifications provide backward compatibility to function on SATA I ports. SATA III specifications provide backward compatibility to function on SATA I and SATA II ports. However, the maximum speed of the drive will be slower due to the lower speed limitations of the port. This means that a SATA I controller will work with a SATA II drive, but the speed will be limited to 1.5 Gb/s, for example.  In addition, a SATA II controller will work with a SATA I drive but again with speed limited to 1.5 Gb/s. The same concept goes for SATA III with SATA I or SATA II.
 
The list below is current as of 2010 and will not be updated. Any controller released after the PXIe-8135 should be SATA III (as of 2015), but it's a good idea to confirm via BIOS settings prior to making that assumption. 
 
Controllers with SATA I support:
  • NI PXI-8104
  • NI PXI(e)-8105
  • NI PXI(e)-8106
  • NI PXI-8119
Controllers with SATA II support:
  • NI PXI(e)-8101
  • NI PXI(e)-8102
  • NI PXI(e)-8108
  • NI PXI-8110
  • NI PXIe-8130
  • NI PXIe-8133