Any SATA Cable hieroglyphics experts aboard?

vbimport

#1

SATA cables. Are there truly any differences between the wires and connectors of cables sold as SATA-1 (1.50 gbs), SATA-2 (3.0 gbs) and SATA-3 (6.0 gbs)? How do we know? How do we tell?

“Oh, they have little hieroglyphics printed on them…”

Yeah. Right. With Cat-5, 5e and 6, I can FEEL the difference. I can see it. The extra twist, cable gauge, connector wirings, etc.

But how do I know a SATA cable is living up to it’s “sales pitch” until I’ve installed it? What printed-on-cable codes are truly useful for distinguishing cables apart?

The “E_____” value should. That’s a part number - a manufacturer’s value.

E209329 - Sata 150. Red Cable, often bundled with DVD or BR burners. Hmmm…here’s a datasheet (scroll down and look under CATALOG SEARCH RESULTS - that first paragraph has a viewable PDF link off to the right…). Sadly, this is the ONLY halfway authoritative ‘proof’ I found in all these others, and even then, I only see one reference to SATA 150 and this part-number.

E314459 - Sata 2, according to this advert. And we all believe everything an advertisement says, right?

E119932 - Sata 1 & 2, according to this advert.

The rest of these often return a Google value with PJCOMPUTERS referenced, which shows a picture and no SATA-rating at all. Just “SATA”.
E321011
E101344
E301571
E162747
E74020-C
E173433-D
E168141

Some Google results have Korean and Japanese websites, alas, I couldn’t pick out values.

The SATA cables contain other codes and values, like AWM or AWG (Avg Wire Measurement or Gauge)… there are heat ratings (“80c”), voltage (“30v”) and fire-code values (“VW-1”), too. Style codes (“2725”).

The sameness of AWG/AWM codes, heat voltage fire rating codes - this makes me wonder, “So, how DOES a SATA cable pass along 6gbs or 3 or 1.5? What distinguishes it, physically?”

Are they all the same?


#2

Probably like HDMI cables. The only real difference is what they’re certified as. Plug it in and test it. Very few things out there actually can transfer at 6gb…


#3

Just buy from Monoprice.com and get their 6gb rated cables. Monoprice has an excellent rep on quality/price ratio.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/search.asp?keyword=sata


#4

[QUOTE=olyteddy;2650762]Probably like HDMI cables. The only real difference is what they’re certified as. [/QUOTE]
Yeah that’s the only real difference pffft. I have 4 HDMI 1.3 cables here and the one that does work above it’s standard you can plainly see the difference, Better quality, Thicker copper in it. the other 3 don’t work at higher certs. and one of them doesn’t work at all at it’s certified standard.
It depends on the quality of the copper used, If it’s low quality and they only used just enough to get to the certification level then it wont be much good. If they are a quality cable then it’s likely they will easily be usuable at the higher certifications. I have a couple of SATA 2 cables and I think one of them is from years ago so SATA 1, that are on SATA 3 HDD’s and they are running at SATA 3 speeds remember it’s up to.


#5

As for “devices can’t run that fast” arguments, well - my response is that if the cable IS poor, then the data flowing across it will MAKE the device appear slow.

How can ANY device be “fast” if the cable transferring Real Data to another Real Device is poor?

The RJ-45 cables have had labeling print (CAT 5, 5E, 6) for years and years. I remember seeing “5” on cables 15 years ago.

The SATA cables obviously have elected to not have any Quality or Capability printing on it. Their decision. This makes me even more suspicious because they have a LOT of printing. But not any “15” or “20” or “30”. What are they hiding, therefore? Well, I now know.

Like Rock Hudson said (actually, it was ‘Tex Stetson’) “Well, it’s hard not to think of bears when you see a cave in bear country.”

Kerry, thanks for the link. It will be used. I’ve been getting SilverStone cables because they don’t have locking mechanisms. The locking clips ‘fatten’ the connector head and, since most MBs have those terrible “pedestal” SATA connectors, the locking mechanism creates a pressure-point forcing the two connectors apart. Like a wedge. The SilverStone brand doesn’t have those and are obviously ‘different’ by size and feel as well. A tres costly, but at least easily distinguishable, and far easier to use.

I’m uncertain of the need for locking mechanisms at all. I hardly ever take computers out into the front yard and sling them around, over my head, only while gripping locked-in SATA cables.

And if I was in a B-17 on a bomb-run, and my computers were clipped onto the bomb-releases by locked-down SATA cables, I’m not sure I’d really have a safer release mechanism either.

So, I’m not real sure WHY we need locked-in SATA cables. Do they get us better gas mileage as we drive our PCs down the highway? Do the PCs corner better? I guess if I was doing 10G turns for NASA training, maybe those locked-in SATA cables would help…


#6

Kerry, here’s the experiment I’ll carry out, thanks to your MonoPrice link.

Here’s one Lime-Flavored 18-inch SATA3 cable…#8789 - $0.61 for a quantity of 1. Black latch.

And here’s another lime-flavored 18-inch version… #4544 - $1.84. Silver latch, more easily distinguished, therefore! But three times the price? Interesting… veddy interesting.

Our electrical gurus swear they have the signal-analyzers in-house to measure SOMETHING. Yeah well, I just want to copy a VOB file from one drive to another faster.

We’ll see when they arrive this week. Thanks for the link.


#7

I was killing some time (Tuesday morning is ice-skating morning for us) awaiting the troops to be rounded up, and I wanted to see what “good valences” or signal-numbers I might expect while testing SATA cables.

Then, I discovered this MaximumPC article, published in Nov, 2011.

The short answer: “No, SATA-3 (6g) Cables may not provide greater thru-put than a SATA-1 (1.5g). The SATA standard is robust and a SATA 1.5 cable might deliver the same as SATA-3’s thru-put.”

Read the paragraph titled THE VERDICT. Pretty amazing.

Don’t tell me that all those gasoline-additives don’t help, by the way - I’ve just returned driving across the flat-earth - I know it’s not round!


#8

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2651115]

The short answer: “No, SATA-3 (6g) Cables may not provide greater thru-put than a SATA-1 (1.5g). The SATA standard is robust and a SATA 1.5 cable might deliver the same as SATA-3’s thru-put.”

[/QUOTE]
Yeah it just depends on the quality of the copper wiring they use. I have some here that are complete garbage.
I use these ones myself http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/200802324493?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:VRI&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2661


#9

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2651115]I was killing some time (Tuesday morning is ice-skating morning for us) awaiting the troops to be rounded up, and I wanted to see what “good valences” or signal-numbers I might expect while testing SATA cables.

Then, I discovered this MaximumPC article, published in Nov, 2011.

The short answer: “No, SATA-3 (6g) Cables may not provide greater thru-put than a SATA-1 (1.5g). The SATA standard is robust and a SATA 1.5 cable might deliver the same as SATA-3’s thru-put.”

Read the paragraph titled THE VERDICT. Pretty amazing.

Don’t tell me that all those gasoline-additives don’t help, by the way - I’ve just returned driving across the flat-earth - I know it’s not round![/QUOTE]
Gotta be careful with that stuff though. I have the ‘MagicNetic Balls’ wrapped around my fuel line = 40% better mileage. I also use ‘Cabo-Cleano’ and it boosts my mileage 25%. I got a new engine chip which by re-timing the injector increases my MPGs 30%. I also fill my tires with purified and polarized Nitrogen for a 20% increase. It’s all a major pain in the @$$ though. All that stuff saves me 115% and I really am tired of having to stop every 50 miles or so to take the extra fuel out of the tank…:bigsmile:


#10

Oly, that’s so hilarious! I have forgotten so many of these! Maybe we need a thread on modern marketing scams…

Wasn’t there some kind of life-enhancing magnetic balls on the wrists or something? I kept wanting my friends to let me watch them levitate - or whatever the marketing message was with those.

Lava Lamps are about the only thing that’s proven to be worth their marketing weight - “They do nothing!”


Well, for the tests, we’ll run the Expensive Sata-6 cables against the Cheapo Sata-6’s, both with meter-readers and connecting them to the same sets of HDDs to copy 500Gb of VOB files back and forth. Get Win7’s File-Transfer stats as well as timings.

Then I’ll go back to some ‘unknown’ Sata-?? cables and see how those perform.

Then report back.

In a way, it’d be a relief to discover All Cables Can Be The Same - save the landfill for all those plastic-extrusion boxes that everything comes in, these days… I see we’re getting rid of grocery plastic bags, but now peaches and plums are coming in heavy, thick petrochemical based plastic extrusion cases. Oh yeah… great improvement!


#11

I have a comment on gasoline & the additives the refinery puts in.
I have an car that I’ve had since new . After the break in it was able to get 28 to 32 MPG highway . It didn’t ping any . As time went on & gas got worse in quality it began to ping some on take off. Slightly less gas mileage .
For the last several years it no longer pings . I think due to the additives the refineries add . Gas mileage is much less though . So some additive slowed the “burn” & stopped the ping but killed the mileage.
On the cables guage & quality of the copper would make a difference . If the size was too large it would also suffer . The correct size is what carries the “load” & just a little extra. Poorly made ends could also make an otherwise good cable perform poorly.


#12

50 of 36inch SATA 6Gbps Cable w/Locking Latch (90 Degree to 180 Degree) - Black costs $31. There are some 2-meter cables for a little over US$1 in Seoul, but they are not SATA 6Gbps-certified.


#13

[I]Consider this Phase 1, where Doris gets her oats…[/I]

As feared, my first wave of tests shows a previously-purchased, high-dollar SATAiii (6gb) cable set SUCKS. I mean, in comparison with its cost, compared to Kerry’s MONOPRICE cheapo stuff.

Test setup is a five-HDD system (all identical SATAiii drives). I’m going to copy 9.57Gb of VOB files from Drives 4 & 5 onto the other three Drives (1-2-3).

[B]LinkDepot SataIII Round 18" Angle-to-Straight for all five drives. $4.49 for one, $4.09 for 11-or-more.[/B]
These are very butch-looking - big, black round cables, and they have this cute little “SATA-3” tag on one end - they remind me of the bow-ties on Chippendale male strippers. Butch, indeed.

Using Win7-Ultimate, in a plain drag-and-drop copy process, then opening up “more details” to get a speed measurement.

Drive 4 copies to Drives 1, 2, 3 starting at [B]38Mb/s[/B] and dropping to [B]28Mb/s. [/B]

Drive 5 copies to Drives 1, 2, 3 starting at [B]38Mb/s[/B] and dropping to [B]22Mbs [/B]on the two most-filled drives. Understandable. This was also the 2nd Copy process done, so Drive 4’s COPYs added to the destination drives’ clutter.

[B]Now, for the Kerry Special… MonoPrice.COM’s ‘8788’ UVBlue Flat Cables. $0.63 for one, $0.50 for 50-or-more[/B]

Drive 4 copies to Drives 1, 2, 3 starting at [B]132Mb/s[/B], lowering to [B]118Mb/s[/B] at the halfway point, and ends between [B]98 and 88Mb/s[/B] apparently based on filled-capacity of the destination drives (most filled drives had slower transfer rates at the end).

Drive 5 repeats this, almost identically.

None of these cheapo-cable COPYs ever dropped below 88Mb/s. None of the most expensive cable COPYs ever exceeded 30Mb/s except in the opening 10% - almost a queue-up time, most likely.


[B]PROBLEMS?[/B] 1. With my research, since it’s “only one system” it would be hard for me to argue some universality of truthfulness here. But when I see “30Mb/s” transfers between two SATAiii HDDs, I’ll think “poor cable”.

  1. I continue to complain about Latches and SATA Pedestals (on motherboards). When a Latched Cable is stuck into a ‘lower berth’ and another Latched Cable is on top of it, the over-sized heads create a wedge force.

Plus, how do Latches disengage? “Press down.” Guess what happens when an ‘upper berth’ Latch Cable does do the lower berth’s latch?

It PRESSES DOWN. Du-uh. The SATA Pedestals are cute looking, but are a PAIN to work with, and create a Wedge-Force PLUS create a forced ‘unlatching’ pressure on the lower of two-stacked cables.

I HATE SATA PEDESTALS.

  1. Could Older Cables simply be ‘too used’? There is a Gaussian Effect for any electrical force passing thru cables (or any metal). But the high-priced LinkDepot Butch-Round Cables aren’t more than 60 days old on an occasionally-powered-up file-server. If these have suffered from “wear and tear”, then it’s only because they were crap to begin with.

  2. The MonoPrice’s are Flat Cables and thus can only be ‘bent’ up and down, whereas the Round Cables are much easier to route.

I’ll look for some of OKGear’s Round Cables (we have those in-stock as well) and I’ll try those.

  1. I’m just not sold on Latches. And if I have latches, then I hope they’re shiny silver so they’re easily identified as opposed to black-on-black. When someone yanks out an unlatched Latchable, they’re going to tear out HOPEFULLY only the cable’s side… not the drive’s connector, or the SATA Pedestal. Hopefully… but you know something like that’s gonna happen.

“Dear Mfr, make your latches easier to see.” Or get rid of them entirely.

[I]In Phase 2, I’ll dig out some of those ubiquitous Red Flat Cables and use those against the LinkDepot Butch-Blacks, as well as the MonoPrice Cheapos, and the latchless Silverstones ($6 for cute wire-mesh sleeving? “Are we driving thru plutonium?” - Alvy Singer in ANNIE HALL).[/I]


#14

So the wholesale unit cost of a SATA 3 cable from the cheapest source must be around US$0.1~0.3, and there are only two SATA 3 cables inside a US$300 retail motherboard box.


#15
  1. I’m just not sold on Latches. And if I have latches, then I hope they’re shiny silver so they’re easily identified as opposed to black-on-black. When someone yanks out an unlatched Latchable, they’re going to tear out HOPEFULLY only the cable’s side… not the drive’s connector, or the SATA Pedestal. Hopefully… but you know something like that’s gonna happen.

+1 to that. As a former CATV tech I can’t tell you how many ‘My VCR won’t work calls’ were a result of not being able to tell ‘In’ from ‘Out’ because the legend was printed in Black on Black…


#16

Good thread.

Special greets to Christine. :slight_smile:


#17

Phase 2… testing those cheapo red cables that were handed out like lollipops with the first motherboards and SATA drives…

I only tried three out of literally a box of a hundred or more. The COPY times were all in the 30Mb/s range - definitely a drag on SATA3 drives, therefore.

These cables are flat and smooth. The Kerry MonoPrice Specials, along with some ASUS Black & Whites, have two ‘cords’ running inside the single cable-housing. I wonder - is THAT a way to distinguish -3s from -2s?

By segregating the two sets of wires, does this create less signal noise and increase signal thru-put, then? Could be.

But MSI and ASROCK hand out Light Blue Completely Flat SATA-3 cables, and those deliver top speeds.

In short, I can’t look at a cable, read its fine-print and be certain of its speed except for Just Trying It. That’s always the Acid Test anyway.

OK, fine. So, leave the case off, plug in the new build and fire 'er up. Load up a DVD’s worth of VOBs and copy them from one drive to the next, and see if they run at 100+Mb/s or 30-ish.

One more note…

I tested MonoPrice’s high-dollar SATA3’s ($2.47 per cable) versus their cheapo product, and I was transferring at the same high speeds on both. The High Dollar unit comes with a cute “SATA 3” labeling on the plastic bag, while the cheapo has a non-descript, no-qualitative-notation. So, I’d be paying almost $2 per bag for the printing of “SATA 3” on it. Hmmm - not exactly a great value…

Oh, the more expensive product does come with the clearly-visible Shiny Silver Latch on a black connector instead of the baaad-boy black on black. Now… I could I justify THAT as a reason for two additional dollars per unit? Probably not…


#18

A couple of weeks later…

I’ve wiggled my way into the computer gurus’ workshop and tested out more SATA cables.

So far, it’s been a completely mixed bag. Products sold in bags labeled SATAiii or SATA3 may or may not deliver highest transfer speeds from one SATA3 drive to another.

I do have some belief that the “dual cord” cables

are more likely to operate at higher SATA3-esque speeds than the flat-ribbon ones. (“Dual cord” - by sight and touch, I can feel two bands of cables separated under the single plastic housing.)

As Kerry noted, MonoPrice.COM has the best price on these - they have a $0.60 variety and a $2+ variety, and I haven’t found any performance difference between the two.

But the uniform disappointment is with the ‘round’ cables that Link Depot sells as SATA3s…

I’ve found 20 of those and not one transfers speeds above SATA2 speeds.

In addition, their ‘round connect’ head is large and, when inserted into a motherboard’s SATA pedestal, one on top of another, they create a tension-force between the two that’s greater than the unneeded latch-designs.

Because of their uniformly low-speeds and this bad, overly large ‘head’ design, I clearly won’t use those again. Maybe we can sell those to copper thieves?


#19

A vendor note: when our purchasing person went back to Link Depot, they were [I][B]tres [/B][/I]concerned. The first person was in denial and argumentative, but the next person wanted to know more, and offered complete restitution.

I don’t care about the money. THEY SHOULD, THOUGH. And when they offered to check into the matter and send us a box of new samples, I agreed to spend my time testing their products.

That’s the best a vendor can do, I think. I would be doubtful if any of these US vendors claimed design and assembly controls on any of these - they’re buying in bulk from some off-shore location (nudge nudge, wink wink - say n’more). But I appreciated that Link Depot has at least one decision maker that recognizes future business opportunities while another one only saw problems. I am hoping The Good Guys win.