Memory & Storage Space

Free speedup for owners of Seagate SATA drives…

“There is no such thing as free lunch”, as the old saying goes. Thus, there should be no doubt that there is no way that you can achieve substantial performance boost for free. Or is there?
One of my friends works in largest Croatian assembly of computers. In our conversation couple of days ago, he said that worst nag in assembly of computers is removing the jumpers from Seagate hard drives in order to enable SATA-II (aka SATA 3.0 Gbps) support. If you don’t remove the jumper, the drive will stay in SATA-I (1.5 Gbps) mode.

Label that nobody reads...

Label that nobody reads...

Intrigued by this one, we’ve called our friends and visited them and saw that many of computers that have Seagate drives on – have the SATA-I jumper on. Seeing that jumper on in Dell OptiPlex 700 series machines only goes to show that even large OEM vendors don’t care about user experience.
We learned from one Seagate representative in EMEA region that the company made the call to disable SATA-II by default, in order to enhance the compatibility with older motherboards. OEM vendors can ask for delivery of the hard drive with SATA 3.0 Gbps mode turned on, but so far, nobody asked for it. If you jump the gun from WD or Samsung to Seagate, make sure that you pull one small jumper from behind the drive… that jumper locks the drive to SATA-I mode and that’s it.

White jumper that limits the performance of your drive...by default.

White jumper that limits the performance of your drive...by default.

I took several 250GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 and did a quick test in HDtach 3.0. It turns out that every hard drive experienced a major improvement in burst performance. Read speeds were positively affected as well.

This is performance of 250GB Barracuda 7200.10 by default (jumper on)...

This is performance of 250GB Barracuda 7200.10 by default (jumper on)...

...and this is what you get with the jumper removed. This is the same drive, same SATA cable, same power cable.

...and this is what you get with the jumper removed. This is the same drive, same SATA cable, same power cable.

Given these numbers, I would advise that if you have a Seagate drive, check to see if your drive has SATA-I jumper on. If the jumper is there, remove it and experience the full speed of these silent drives.

Of course, if you have a motherboard with SATA 3.0 Gbps controller.

  • spikeygoran

    That is good thing to have in mind. Nobody looks for jumpers anymore since no master/slave options exist on SATA

  • Well, nobody checks, that’s why I would bet that there is at least 80%, or even worse – Seagate SATA hard drives clipped down to SATA-I mode.

    In fact, I think that decision was just plain wrong. They should have SATA-I and SATA-II mode switch, and SATA-II enabled by default.

  • Good article!

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