SATA Naming Guidelines

The following naming guidelines are provided to help the industry correctly identify SATA specifications, technologies, and products. The ratified SATA Revision 3.0 Specification has doubled the current maximum data transfer speed for the popular Serial ATA storage interface from three to six gigabits per second (6Gb/s).

What to Call the Specification: Please call this new specification by its proper name: "Serial ATA International Organization: Serial ATA Revision 3.0". After using the full proper name for the first reference, it would be appropriate to refer to it thereafter more briefly as "SATA Revision 3.0" or "SATA 6Gb/s." It also would be appropriate to refer to the latest specification as being the "third generation of SATA technology. What to Call the Products: For marketing and product naming purposes, the technology itself is to be referred to as "SATA 6Gb/s." A product using this standard should be called the "SATA 6Gb/s [product name]." For an accurate description of SATA capabilities and the official guidelines to SATA product naming, please see the table below for more information.

*IMPORTANT: Do not use the terms "SATA III" or "SATA 3.0," which will cause confusion. For product naming purposes, do not use either "Third Generation" or "Gen3" in the product name. Use "SATA 6Gb/s" instead. Please note that the references embedded within the new specification to "Gen3" are technical specification naming conventions only and should not be used for marketing and product naming purposes.

Dispelling the Confusion

The term "Third Generation SATA technology" refers to the SATA 6Gb/s data transfer rate. Don't confuse "Gen 3" with a 3Gb/s Transfer rate. "Gen 2" was associated with 3Gb/s and often confused with the misnomer "SATA II." Do not use the terms "SATA II" or "SATA III," which are incorrect and have no meaning. In the past, the term "SATA II" sometimes was mistakenly used as a moniker for the SATA 3Gb/s data transfer rate, causing great confusion with customers because, quite simply, it's a misnomer.

The first step toward a better understanding of SATA is to know that SATA II is not the brand name for the SATA 3Gb/s data transfer rate, but the name of the organization formed to author the SATA specifications. The group has since changed names, to the Serial ATA International Organization, or SATA-IO. 

The 3Gb/s capability is just one of many defined by the former SATA II committee, but because it is among the most prominent features, 3Gb/s has become synonymous with SATA II. Hence, the source of the confusion. 

For an accurate description of Serial ATA Capabilities and the official guideline to SATA product naming, please see the details below. 

SATA-IO Specifications and Naming Conventions

Important: Do not use the incorrect terms 'SATA II' or 'SATA III'
The references embedded within the SATA specifications to 'Gen 3', 'Gen 2', or 'Gen 1' are technical spec naming conventions only and should not be used for marketing and product naming purposes.

Revision / Generation Interface Name Data Transfer Rate Naming Convention
SATA Revision 3.x
(Not 'SATA III')
Third generation
(not 'Gen 3')
Up to 6Gb/s SATA 6Gb/s + [product name]
SATA Revision 2.x
(Not 'SATA II')
Second generation
(not 'Gen 2')
Up to 3Gb/s SATA 3Gb/s + [product name]
SATA Revision 1.x
(Not 'SATA 1')
First generation
(not 'Gen 1' )
Up to 1.5Gb/s SATA 1.5Gb/s + [product name]
Mechanisms/Devices Terms to Avoid Interface Speeds Additional Capabilities
Cable Connections
Disk Drives
Host Devices
Port Multiplier Devices
Port Selector Devices
Gen 3

SATA III

SATA 3.0

1.5Gb/s, 3Gb/s, 6Gb/s

SATA 6Gb/s is
backward compatible
with SATA 3Gb/s,
and SATA 3Gb/s is
backward compatible
with SATA 1.5Gb/s

Asynchronous Notification
ClickConnect
eSATA
HotPlug
Link Power Management
Native Command Queuing (NCQ)
Staggered Spin-Up
xSATA

 

Examples of product marketing names

Device name + SATA Speed + Additional Capabilities
ACME Disk Drive SATA 6Gb/s or
SATA 3Gb/s
NCQ, Hot Plug, Staggered Spin-Up
ACME Port Multiplier SATA 6Gb/s or
SATA 3Gb/s
NCQ, Staggered Spin-Up
ACME Port Selector SATA 1.5 Gb/s eSATA, NCQ
ACME Cable Up to 6Gb/s std, eSATA, xSATA
ACME Connectors  Up to 6Gb/s