Always check a SATA drive’s jumper settings

I made a quick video that shows you why it’s always important to check a SATA drive’s jumper settings. Many of us assume that since we’re dealing with SATA, not PATA/IDE drives, the jumper settings are no longer important. After all, the Master/Slave relationship no longer applies to the SATA model. Not so. The jumper settings on SATA drives control other important drive settings, such as their speed of operation.

Have a look at this Seagate 500GB SATA drive, the one in my video. I assumed (wrong) that it was operating at 3.0 Gb/sec all along. It wasn’t. For over 2 years, I had three of these drives in one of my Drobo units, and I thought I was getting 3.0 Gb/sec from them, when in fact I was only getting 1.5 Gb/sec. That’s because they shipped with a jumper set to limit their speed of operation at 1.5 Gb/sec from the factory, and I didn’t check it before sticking them in my Drobo and forgetting about them.

Only now, as I re-shuffled the drives between my Drobo units, did I realize I hadn’t been getting 3.0 Gb/sec from them, and corrected the situation right away.

I can understand why Seagate would want to ship the drives set to 1.5 Gb/sec. After all, some older computers might not be capable of 3.0 Gb/sec, and you’d run into compatibility issues. They assume IT geeks would know what to do, and they’re right, they would, if they’d only bother to look…


3 thoughts on “Always check a SATA drive’s jumper settings

  1. Been using a DroboPro for about a month now, and I can say without a doubt, I will never touch another external drive or NAS again, I absolutely love it!

    Stumbled upon this article today, I had no idea about these. I checked the drives in the Drobo, and sure enough, I found those pesky little jumpers on three drives. The sad thing is, I scraped these drives from a five year old production machine that I was using in RAID-0. If I only knew then that I could have doubled my performance. I feel like an idiot.

    Anyway, nice blog you have here, and thanks for the tip!

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    1. You’re welcome, Dylan, and you may still be able to remove those jumpers now, but check with Drobo Support first.

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      1. You can change the jumpers.
        I pulled a lot of drives at once to remove them. Needless to say that the Drobo didn’t like that very much, and about 15 hours later, it’s finally out of recovery mode.

        I think it’s more of a testament of how much one can put it through and your data will still be safe. Haven’t played around with it too much to notice much of a speed jump.

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