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…


  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!


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


      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.


Comments are closed.