On a side note, is there an appreciable difference between a Sata 2 HDD and a Sata 3 one
For the OS operations there is little difference between Sata II and Sata III. The OS usually deals with small 4K blocks and the R/W speeds for those will not exceed the Sata II capacity of most SSDs.
@AddRAM, he may have a laptop. He never said I believe.