Although most of the current-era motherboards do come with SATA cables, this isn’t always the case. While some brands include SATA cables in the motherboard package, a few may not include these cables in the box, depending on the brand and motherboard model.
Typically, motherboards come with at least two SATA cables to connect two storage drives, such as hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs). Higher-end motherboards may include more SATA cables, up to four or even six in some cases, to connect multiple storage drives.
Cheaper motherboards may only have one SATA cable, while a few even lack these. So, what to do if the motherboard you purchase lacks SATA cables? What are the types of SATA cables you can buy? Read this detailed guide to know the answers to all these questions.
What If A Motherboard Doesn’t Have SATA Cables?
If a motherboard lacks SATA cables you must purchase them separately. But before doing that, ensure to go through the SATA-related specifications of your motherboard, know the types of SATA cables, and determine what type will go with the board.
Remember, some motherboards don’t have SATA ports (so the cables); instead, they come with only M.2 slots to accommodate storage drives. If your motherboard has this feature, connect the solid-state drives directly to the motherboard without any cables.
What Are The Types Of SATA Cables?
SATA cables come in many sizes and shapes. Based on the generation of SATA cables, the three most common types are SATA I, SATA II, and SATA III. These are concluded as follows:
This is the oldest type of SATA cable, offering speeds up to 150MB/s. This cable is mostly used for primary storage, such as connecting hard drives and optical drives.
This is the second generation of SATA cables, offering speeds up to 300MB/s. This cable is generally used for more demanding tasks, such as transferring large files and streaming data.
This is the latest version of SATA cables, offering speeds up to 600MB/s. This cable is typically used for high-performance tasks, such as multimedia editing and gaming.
NOTE: When buying a new motherboard or hard drive, it is essential to ensure that the components are compatible with the same type of SATA cable. For instance, a motherboard that supports SATA III will not work with a SATA I hard drive.
Straight Vs Angled SATA Cables: What Is The Difference?
The second way to classify SATA cables is based on the physical shape of the SATA cable. Well, based on the shape, there are two types of SATA cables: straight and angled.
Straight SATA Cables
These are the regular cables that usually come with a motherboard (if applicable). These have straight connectors on both ends. These are easy to move around inside your computer case but might be tricky to connect in tight spaces.
Angled SATA Cables
Although less common, these SATA cables are more convenient than straight ones. The only difference is that these have angled connectors at both ends. These’re good for connecting tight spaces but can be harder to route inside your computer case.
What SATA Cables Are Used For In A PC?
SATA or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment cables connect storage devices to a computer’s motherboard. And following are the primary storage devices that a SATA cable can be used with:
- Hard disk drives (HDD)
- Solid-state drives (SSD)
- Optical drives
In addition, SATA cables are also used to supply and distribute power to internal devices connected to the motherboard. SATA power cables have PSU (power supply unit) connectors at one end while the other end is connected to the device.
Can I Use Any SATA Cable For My Motherboard?
First thing first, all SATA revisions are forward- and backwards-compatible. What it means is that you can connect different SATA drive revisions to different SATA ports without any compatibility problems. Remember, the data transfer rate will be set to the highest common bandwidth between the drive and port.
Where Do You Plug A SATA Cable Into A PC?
A SATA cable in a PC gets connected to two specific locations:
Find the SATA ports on your motherboard. They are usually located on the board’s edge, near the bottom or right side. They are small, L-shaped connectors with 7 pins.
Match the color of the SATA port to the color of the SATA cable connector. Some motherboards have different colors for different SATA generations (I, II, and III).
Carefully insert the SATA cable connector into the port. Make sure it’s aligned properly and pushed in firmly until it clicks into place. Don’t force it if it doesn’t fit easily.
Storage Drive (HDD or SSD):
Locate the SATA data connector on your hard drive or solid-state drive. It’s usually situated on the back or bottom of the drive. Align the SATA cable connector with the drive’s connector.
Again, match the colors if applicable. Gently push the cable connector into the drive’s port until it clicks. Ensure it’s secure and not loose.
How To Add More SATA Ports To My Computer?
To add more SATA ports to your computer, you have a few options:
SATA PCIe Cards
These cards can be added to a computer through a PCIe slot on the mobo. These come in various sizes and offer multiple SATA ports, usually ranging from 2 to 8 ports. This is the most effective and recommended way to add more SATA ports on a computer.
SATA Hub Port Multiplier
This is a more budget-friendly option to increase SATA ports. It utilizes a single SATA port and multiplies it to provide additional ports. However, it may have performance and compatibility issues, and it’s not the preferred choice for many users.
SAS SATA Expansion Card
SAS SATA expansion cards are often preferred by professionals for adding extra SATA ports. These cards offer excellent upstream and downstream bandwidth. They are highly recommended for enterprise use and may include hardware RAID controllers for added functionality.
Most modern motherboards typically include SATA cables, but it’s not guaranteed for all brands or models. Higher-end motherboards may provide more SATA cables (two to four or even six), while cheaper ones might include fewer or none.
If your motherboard lacks SATA cables, you’ll need to purchase them separately. There are three main types: SATA I, SATA II, and SATA III, offering varying speeds. Additionally, SATA cables come in straight and angled types.
SATA cables connect storage devices like HDDs, SSDs, and optical drives to the motherboard. Although you can pair any SATA port to a motherboard, ensure compatibility between the SATA drive and SATA port to ensure efficient data flow.