Serial ATA Interface Connections: A Quick Tutorial


Please check the SATA Tutorial page for information about Serial ATA and eSATA technology. Most of the images here can be clicked on for enlarged view showing the pin header of each connection.

All SATA 1.5Gbps or 3.0Gbps hard drives have a male SATA port on the rear end. A male SATA port has a protruding L shaped key, preventing any possibility of connecting a data cable from the wrong direction. All SATA hard drives have the 15-pin SATA power connector, and some have the standard 4-pin Molex power connector. It is important to note that only one of the two power connectors are to be used, connecting both power connectors may cause damage to the drive.

The most commonly used SATA data cable is a red colored plastic cable with black female SATA connectors on both ends. There may also be variations on this type of cable. For instance, Addonics manufactures SATA data cables with heavy duty shielding and conductors for reliable external connection.

Internal SATA data cable: AASAIDC18I External SATA data cable: AASAEDC3F

All normal SATA devices should have the male SATA ports, for connection from device to computer using the female SATA data cables. This includes SATA hard drives, SATA Controllers, SATA brackets for connecting onto desktop tower cases, and any other device requiring connection from the device to a computer.

SATA ports on the motherboard Example of a SATA Controller: AD2SA3GPX1
SATA bracket: AASATAB2  

eSATA is a new standard for external SATA connection. eSATA connectors provide more secured cable connection, improved durability, increased EMI protection and up to 2 meters cable length. eSATA has the full SATA transfer rate, and can be used with SATA 3.0Gbps hard drives without any difference in speed from the original SATA data cable. eSATA data cables, similar to SATA data cables, should be female on both ends.

eSATA - eSATA data cable: AAESATA100C  

Currently, eSATA ports are not yet standardized on motherboards. Some of the latest motherboards should have this connector, as well as certain PVRs and Set Top Boxes. To implement an eSATA connection to a motherboard, a bracket with an eSATA connector can be used, the other end of which plugs onto the SATA port of the motherboard. Another method would be to use a host controller with eSATA ports through the PCI, PCI-X, or PCI-Express BUS slot. Similar to a SATA port, an eSATA port will have a male connector.

eSATA bracket: AASATAB2-e Example of an eSATA controller: ADS3GX4R5-E

Due to the fact that an individual may not necessarily have either an SATA or eSATA port for connection, Addonics carries a number of connector cables for connection from SATA data cables to eSATA, or eSATA data cables to SATA. To prevent against incorrectly purchased converter cables, please look carefully at the enlarged images to see if they have male or female connectors.

eSATA - SATA converter cable: AASA2SAP15C SATA - eSATA converter cable: AAESAPSA15C
eSATA - SATA cable: AASA2SA100C  

The Addonics products shown here are displayed as examples. For a wider selection of similar products, please visit the appropriate pages: Cables, Connectors, and Misc. page by clicking here, or Host Controller page by clicking here.