Different types of SATA connectors and their usefulness


SATA (Serial-ATA) is an interface used to connect hard drives to computers. It is a port that arrived in 2003 to replace the IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) interface that was used until now. We explain the different types of SATA connectors and their main utility .

What is the SATA interface for

The SATA interface came to offer higher speed than IDE, while greatly simplifying cable design. Below you can see the difference between an IDE cable and a SATA cable.

The SATA interface can be used to connect hard drives and other storage devices , such as DVD or Blu-Ray optical drives, although these are less and less used due to the popularity of external hard drives and pendrives.

SATA offers higher speeds than IDE, and ensures better data flow optimization , due to the fact that there is a dedicated cable for each drive. With IDE, a single cable was used to connect multiple devices. To date there are three SATA protocols, differences due to the speed they reach. The following table summarizes the three versions and their speed.

Protocol Speed
SATA 1150 MB / s
SATA 2300 MB / s
SATA 3600 MB / s

SATA data connector

SATA data cable 2

The SATA data connector is responsible for providing the data transfer bus from the hard drive to the PC motherboard so that they can be used by the different connected components. The connector can have a flat or angled design, with this we can choose the one that suits us best.

It is a connector with seven contacts that are joined in a single, very compact, L-shaped package , so it is not symmetrical and you have to see that it connects correctly. The connector is 8mm wide and the cable can be up to 1m long, much longer than the 45cm maximum IDE cables had.

SATA power connector

ordinary SATA cable

Devices that connect via SATA need power to function, and the data cable cannot supply it. For this reason, a second connector that has 15 pins is used . This connector usually has a kind of tab so that it is well attached and does not come loose.

ESATA or external SATA connector

ESATA connector

This connector corresponds to the external SATA interface. It reaches a maximum transfer rate of 150 MB / s, which is why it has been totally surpassed by the USB 3.0 connector , which reaches 600 MB / s. That is why it is hardly used anymore. Despite this, it still has some advantages over USB 3.0, such as the ability to use RAID configurations.

MSATA or Mini SATA connector

MSATA connector

It is an interface very similar to Mini-PCI but it is not compatible with it. It offers performance equivalent to a normal SATA interface and is compatible with 1.8-inch hard drives. It is widely used in compact size SSD units, mainly in Intel NUC-type Mini PCs.

SATA Express connector

SATA Express connector

SATA Express has the peculiarity that it can work with both SATA hard drives and those based on the much more modern and faster PCI-Express interface . It can reach a maximum speed of 1.97 GB / s. The cheapest SSD drives are manufactured under this interface.

These are all the types of SATA connectors that we can find today, we hope that this post will be very useful when buying the necessary cable. Remember to share it on social media so it can help more users.