SATA is an important interface in your computer system. It is one of two interfaces where you connect the major components of your computer. It is commonly used by storage devices. A SATA cable refers to the different cables that use the SATA interface.
We know that building a PC or getting new components can be overwhelming. Things can become tricky when you have to identify components with technical terms. Components like SATA cables and ports that are not very popular can get quite confusing. We are here to save the day though.
We will be helping you bring clarity to your confusion. We will be showing you what a SATA cable looks like. We will also answer how many SATA ports computers usually have. Then, we will also talk about how you can identify how many ports your computer has.
Just follow through as we take you on an interesting ride.
What does a SATA cable look like?
Generally, two major SATA cables are necessary to run a SATA drive. These cables include the SATA data cable and SATA power cable. The image below shows a good pictorial view of these cables.
SATA data cables are thin ribbon-like cables. They come with seven small similar pin connectors on each end. These connectors have a distinct L-shape for connection. Some SATA data cables have a 90-degree angled connector. These connectors could help with some specific motherboard types. SATA data cables often come along with motherboards.
SATA power cables on the other hand are power connectors. They originate from the power supply unit. There are two other SATA cables you might get to see. Although, they are not that common. They are the e-SATA and the micro-SATA. The e-SATA is used in external SATA drives connections. The micro-SATA is for small factor SSDs.
Related: Why Do Motherboards Still Have PS2
How many SATA ports do PCs have?
Knowing the number of SATA ports that your motherboard comes with is very crucial. It shows how many internal drives you can connect to your computer. The number of SATA ports on a motherboard varies. It depends on the size of the motherboard and the chipset it comes with.
Generally, an ideal motherboard has up to four and eight SATA ports as we see above.
How then do I figure out the number of SATA ports on my computer?
There are quite a few common ways to go about this. Some of the methods come with an easy-to-do approach. Yet, for others, it has to do with some digging. So, let’s dive right in.
1. Consult the Manufacturer:
This method can provide you with all the details you require. Reputable brands usually have an elaborate datasheet for their motherboards. You have to know the model of the motherboard though. This will help ease the entire process. You can also check out the manual of the motherboard.
You could also decide to visit the manufacturer’s website. The product section will be the right place to search for your motherboard’s model. You should be able to find detailed information about your motherboard here. You will also get to see how many SATA ports it has. The performance specification and position of the SATA ports will also be on the website.
2. The Manual Method:
You can also simply open up your computer and count the ports manually. This method is great as you can see it for yourself. You can also decide to dedicate any of the ports to a device you have.
In doing this though, there are some precautions that you must be aware of. Ensure to turn off your computer and disconnect from any power source. You should only dismantle it after you have done this. If you have to remove the board, handle it carefully. You will need extra care to not damage anything.
The drawdown with this method is that even though you might have the number of the SATA ports, their versions might be unclear. This can be confusing especially if the ports come in different colors.
Related: What are Front Panel Connectors
3. Using Third-Party Software:
Another easy hack will be to use a system software that can scan your computer. Some software can read your computer and tell you about the SATA ports. They can tell you how many ports you have and if they are in use or not.
If you have been trying to gather information without progress, then this can come in handy. It could also be a lifesaver if you don’t feel comfortable opening your system up. Although, sometimes, third-party software can be limitedby the information they give.
4. The BIOS:
The BIOS houses a lot of information. You can get to see how many ports you have if your BIOS supports it. BIOS menus may have different interfaces depending on the computer you are using. There are also some specific key combinations to gain access to it. Once you can get through with that, you will find information about the ports.
Once you have located the BIOS menu, try to search for the drives section. You should be able to find sufficient information about the SATA ports here. You might not be able to see the version of the ports. If you are having issues navigating your BIOS, you should quit and try out other methods.
5. Consult an Expert:
If you know an expert on motherboards, then, that person could be the information bank you are looking for. He could be the retailer that you bought the board from, a friend, or even an online platform.
Quick Tip: Locating your motherboard’s model
Some methods we have highlighted will require your motherboard’s model. So, you might need to know the model of your motherboard. A very easy way to know this will be to use the search icon of your windows. Search system information.
You will be directed to an interface that shows many details about your computer. The row labeled system model will help you with the model of your motherboard.
There are different types of SATA cable available today. We have been able to show you what those cables are. We have also pointed out how you can know how many SATA ports your system has. The easiest means to do that will be the manufacturer’s website.
So, look through all we have shared, locate your SATA ports, and use them optimally.