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Author Topic: adding SATA to a non-SATA motherboard  (Read 8346 times)

superboyac

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adding SATA to a non-SATA motherboard
« on: December 20, 2006, 11:01:51 AM »
I'm going to add a SATA PCI card to my 5 year old motherboard.  I just also read that SATA hard drives also use a different power connector than the 4-pin molex one.  So, could I just get an adapter for the molex and use it for the SATA?  Most of my information that I read is from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA

It says that I can add an adapter, but because of the voltage issues, I won't be able to hot-swap the drives.  Did I understand that correctly?

Carol Haynes

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Re: adding SATA to a non-SATA motherboard
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2006, 11:07:32 AM »
I got a WD SATA II drive and it had both power connectors (the molex was labelled 'legacy'). I haven't tried the molex connector but I assume it works. Otherwise you should be able to get adapter/splitter cables. Here is an example:

http://www.overclock...php?prodid=CB-052-GE

This was the drive I installed:

http://www.overclock...php?prodid=HD-070-WD
« Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 11:10:03 AM by Carol Haynes »

mouser

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Re: adding SATA to a non-SATA motherboard
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2006, 12:52:19 PM »
if you have a 5yr old motherboard, perhaps the answer is to buy a new motherboard (or new computer?).  I realize that's easy to say and not so easy to afford, but at some point trying to upgrade these things is more trouble than its worth..
« Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 12:54:00 PM by mouser »

Deozaan

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Re: adding SATA to a non-SATA motherboard
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2006, 01:29:52 PM »
I'm going to add a SATA PCI card to my 5 year old motherboard.  I just also read that SATA hard drives also use a different power connector than the 4-pin molex one.  So, could I just get an adapter for the molex and use it for the SATA?  Most of my information that I read is from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_ATA

It says that I can add an adapter, but because of the voltage issues, I won't be able to hot-swap the drives.  Did I understand that correctly?

I just bought a 4-pin to SATA power converter/splitter on Saturday from a local mom & pop cyber cafe for about $5.

I don't know about an IDE to SATA converter, though. One thing you can do is get an external SATA-to-USB shell and put your hard drive in there.

Also, one of my SATA drives has the 4-pin Molex power connecter, but it is covered by something you can pull out so I didn't know it was there. My latest drive (300GB SATA) has no Molex, however.


superboyac

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Re: adding SATA to a non-SATA motherboard
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2006, 05:35:38 PM »
if you have a 5yr old motherboard, perhaps the answer is to buy a new motherboard (or new computer?).  I realize that's easy to say and not so easy to afford, but at some point trying to upgrade these things is more trouble than its worth..
Argh, I think you're right.  Actually, I originally said that in my original post, but then deleted because I didn't want to discuss it!  For a variety of reasons, it would be "irresponsible" of me to buy a new computer right now.  Practically speaking, I really don't need a new computer, I'm not doing anything that requires anything faster or better than what I've got.  And the few seconds of time that I would save is unnecessary.  The only thing that is important and lacking from my system right now is a robust backup method, which is why I'm splurging on the two 500GB hard drives.  So, after this, I'm just going to ride my system until it dies.  I'll probably last as long as I can stand until I switch over to WIndows Vista.  I'm guessing somewhere around 2008-2009. 

Carol Haynes

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Re: adding SATA to a non-SATA motherboard
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2006, 05:42:39 PM »
If it is an internal drive is it realistically going to be hot swappable anyway?

There are loads of PATA > SATA and SATA > PATA converters out there usually in the form of a small PCB that fits between the mobo/PCI connector and the drive connector. Some will even let you use ATAPI CD/DVD drives on a SATA interface! They aren't cheap though - it is probably nearly as cheap to buy a new drive in the format you want.

If you just want more disc space why not upgrade an existing drive - there are huge ATA drives out there now that are really cheap - alternatively use a USB 2 external drive (I have a Seagate 400Gb which is really excellent - and hot swapable).

f0dder

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Re: adding SATA to a non-SATA motherboard
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2006, 05:57:44 PM »
PCI sata adapters are dirt cheap these days, unless you want a zillion ports or raid5... their main disadvantage is that the PCI bus is limited to 133MB/s (iirc), but that's not really a problem until you try to do sound, gigabit networking and a hefty RAID at the same time - single drive sustained rate is, what, 50MB/s or so.

Getting a SATA drive + pci controller is smarter than an IDE disk... you can re-use the drive in a new box, sata has command queing, and the connectors are nicer and smaller, which allows for better airflow.

Hotplug probably won't be supported, but who needs that anyway? :)
- carpe noctem

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Re: adding SATA to a non-SATA motherboard
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2006, 12:58:57 PM »
if you have a 5yr old motherboard, perhaps the answer is to buy a new motherboard (or new computer?).  I realize that's easy to say and not so easy to afford, but at some point trying to upgrade these things is more trouble than its worth..
Argh, I think you're right.
I agree.  If you're going to buy a new disk, I would indeed get a SATA drive.  But in addition to that, I would replace my motherboard with one which had a SATA interface as well as a PCI Express graphics interface.  That means buying a new PCI Express graphics adaptor that's compatible with Vista.  You can still keep Windows XP, although if you plan to upgrade to Vista, I would do so when you replace the disk drive.

The only thing that is important and lacking from my system right now is a robust backup method, which is why I'm splurging on the two 500GB hard drives.
Now that's a whole different issue.  If you're looking for a backup disk, I would buy an external drive with an "eSATA" interface.  This will have a little different connector than the standard "internal" SATA connector to facilitate better shielding for longer cable length.

When buying an external drive, if you're a computer professional, I wouldn't fool around.  Get something like the G-Drive, which has everything: Aluminum case, no fan, eSATA, 400 & 800MHz Firewire, and USB 2.0.  Of course, the eSATA connection will be the fastest followed by the Firewire connections.  Here's an example source: http://www.academicsuperstore.com/market/marketdisp.html?PartNo=752728

If you're not a computer professional, getting an external drive with only an eSATA and USB interface would be good enough.  If it's a high performance disk (e.g. it gets hot), I would still shoot for the aluminum case w/o the internal fan.  Slow (cool) drives can be put in plastic cases.

The G-Drive I mentioned above allows air to circulate both above and below it so it's cooled on both sides.  That's what you want to shop for if you're buying a high performace (runs hot) drive.  Most people may be happier with a slower, cooler-running drive though.