You probably know that SATA (short for Serial ATA) is the current standard for connecting hard drives, solid-state drives and optical drives to the motherboard in your computer. For powering these devices from the computer’s power supply, you use SATA power cables. So, a question arises here: how many SATA power cables do I need?
Simply, you can attach one SATA power cable to a SATA drive through a fifteen-pin connector. Therefore the amount of SATA power cable you need depends on the number of drives you want to install in your desktop along with the SATA power cables that are available from the power supply unit (PSU). You can manually check for or see the specs of the PSU to determine the SATA power cables or connectors that come with it.
For instance, if you want to attach two drives be it an optical or a storage drive, you will need two SATA power cables. In another instance, say you want to attach 5 drives, but your PSU came only with 4 SATA power cables, then you will need to procure an extra cable or a SATA power cable splitter.
We will look over this aspect further here and also describe the ways to expand the number of SATA power connections in a desktop.
How Many SATA Power Cables Do I Need?
The SATA interface makes use of SATA data cables for connection between storage devices and motherboard. Additionally, to supply electricity to these devices, you need SATA power cables that come from the power supply unit (PSU).
A question many have is how many SATA power cables are needed for powering one or more storage devices in your desktop computer.
In the simplest of terms, you can attach one SATA power cable to a drive through a fifteen-pin connector. It depends on how many drives you want to install in your desktop computer and how many SATA power cables are available from the PSU.
Many modern PSUs come with multiple SATA power connectors either separately or on one cable. Most of them have around 5 or 6 SATA power connectors with specific models ranging up to around 10. It also depends on the specific PSU model that you have.
You can manually check or go through the specifications of the PSU to find out the number of SATA power cables or connectors that come with it.
SATA Data Cables Also Matter
We reiterate here that it’s not just the SATA power cables that are required to establish a successful connection. You also need to connect the drive to the motherboard through a SATA data cable.
This connection is used to transmit data between the drive and the motherboard.
The SATA data cable attaches to the drive on one end and the motherboard’s SATA port on the other end. The number of drives you can connect also depends upon the SATA ports that are available on the motherboard.
So, both the SATA power and data connection are needed for a drive to be installed in your desktop PC.
How to Add More SATA Power Connections in Desktop?
If you want to add more drives to your desktop and you run out of SATA power cables or individual connectors, then there are two ways through which this can be done. One is the use of SATA power splitter cable and the other through Molex to SATA adaptor cable.
We will explore each of these here:
1. Through SATA Power Splitter Cable
The primary purpose of this cable is to expand the number of SATA devices in your desktop and to provide power. It also helps in avoiding the cost of getting a new PSU to accommodate more SATA drives.
It features a SATA power connector that connects to a single PSU SATA connector and eventually breaks out into multiple SATA connectors. These connectors can be used individually to power a particular drive.
The numbers vary for the SATA power connectors that break out from cable to cable. Some cables feature up to four SATA connectors that can power up to four SATA drives, whether hard disks, solid-state drives, or optical drives.
As these cables are available at a cheap price, it’s important to get a quality one for connecting your storage devices.
Also Read: Best NAS for Home Office
2. Through Molex to SATA Adaptor Cable
You can also use a Molex to SATA adaptor cable if you run out of SATA cables from the PSU.
You may know that a Molex connector refers to the 4-pin connector that’s used to provide DC power to drives inside a PC casing.
A Molex to SATA adaptor cable works by connection to a legacy Molex port from the PSU on one end and the SATA hard drive or optical drive on the other end. Such a cable usually features one Molex connector and two SATA power connectors.
It means that you can power two SATA devices by utilizing the cable.
Note that some cables come with a single SATA power connector while others are available with even four. Those with two SATA power connectors are often dubbed as Molex to dual SATA power adaptor cable.
You can purchase one of these cables at a cheap price both offline and online for suitably powering your devices.
SATA Connections and Power Requirements
While connecting the drives through the use of SATA power cables, you need to make sure that the PSU is capable of supplying the power that your computer needs.
PSU models available today specify the maximum wattage that’s usually between 200 to 1800 watts. A hard drive consumes between 15 to 30 watts while an optical drive uses about 20 to 30 watts power.
If you add more drives to the system, they will require more power which adds to the total watts your computer consumes. Note that it should be within the limits of the PSU, otherwise you may have to upgrade to a PSU that provides more power than you need.
You can determine the power draw of the different components in your desktop and then add them together to find the total power that your system consumes. Alternatively, you can make use of the online PSU Wattage Calculator for this purpose.
In this article, you have just seen how many SATA power cables do I need.
While the available SATA power cables or connectors should be adequate to meet the requirements of most users, you can add more drives through expansion cables as we discussed above.
If you need to add more drives, choose a high-quality cable that would protect you from the risks of any mishap.
You also need to keep your computer’s overall power requirements in mind.