SATA cables are invaluable in this day and age. They are used to connect hard drives, solid-state drives and optical drives such as DVD and Blu-Ray to the motherboard. Serial ATA technology was a tremendous overhaul from earlier Parallel ATA technology. This allowed data transfer rates at speeds tens or even hundreds of times faster than previous technology.
There are two basic types of 15-pin SATA connectors, as well as a few other SATA connectors that are only used in special circumstances. The first common type of SATA is the standard male SATA to female SATA hookup. This is what you use to connect your HDD, SSD or ODD to your motherboard. Modern SATA can transfer at speeds of up to 16 GBS, over 100 times faster than the earlier PATA, which capped at 133MBS. SATA cables are very cheap. Although the price varies somewhat from brand to brand, they typically cost $2 to $5 – less than a latte at Starbucks!
Transferring information from one of your drives to your motherboard is only half the battle, however. It is also necessary to provide power to your drives. Some PSUs come with SATA power connectors, but depending on both the PSU and the number of SATA devices connected to the motherboard, there maybe not be any SATA power connections available. Since all of the data and memory storage drives (HDD, SSD, ODD) are powered through SATA connections, a converter cable becomes necessary. The most common connector is the 15-pin female SATA to a 4-pin male Molex. Most PSUs come with extra Molex dongles that go unused, so this is a perfect way to power that second hard drive, new Blu-Ray addition, or whatever else you may need it. They are also very affordable, costing $2 to $5 on average.
If you are looking to upgrade or augment your computer’s capabilities with a new HDD or ODD, then you will need a new SATA cable. You won’t find better prices or a greater selection anywhere else, and many of the SATA cables ship for free with another purchase.