Installation of Serial ATA devices differs a little bit from standard IDE devices, as Serial ATA is a point-to-point connection, i.e., you can connect only one device per port (parallel IDE allows two devices per port using a master/slave configuration). So installing Serial ATA devices is easier than installing parallel IDE ones: connect one end of the cable on the Serial ATA port (usually located on the motherboard) and the other end of the cable on the device you wish to connect (a hard disk drive, for instance). As this connector has a notch, it can’t be installed in the wrong position.

Serial ATA standard also defines a new power 15-pin supply connector. This connector was made standard from ATX12V 1.3 specification on. So if your computer has an ATX12V 1.3 or above power supply, it will have this connector. Even though a 15-pin connector is used, this power connection uses only five wires (one +12 V, one +5 V, one +3.3 V and two grounds).

SATA-300 hard disk drives may have a configuration jumper to force the drive to work as a SATA-150 device. The problem is that this jumper comes installed on the SATA-150 position, limiting your disk drive performance if it is installed on a motherboard with SATA-300 ports. The correct configuration of this jumper is very important and we will describe it in details in the next page.

So installing a SATA hard disk drive is rather simple: remove or change the position of the SATA-150/SATA-300 jumper (if available, detailed information in the next page), connect the Serial ATA cable and the power cable with your PC turned off and that’s it.

SATA HDDFigure 4: Connectors found on a SATA hard disk drive.

Serial ATA Power ConnectorFigure 5: Serial ATA power connectors found on ATX12V power supplies revision 1.3 and above.

SATA Hard Disk Drive InstallationFigure 6: SATA hard disk drive connected to the motherboard.

Serial ATAFigure 7: Standard IDE hard disk drive "converted" to Serial ATA through an adapter.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.