Confused about SATA Ports? Here’s a quick guide that’s simple and easy to understand, aiming at cleaning your confusions and giving you the basic understanding of SATA ports, how they look, and how they work.
Table of Contents
What Is a SATA Port?
SATA ports are generally known as connectors, and they are used to connect hard drives to motherboards.
There are two SATA ports on the motherboard. They are designed to carry data between the motherboard and the drive, using a SATA data cable.
What Does a SATA Port Look Like?
Anyone who’s used a computer in the past ten to fifteen years has usually seen a Serial ATA (SATA) port present on the computer’s motherboard.
However, if that’s not you, here’s what it looks like:
It is a seven-pin L-shaped connector found on computer motherboards.
In general, a motherboard contains between 4 and 8 SATA ports, and it varies in size and chipset from one model to another.
SATA Versions Available Today and Their Color Codes
Modern SATA ports are available in 3 generations or versions: SATA 1, SATA 2, and SATA 3.
SATA 1 and SATA 2 are capable of 1.5 and 3.0 gigabits per second (GB/s), whereas SATA 3 offers the fastest speed of the three at a rate of 6 Gb/s.
SATA ports are colored differently based on the type of motherboard and the type of SATA port it employs.
A motherboard with a single-slot SATA interface will most likely have no color assigned to it; however, older motherboards with multiple SATA interfaces may have different colors, blue being meant for the SATA 3 version.
If your motherboard has a SATA 3 port, a SATA 3 compatible drive would be ideal for your needs since it can output the fastest available speeds, taking advantage of the high-speed capabilities of your motherboard.
SATA 2 ports, however, may appear as Red or Black, coming with lower speeds of 3.0 Gb/s.
Most motherboards today do not feature SATA 2 or older versions of these ports, which is a good thing, because we don’t want to deal with having to find the SATA 3 ports with the highest speeds, they’re already common nowadays.
Labeling of the SATA Ports
A typical motherboard will also label the SATA ports to indicate the fastest speed they support.
As you’ve read above, the SATA 3 port supports 6Gb/s speed, and it will be labeled the same on the motherboard, and accordingly the SATA 2 and SATA as 3Gb/s.
Having the ports labeled is very helpful, especially if you’re just a beginner and working on your motherboard by yourself.
What Does an eSATA Port Look Like?
An eSATA Port stands for External Serial ATA and uses an I-shaped connector, different from the L-shaped for the SATA interface.
With older PCs, you’ll find that there may be one or more eSATA ports as well that allow you to connect external hard drives (HDDs).
Therefore, SATA and eSATA cables are not interchangeable, you’ll need to buy different ones for each.
The good news is that you’ll not find the eSATA port much these days, it’s been replaced by much faster SATA 3, USB, and Thunderbolt ports.