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Dealing with the Cable Issue

SATA requires data cables that are incompatible with IDE, and power cables that require an adaptor to work with the different SATA power connector. Some drives have IDE-type power connectors; others have IDE-to-SATA adaptors packaged. Since my drive was in an OEM package, I had no reason to believe that even an adapter can be packaged. I also had no indication that I couldn't stack my SATA drives vertically in my case's drive bays.

First, look for cable connectors on your motherboard labeled "SATA," or references in your motherboard manual to SATA connectors. Although current-generation motherboards have SATA, don't take SATA compatibility for granted.

Here's what I ordered:

  • Two SATA-II OKGEAR 18" SATA II cables, model GC18ATASM12 (If your motherboard and drive both support SATA-II, do not get SATA-1 or SATA-150 cables.)
  • Power Y-adaptor: OKGEAR 6" Molex 4-pin male, to two 15-pin SATA power cables, model GC6ATAM2, with IDE on one side and SATA on the output pair.

Check your power supply cables before buying power adaptors. If you have a current-generation PSU (the kind with a separate 4-pin CPU power cable), it's very likely that you already have the flat, thin, wide connectors with the L-shaped openings ready for plugging into the SATA drives on the wiring harness (as I did). Look for connectors on your PSU wiring harness that are as described here and that don't fit anything you've got.

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