Hard drive connector

Hard drive connector DEFAULT

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Hard Drives

In a computer, the Hard Drive (HDD) is used for storing and retrieving data such as the Operating System, programs, and user files. This data is retained even when the computer is powered off.

In a desktop computer the Hard Drive comes in a standard size of inches while a laptop computer contains a smaller inch Hard Drive. There is more information about the inch Hard Drive on the Laptop page.

The Hard Drive is connected to the motherboard via an interface cable. There are three main types of Hard Drive interface including the older IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) also called PATA (Parallel ATA), the new SATA (Serial ATA), and SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) which is mainly used on servers and in industry.

Hard Drives - SATA & IDEHard Drives SATA & IDE.
The two main types of Hard Drive on a Home Computer include the older IDE Hard Drive, and the new SATA Hard Drive which are pictured above. They are both the same size and look identical except for the power and data connectors.

Why should i buy a Hard Drive for my desktop computer?

Hard Drives are mechanical devices with moving parts which can fail resulting in the loss of all your data although they are relatively cheap and easy to replace. You may also want to add more Hard Drives to your computer for additional storage space.

Which type of Hard Drive should i buy?

First you need to look at your computer's motherboard or look in your motherboard manual and determine if it contains the older IDE connectors or the newer SATA connectors. The motherboard may even contain both types of connector.

Motherboard SATA & IDE connectors.
If the motherboard has IDE connectors then you will need an IDE (PATA) Hard Drive. There are usually two IDE connectors on the motherboard and each connector can control up to two drives allowing a total of four drives to be connected in total. A newer computer will most likely have SATA connectors which allow one drive per SATA connector. If you intend to add more internal Hard Drives to your computer then you will not only need a spare data connector but will also need room to install the Drive into the case.

Once you have determined the type of Hard Drive to buy then you will want to buy one which has the largest capacity you can afford as well as being fast. The capacity of the disk determines how much data can be stored and is measured in GB (Gigabytes) or TB (Terrabytes). The speed of the Hard Drive depends on how fast it spins and common speeds include 5,rpm (revolutions per minute) or 7,rpm. It is recommended to get the faster drive.

Looking at the photo of the SATA connectors above you will see that four connectors are blue and two are white. The blue connectors on this motherboard are SATA2 (SATA II) and the white connectors are SATA3 (SATA III). SATA2 is a second generation interface which runs at 3 Gbits/s ( Megabytes per second) and SATA3 is a third generation interface running much faster at 6 Gbits/s ( Megabytes per second). First generation SATA1 used to run at Gbits/s ( Megabytes per second). If your motherboard supports SATA3 then it makes sense to buy a SATA3 Hard Drive that takes advantage of this speed. If you only have SATA2 connectors on the motherboard then it will still work okay with a SATA3 Hard Drive as it is backwards compatible but it will work at a slower speed.

You may notice when looking at the specifications of Hard Drives that they have different size caches. This is embedded memory inside the Drive which is used as a buffer to speed up data transfer. Generally a larger cache (measured in Megabytes) is preferred.

The following Hard Drive brands are popular:- Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Hitachi, and Samsung.

Today you can purchase Green Hard Drives which are available from Western Digital and Seagate. They are marketed to be enviromentally friendly by using less power and will run cooler and quieter than a normal Hard Drive.

You can also add an external Hard Drive to your computer which is usually connected by a USB (Universal Serial Bus) connector. This is a good idea if you do not want to fit an internal Hard Drive or there are not enough Connectors or space to fit the drive inside the case. You also have the option to disconnect the external Hard Drive and use it on another computer. It will however be slower than an internal Hard Drive.

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Hard disk drive interface

Hard disk drives are accessed over one of a number of bus types, including parallel ATA (PATA, also called IDE or EIDE; described before the introduction of SATA as ATA), Serial ATA (SATA), SCSI, Serial Attached SCSI (SAS), and Fibre Channel. Bridge circuitry is sometimes used to connect hard disk drives to buses with which they cannot communicate natively, such as IEEE&#;, USB, SCSI and Thunderbolt.

Disk interface families[edit]

Disk drive interfaces have evolved from simple interfaces requiring complex controllers to attach to a computer into high level interfaces that present a consistent interface to a computer system regardless of the internal technology of the hard disk drive. The following table lists some common HDD interfaces in chronological order:

Early interfaces[edit]

A data cable (top) and control cable (below) connecting a controller card and an STtype HDD. Power cable not shown.

The earliest hard disk drive (HDD) interfaces were bit serial data interfaces that connected an HDD to a controller with two cables, one for control and one for data.[a] An additional cable was used for power, initially frequently AC but later usually connected directly to a DC power supply unit. The controller provided significant functions such as serial/parallel conversion, data separation, and track formatting, and required matching to the drive (after formatting) in order to assure reliability. Each control cable could serve two or more drives, while a dedicated (and smaller) data cable served each drive.

Examples of such early interfaces include:

  • Many early IBM drives, e.g., IBM ,[1] had such an interface.
  • The SMD interface was popular on minicomputers in the s.
  • ST used MFM (Modified Frequency Modulation) for the data encoding method.
  • ST, an ST variant was available in either MFM or RLL (Run Length Limited) encoding variants.
  • Enhanced Small Disk Interface (ESDI) was an industry standard interface similar to ST supporting higher data rates between the processor and the disk drive.

In bit serial data interfaces the data frequency, data encoding scheme as written to the disk surface and error detection all influenced the design of the supporting controller. Encoding schemes used included Frequency modulation (FM), Modified Frequency Modulation (MFM) and RLL[2] encoding at frequencies for example ranging from &#;MHz (FM on ) to &#;MHz (RLL on ST) MHz. Thus each time the internal technology advanced there was a necessary delay as controllers were designed or redesigned to accommodate the advancement; this along with the cost of controller development led to the introduction of Word serial interfaces.

Enhanced Small Disk Interface (ESDI) was an attempt to minimize controller design time by supporting multiple data rates with a standard data encoding scheme; this was usually negotiated automatically by the disk drive and controller; most of the time, however, 15 or 20&#;megabit ESDI disk drives were not downward compatible (i.e. a 15 or 20&#;megabit disk drive would not run on a 10&#;megabit controller). ESDI disk drives typically also had jumpers to set the number of sectors per track and (in some cases) sector size.

Word serial interfaces[edit]

Historical Word serial interfaces connect a hard disk drive to a bus adapter[b] with one cable for combined data/control. (As for all early interfaces above, each drive also has an additional power cable, usually direct to the power supply unit.) The earliest versions of these interfaces typically had an 8&#;bit parallel data transfer to/from the drive, but bit versions became much more common, and there are 32&#;bit versions. The word nature of data transfer makes the design of a host bus adapter significantly simpler than that of the precursor HDD controller.

  • CTL-I (Controller Interface)[3] was an 8-bit word serial interface introduced by IBM for its mainframe hard disk drives beginning with the in [4] The was the first unit in a string of up to eight type hard disk drives; it contained a CTL-I controller and two type disk drives. Subsequently, the first drive (containing a CTL-I controller) in a string of drives was designated by IBM as an A-unit.[5] The drives within an A-unit and all other drives in a string had interfaces similar to the early interfaces, above. A-units connected to IBM Directors or integrated attachments.
  • Small Computer System Interface (SCSI), originally named SASI for Shugart Associates System Interface, is an early (circa ) industry standard interface explicitly deployed to minimize system integration efforts.[6] SCSI disks became standard on servers and workstations. Commodore Amiga, and Apple Macintosh deployed SCSI drive through the mids, by which time most models had been transitioned to ATA (and later, SATA) family disks. Only in did the capacity of SCSI disks fall behind ATA disk technology, though the highest-performance disks are still available in SCSI, SAS and Fibre Channel only. The range limitations of the data cable allows for external SCSI devices. Originally SCSI data cables used single ended (common mode) data transmission, but server class SCSI could use differential transmission, either low voltage differential (LVD) or high voltage differential (HVD). ("Low" and "High" voltages for differential SCSI are relative to SCSI standards and do not meet the meaning of low voltage and high voltage as used in general electrical engineering contexts, as apply e.g. to statutory electrical codes; both LVD and HVD use low voltage signals ( V and 5 V respectively) in general terminology.)
Several Parallel ATA hard disk drives
  • Parallel ATA, originally IDE and then standardized under the name AT Attachment (ATA), with the alias P-ATA or PATA retroactively added upon introduction of the new variant Serial ATA. The original name (circa ) reflected the integration of the controller with the hard drive itself. (That integration was not new with IDE, having been done a few years earlier with SCSI drives.) Moving the HDD controller from the interface card to the disk drive helped to standardize the host/contoller interface, reduce the programming complexity in the host device driver, and reduced system cost and complexity. The pin IDE/ATA connection transfers 16&#;bits of data at a time on the data cable. The data cable was originally conductor, but later higher speed requirements for data transfer to and from the hard drive led to an "ultra DMA" mode, known as UDMA. Progressively swifter versions of this standard ultimately added the requirement for an conductor variant of the same cable, where half of the conductors provides grounding necessary for enhanced high-speed signal quality by reducing crosstalk. The interface for conductor only has 39 pins, the missing pin acting as a key to prevent incorrect insertion of the connector to an incompatible socket, a common cause of disk and controller damage.

Bit serial interfaces[edit]

Modern bit serial interfaces connect a hard disk drive to a host bus interface adapter (today in a PC typically integrated into the "south bridge") with one data/control cable. Each drive also has an additional power cable, usually direct to the power supply unit.

  • DECs Standard Disk Interconnect (SDI) was an early example of a modern bit serial interface.
  • Fibre Channel (FC) is a successor to parallel SCSI interface on enterprise market. It is a serial protocol. In disk drives usually the Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL) connection topology is used. FC has much broader usage than mere disk interfaces, and it is the cornerstone of storage area networks (SANs). Recently other protocols for this field, like iSCSI and ATA over Ethernet have been developed as well. Confusingly, drives usually use copper twisted-pair cables for Fibre Channel, not fibre optics. The latter are traditionally reserved for larger devices, such as servers or disk array controllers.
An mSATA SSDon top of a inch SATA drive
  • Serial ATA (SATA). The SATA data cable has one data pair for differential transmission of data to the device, and one pair for differential receiving from the device, just like EIA That requires that data be transmitted serially. A similar differential signaling system is used in RS, LocalTalk, USB, FireWire, and differential SCSI.
  • Serial Attached SCSI (SAS). The SAS is a new generation serial communication protocol for devices designed to allow for much higher speed data transfers and is compatible with SATA. SAS uses a mechanically identical data and power connector to standard inch SATA1/SATA2 HDDs, and many server-oriented SAS RAID controllers are also capable of addressing SATA hard drives. SAS uses serial communication instead of the parallel method found in traditional SCSI devices but still uses SCSI commands.


  1. ^A few HDDs were parallel data transfer device, e.g. IBM
  2. ^Today typically integrated but separate boards or boxes in early embodiments


  1. ^IBM Field Engineering Theory of Operation, October , Chapter 3 and Fig.
  2. ^"Reed Solomon Codes&#;– Introduction"
  3. ^IBM Storage Control,Models 1, 2, 3, and 4 Description Manual, GA September
  4. ^Via 'New Attachment Strategy' IBM Meant to Frustrate PCMs
  5. ^IBM Storage Control Reference: GLOSSARY, GA, © Copyright IBM Corp. ,
  6. ^“Intelligent systems interface eases peripheral integration,” H. Meyer & J. Korpi, Electronic Design, August 20, , pp.

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_disk_drive_interface
Hard Drive Connector Types Explained! - SAS, SATA, SCSI, FC, IDE


Connector hard drive


How to connect 3.5 Inch Sata HDD to Laptop via USB


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