Motherboards priced above a certain level will contain two or more SATA cables. Although many brands cut corners and skip on SATA cables with inexpensive units, you can expect at least 2 SATA cables no matter the price. And most PCs will require no more than 2-3 SATA cables for flawless transmissions.
However, SATA cables are not among the pricier components, meaning you can buy them separately if the need comes. But for each additional SATA driver, you will have to add SATA power cables as well. So, there’s that.
Do All Motherboards Come With SATA Cables?
The question itself is a bit of a conversation starter, as different manufacturers have separate takes on this issue. Yet, nowadays, motherboards without SATA cables have become pretty rare. Therefore, you can pretty much rest assured of getting a pair of free SATA cables with the unit you purchase.
How Many SATA Data Cables Come With a Motherboard
In general, you can expect a motherboard to come with at most 2-4 SATA cables. However, the number is not fixed and can vary from one manufacturer to another. But no matter what, if you need multiple (more than 4) SATA cables, you will have to purchase them separately.
Most interestingly, the number of SATA data cables does not define what the motherboard can handle. In other words, a motherboard may come with 6 SATA ports but only 2 SATA cables.
Do SATA Cables Come With a Motherboard or Power Supply
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. That is to say, SATA cables do come with both motherboards and power supply units, but they are of different sorts. Let’s take a closer look at the types.
SATA Data Cables
SATA data cables are those used to run SATA storage drives (HDD/SSD). For example, 3.5-inch HDDs, 2.5-inch HDDs/SSDs, or DVD drives require SATA data cables. While one end of these cables connects to the equivalent slot on the motherboard, the opposite end goes into the storage devices.
As for appearance, SATA data cables are narrow and flat, with seven pins on each of the ends. Also, one end may or may not have a right-angle connector, depending on the manufacturer. Usually, they connect to the SATA ports on a motherboard and thereby come with motherboards.
SATA Power Cables
Unlike SATA data cables, SATA power cables come with PSUs and feed power to the drives. Interestingly, they are compatible with the same set of SATA storage devices and DVD drives. But they do not come with motherboards.
You can differentiate them from the SATA data cables by simply looking at the number of pins. Unlike 7-pin SATA data cables, SATA power cables will have 15 pins, the standard for all SATA-based drives.
There are also different types of SATA cables, known as SATA 1, SATA 2, and SATA 3. But these only vary in terms of data transfer speeds and usually ship with motherboards. Besides, you can purchase these cables separately once you confirm they are compatible with your motherboard and drive.
Do New Motherboards Come With Cables?
Some of them do while others don’t. And even if they do, only a couple of cables is what you’ll get, which again may require right-angle plugs. To clarify, SATA cables that come with newly bought motherboards usually consist of straight plugs, making it hard to fit behind components like GPUs. So, you will be better off with a couple of right-angle connectors.
Additional cables that come with motherboards include a Floppy cable, IDE cable, 2 SATA cables, and power adapters.
What Are the Alternatives for SATA Cables?
Even though SATA cables are the standard for connecting PC components, you can get some alternatives too. Those are –
- eSATA cables
- M.2 cables
- mini-SAS cables
- USB 3.0 cables
Frequently Asked Questions
Do SATA cables come with SSDs?
In most cases, SATA cables do not come with SSDs or any storage or DVD drives for that matter. Often, they will come with brand-new motherboards or are sold separately at a not-so-high price tag.
How many SATA cables do you need?
Unless you have a custom-built PC with additional SATA-based devices, the number of SATA cables required is two. You’ll need one for the CD/DVD drive and the other for the HDD/SSD drive. However, you will also require SATA power cables, one for each drive.
SATA-based drives, storage or optical ones, usually do not come with SATA cables. Thus, the place to look for them is none other than inside that motherboard package. And you won’t be disappointed as motherboards, regardless of price, come with a couple of if not more SATA cables.