The Test Drive II
SATA drives can not be connected to your computer with the standard IDE and Molex power connectors as becomes clear when viewing the back of the drive. Two new interfaces are need to use the drive. If you have a motherboard with serial ATA support you will have probably been supplied with an SATA data cable as shown below. However you will also need a Molex to SATA power conversion lead which is not supplied with either the motherboard or hard drive. I can foresee this power lead becoming a source of frustration for many people ordering SATA drives, hopefully when the drives hit the retail market the cable will be supplied with the hard drive.
Connecting the drive is very easy indeed. The SATA connectors are very well designed and will only fit the correct way round. There are no pins to bend or break as the fittings are more like USB than IDE.
Currently motherboards with SATA connectors run via the PCI bus. Some have connection via a SATA RAID controller, but our test board used a single SATA connector which is linked to a stand alone SATA controller chip. Once installed and booted the drive was displayed in the Bios taking the place of the primary IDE device. Windows XP located the drive as new hardware and the drive was fully visible. The Seagate drive is fully SMART enabled. This gives access to drive monitoring information including temperature.