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What is a SATA cord?


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starchild's Avatar
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20-Feb-2008, 12:56 AM #1
What is a SATA cord?
I want to buy a new DVD burner drive for my 2 year old DELL XPS 400 with Win XP to replace the one in it, that isn't working too well. When looking around online, I have found some that look good, but some say SATA and "includes SATA cord". In the pictures, on the back of the drive it shows where the SATA plug(s) plug in the back of the drive.

I'm not experienced with putting in drives, but I'm confident I can replace the one I have now, the WAY it is, which has a long plug on a flat ribbon cord (another plug on it goes to the other CD-ROM drive) and the power cord (plug) beside this. This is how I've always seen the drives plugged in.

I've looked in searches and found SATA cord (apparently they are all red) but don't understand what it is, and what it's used for. Do I have to use it? Can I buy a drive that comes with a SATA cord and just hook it up on the long plug, flat ribbon cord like the one I have? Or should I look for a drive that doesn't have this?

Just when I think I have something figured out, there's something new to figure out!

Thanks,
Carrie
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20-Feb-2008, 02:35 AM #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by starchild View Post
Just when I think I have something figured out, there's something new to figure out!
Well, you have something new to figure out again.

The drives that connect with about a 2 inch wide flat cable have a Parallel data interface known as ATA/IDE/EIDE. Newer drives and computer motherboards now support a more compact Serial ATA (SATA) interface that is not interchangeable with the older ATA/IDE/EIDE interface.

Unless your computer's motherboard has a SATA interface built in, you install a SATA controller expansion card or add a SATA to IDE converter board there is no way to use a SATA drive in your computer.
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20-Feb-2008, 04:59 AM #3
Your computer has SATA ports, so I assume a SATA DVD would work:
http://www.dell.com/content/products...~section=specs
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20-Feb-2008, 09:19 AM #4
Basically, rather than connecting your drive with a wide IDE cable (That really wide gross air movement preventing cable) You will have a Sata cable which is much thinner and nicer to deal with.
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20-Feb-2008, 09:46 AM #5
Replace the drive with an ide type drive. It is a very simple procedure. You remove the old cable and power connector, unscrew the drive or release the spring clips and slide it out. Reverse the above to install.

Note ide devices like hd, CD, DVD have a jumper setting in the back of the drive. Set the new drive the same way as the old one ie MS [master] SL [slave] or CS [cable select]

Good to go.

I just checked newegg and they still show a large number of ide type drives available.
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20-Feb-2008, 10:53 AM #6
Thanks!
You'd think they'd make this clear in the info about the drives, for those of us who never heard of it before.

It's good to know my PC supports this, too.

I sat up for hours last night, looking (seems like so many of the drives are, or sound alike) trying to figure out every possible angle for now or the future.

This morning, I have this one bookmarked from Tiger Direct (that, and Newegg have been mentioned on this board before)

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...1&sku=L12-1150

I find myself thinking "it sounds too low priced" (LOL) The original one that came with Dell didn't work good (for all DVDs, etc) so about a year later my grandson got me one from Wallmart (I live in VT and Wallmart is in another state from me) I think it was around $39. At one point it stopped opening/ejecting good. It would whirrr and make noises and try and not open. I'd stick an openned paper clip in the manual eject, wiggle it and push the button and it would open. At the end of burning, when done, it usually would open okay. I got so disgusted with this, I decided to look online and they really aren't THAT expensive. I just want to make sure they burn all sorts of blanks, because I don't have a good choice (Iocally) or have to buy online and pay shipping.
As to LightScribe, this is also something new, I looked it up and read about it last night. I don't anticipate using it now (buying special DVDs for this) but... it sounds like something good to have. One of the ideas I play around with is making screensavers and selling them (on ebay) on CDs or DVDs, since I'm into photography and live in scenic VT. It looks like some places sell Lightscribe blanks that come in colors, too.
I really should be reading on this board more, and learning about this stuff.
I find when I start reading here more, I end up spending so much time here I never get anything else done (LOL) It's addicting.
But, yes, I think I will stick with the regular plug in drives, I am used to. I know about the pins in the back, but the ones I now have (and put in) have been set on "auto".

One thing I love about my DELL (don't know if it's true for them all) is how easily the case opens and closes. That should be a criteria on ALL computers.
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20-Feb-2008, 01:17 PM #7
Here is a little better deal from the egg AND free shipping.
LiteOn Drive
OEM means it is a bare drive without burning software, cables, etc. If you need those, then go with a retail drive.
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