Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I install an eSATA port?

    eSATA is a technology for connecting SATA hard drives outside your computer. This makes it easy to store files on an external hard drive for backup or portable use, similar to USB and Firewire drives, except eSATA is much faster. The biggest drawback to using eSATA devices is that they must use external power (connected to a power outlet).

    eSATA options:

    • Check your computer for an eSATA port, which will probably be labeled. The port will most often be in the next to the other ports, but sometimes it could be in the front. The port is small and rectangular, about the size of a USB connection, but a USB cable will not fit into it.
    • Install an eSATA expansion card. Purchase a card that’s compatible with the available expansion slots on your motherboard (most likely PCI or PCI Express). Disconnect power from your computer, then open the case. Insert the expansion card into an available expansion slot, then close the case and reconnect power. Install any drivers that came with the card.
    • If you have a laptop with a PC Card or ExpressCard slot, you can install an eSATA card into the slot to gain an eSATA port. Install any drivers that came with the card, and the port will work.

    Install an eSATA port bracket or a media dashboard into an available front drive bay (such as the bays that hold your CD/DVD drive). Media dashboards can include a memory card reader, headphone and microphone jacks, additional USB ports, and an eSATA port. These expansion devices connect directly to the motherboard. See the device’s documentation for full installation instructions.

  • How do I install a SATA controller card into my computer?

    Note: These instructions assume you are installing your SATA controller into a computer with PCI or PCI Express slots.

    Warning: Always disconnect power before opening your computer case and working inside.

    Caution: To avoid damaging components with electrostatic discharge, wear a grounding strap whenever you work on internal components.

    To install a SATA controller card:

    1. Purchase a SATA card that's compatible with the available expansion slots on your motherboard (most likely PCI or PCI Express) and suits your needs. If you need to connect internal devices (such as SATA hard drives or CD/DVD drives), get a SATA card with internal ports. If you need to connect external devices (such as portable hard drives), get a card with external ports. Some cards even provide both.
    2. Turn off your computer and unplug the power cord from the back of the computer.
    3. Open your computer case.
    4. Insert the expansion card into an available PCI or PCI Express expansion slot. Make sure the card is firmly seated in the expansion slot.
    5. If you need to connect internal drives to the SATA controller card's internal ports, connect them now. If you need to connect external devices to the SATA controller's external ports, you can connect them later.
    6. Close your computer case and reconnect power.
    7. Install any drivers that came with the card.