Tired of Breaking SATA Connectors?

I get weekly e-mails from dedicated LR readers that complain about snapping off their Serial ATA connectors at the hard drive or on the motherboard.  This has happened to some of the staff at Legit Reviews and since it is obvious that it happens to our readers we thought an article was in store for our readers looking for a solution.  While the solution has been out for nearly three years not many of the new comers to the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) market know about these!

A Regular Serial ATA Cable

The good people over at Western Digital have noticed the need to beef up the cables and back on June 11, 2003 they released SecureConnect SATA cable technology.  This is a Serial ATA cable which is designed to solve a weakness of first-generation SATA hard drives and cables by strengthening the drive-cable connection. With SecureConnect, the drive to cable connection is strengthened by more than 500% compared to standard SATA cables. If you have ever broken a traditional SATA cable then this might be the solution to your problem, but there is a catch.  This cable is for use only with Western Digital SATA hard drives!

Western Digital Serial ATA Calble With SecureConnect Features:

Now that we know what the cable is for and that it works with only Western Digital Serial ATA hard drives let's take a look at our current SATA cable.

A Regular Serial ATA Cable

We have been using Serial ATA cables like the one pictured above for years.  At numerous LAN parties, trade shows, and press events we have seen them break in the hands of even hard drive companies.  The are far from secure and we have seen them pop out when traveling with our computers to LAN parties and such.

Now let's take a look at the Western Digital SecureConnect Serial ATA Cables.

Enter The Solution: SecureConnect

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When plugging in the WD SecureConnect cable you notice an immediate difference in the size alone.  The SecureConnect actually connects to both the SATA connector and the SATA power port in addition to the two tabs on each side of the connector.  If this connector was going to break off the hard drive it would break the entire plastic connector piece off the hard drive before the connector snapped off.  It should be noted that when using the WD SecureConnect cable, you must use the legacy power adapter (the normal 4-pin molex connector seen on the above left) because the SecureConnect cable utilizes the SATA power port to provide additional stability.

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We tried to use the SecureConnect on some Maxtor and Seagate Serial ATA hard drives we had around the test lab, but could not get the Secure Connect to work with them.  It looks like WD was right and only their drives have been designed to work with these special SATA cables. The above image shows a Western Digital SATA drive sitting on top of a Seagate Drive that clearly wont work with the SecureConnect. 

Final Thoughts:

With the growing DIY market first time system builders may look over the little details that make a system rock solid. Products like the Western Digital SecureConnect are no longer being marketed, so you don't find review sites talking about them, but they make a huge difference.  Since more and more critical data is being plaved on hard drives the last thing you want to do is break your SATA connector off.  The WD SecureConnect can be found for under $8 plus shipping, which is cheap insurance if you ask us. 

Legit Reviews tested the SecureConnect cable on the WD Raptor, RaptorX and the WD Caviar SE Serial ATA drives and found that the cable worked great on all of the series. If by some chance you manage to break or ruin one of these Western Digital backs the SecureConnect with a five year warranty, which seems fair to us for a cable! All said and done the SecureConnect is a great accessory to your Western Digital hard drive and something to ponder the next time you are thinking about what brand of hard drive to purchase.

The difference is obvious and in closing let me leave you with this image:

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Which do you want plugged into your hard drive?

Legit Bottom Line: The Western Digital SecureConnect Serial ATA Cable strengthens the drive-to-cable connection preventing the connection to break off causing the inability to access the data stored on the hard drive.