Motherboard specifies "eSATA" - My HDD is "SATA"

I already have a new, still-in-the-box, Hard Disk Drive.

Western Digital Caviar (Black) 500GB, SATA 6GB, 32MB Cache

WD5002AALX - 00J37A0
Manufactured Date: Aug 2, 2011

I'm trying to find and buy a new motherboard. The ones I've looked at, so far, on have information in the "Details" section of each board. Many of the MB's specify "eSATA" (with no mention of just "SATA)."

Since my HDD says SATA, does that mean that those MB Ports cannot use it? Or, is eSATA a spec that is somehow 'backwards compatible' with SATA?

I'm confused, and do not want to waste money on a MB that won't support my HDD.
3 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    When a motherboard specifies "eSATA", what they're talking about is that they have an external connector that shows through the back of the case so that you can connect an external drive using the "eSATA" protocol (which is basically the same as SATA except for more robust signalling that lets you use a longer cable).

    All modern motherboards ALSO include INTERNAL connectors for plane-Jane SATA drives. So if you have a SATA hard drive then you'll be able to use it with any current desktop motherboard.
  2. eSATA is functionally identical to SATA except it's designed for external connections rather than internal ones. The differences are mostly mechanical (longer, tougher cable with added shielding and insulation) and stricter electrical specifications (but otherwise within the SATA specification). An eSATA connector can actually plug into a SATA header and both connect to the same hardware controller. If your motherboard has an eSATA connector, it likely also has at least 1-6 additional SATA plugs internally as these have been standard on all motherboards since the mid 2000s. In all likelihood your main hard drive and optical drive are already connected over SATA.

    If you are not certain, you can check yourself. Take a look at so you know what to look for
  3. Thank you both for your answers. I feel better now about buying one of those MB's that I was looking at!
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