Fitting an eSATA bracket

I would like to fit an eSATA bracket in my new (desktop tower) PC; preferably a double one to run two external drives. However, the computer came woefully under documented. It does have a (single) SATA drive in it. Can I be confident that, when I open it up, there will be (at least) two free SATA sockets to plug the bracket into? If it has more than two (as I recall, my old computer did), does it matter which I use?

Under “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers”, Device Manager lists “ATA Channel 0", “ATA Channel 1", and “Intel® Series/C200 Series Chipset Family 6 Port SATA AHCI Controller - 1C02", if that means anything to you. (Is “6 Port” telling me what I need to know?)

Actually, while I have the attention of people who know about these things, the PC World online advertisement for my PC says that it contains “one PCIe x1" expansion card slot, but there is no mention of this in the very meager documentation I got with it, or even on the manufacturer’s web site. Is there any way of telling whether this (or any other free expansion card slot) really exists, short of actually opening the case and looking. I thought Device Manager might help, but I am not sure where to look in there, or what to look for.

Is this case particularly difficult to get to? It’s not like opening the case is, in and of itself, an especially arduous task. It’s usually two screws, and often they are thumbscrews.

Still, if you’re completely against the idea of just opening the hood and looking, you could download Speccy. It provides amazingly detailed information. Exactly what it will tell you depends on what your motherboard will tell it.

Do a Google image search of ‘eSATA bracket’ and you’ll figure out how easy this is.

The bracket doesn’t require a expansion slot on the mother board, all it requires is an open slot on the back of the case to fit into. It’s one screw that hols these in place. From there, plug the cables into the SATA sockets - I’ll bet you have at least one open socket. Easiest way to find out is to open it up and look. It won’t matter which ones you use, although if you do find SATA sockets of different colors then they have different speeds and you can match the right socket to the drives you plan to use. On my computer the 3Gb/s sockets are blue and the 6Gb/s sockets are white. This will only matter if your drives are 6Gb/s, a 3Gb/s drive will work on either socket.

too late to edit: A 6Gb/s drive will work on a 3Gb/s socket, but only at 3Gb/s,

Well, yes, it is a fairly major pain for me. It means I have to lie down on the floor under the table and unplug everything, some of which involves unscrewing things with my hand at an awkward angle, by teh light of a flashlight, with my glasses constantly threatening to fall off my face. Then after pulling the computer out and opening it I have do that all again in reverse. If I were 20 or even 30, and had perfect eyesight, that might be trivial, but I am old and my joints are stiff and my uncorrected sight is poor. I do not want to go through this process more often than I have to, thank you very much. That is why I am trying to find out here if there is a better way.

Ok, I tried this, but it does not give the information i need.

I had a bit more luck googling the information about the chipset that mentioned in my OP. My first attempt found only two hits, this thread and something in (I think) Swedish, but eventually I found an Intel PDF of specs of what may be the right thing. The trouble with that is that it is almost 1,000 pages long, and mostly gobbledegook to me, but, by getting creative with my PDF reader’s search function, I did eventually find a footnote that seems to imply that there are six sockets, some, but not all, of which will work at 6Gb/s. I do feel there ought to be an easier and more certain way to discover this, though.

Dag Otto, thanks for the advice on transfer speeds. The trouble is that I now realize that I don’t actually know the transfer speed even of the external hard drive that I only bought last month. It certainly does not say on the box or on the useless little pamphlets that came inside it. I did eventually find what seems to be a model number in small print on a sticker on the bottom of the box, and I tried to look it up on the Western Digital web site. None of the information there matches it! Two models of drive are described that are more or less similar to the one I have (though neither match my model number). They seem to be much the same except that one of them is 6Gb/s and the other is 3Gb/s! Why the heck they can’t just print information like this on the box, or on the papers inside, is beyond me! They print all sorts of obvious, useless “safety” information in 37 languages, but not what someone actually trying to use the damn thing needs to know. I suppose I will just have to guess (assuming the free sockets actually do turn out to exist).