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Is there something fundamentally different about hard drives and optical drives regarding how they communicate with the computer? I ordered a SATA to USB adapter from Monoprice and I want to know whether it will work with an SATA optical drive removed from a MacBook Pro.

Can anyone shed some light on the subject?

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SATA is SATA. There's nothing that should stop you from it as long as it's actually SATA and not mSATA.

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+1, SATA defines a physical connection and the logical link circuitry. It does not define the data protocol (which is still just plain old ATA for disk drives and ATAPI for CD type drives). – Chris S May 20 '10 at 1:19

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