I've got some old hard drives I'd like to connect to my new computer to quickly transfer gigs and gigs of data from the old drives to my nice large new drives. The old drives are PATA/IDE/ATA and the new computer's motherboard only supports SATA drives.

I found this PCI IDE raid controller card. Will this work? How do I power the old drives. My power supply has only new-style connectors.

I want to do a one-time dump of miscellaneous data (mp3s, DVD images, MAME roms, photos, videos, documents, etc.) off of 5-or-6 smaller, older PATA drives onto my newer, larger SATA drives. I've been unable to "retire" two old computers because I've never gotten around to this housekeeping task. Now I want to get rid of the clutter.

I'd rather avoid the USB solutions. I've got a lot of data to transfer and I want it to go as quickly as possible.

The DVD drive is SATA--not PATA. It's a Dell computer, they don't seem to give away a single extra port on their motherboards. I'm surprised it came with even a free PCI slot.

I've asked: How much slower is USB than SATA or PATA for HDD?

I don't know a power supply model number or anything. It came with a cheap Dell computer. There are no molex power connectors because the computer came with no such drives. The DVD drive is SATA.

I've found adapters, but they go the wrong way: old power supply to new drive.

molex 4pin male to 15pin SATA power cable

This was for a one-time bulk file copy to retire/repurpose the old disk drives and I'm now done. But, I would be interested to know if anyone found such an adapter.

  • Adapter for Data, adapter for Power
    – basszero
    Commented Sep 18, 2008 at 14:37
  • The link in the question, 'How much slower is USB than SATA or PATA for HDD?', is broken. If you're interested, see Bratch's answer to How to measure data transfer speed between my internal SATA HDD and External USB HDD?. Note that the listings are theoretical maximums, you will see lower speeds in real-world tests.
    – TonyR
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 15:29
  • In 2024, The statement that USB is much slower is mostly not true especially for mechanical hard drives. Sure USB 1 has horrible speeds, but USB 2 already support 20-30mb/s. If you have USB 3 you can get close to 600mb/s, and in this case the USB port is way faster than your PATA hdd will ever be. So USB 3 is 5000mbit/s, but type C and etc provides 10000,20000, and even 40000mbit/s in some cases. Your PATA hdd would be lucky to hit 60mb/s.
    – cybernard
    Commented Apr 30 at 15:20

8 Answers 8


I ended up Frankensteining two computers together. I put a PCI PATA card in the new machine for the data connection and got power from a different computer. Ugly.

PATA drive in a SATA computer

  • 5
    I can't help noticing the computer on the left is not plugged in :) You could also get one of these usb -> PATA adapters and just use the molex from it, worked nicely for me Commented Dec 1, 2008 at 16:22
  • 6
    Well... let's assume there's another power outlet to the left. :) Commented Jan 6, 2009 at 14:00
  • 2
    This is really bad if there's a ground loop. I'm surprised you didn't fry something.
    – Broam
    Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 15:38
  • Nice to see such a solution, grounding shouldn't be a problem as both PC's PSU's are grounded and the voltages in question are very low...
    – HaydnWVN
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 11:25
  • 1
    @HaydnWVN that's a fair remark, but I was especially worried because Zack Peterson chose to draw the supply lines not going to the same outlet. Regarding percentages: It used to happen to me a lot that when I ran Ethernet cabling from my PC in the next room to my PC in my old-building living room, and the water heater was on, there was a very short arcing when the cable shield touched the PC chassis. So, not that rare. Old building wiring is … weird, and bad. Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 10:40

The easiest thing to do would be to buy a external enclosure, and use that to power/access the drives.

Newegg's selection

  • what about the perfomance hit when transfering over two different interfaces of differing speeds? you have the blazingly fast sata waiting for reads and writes from the slower usb or firewire
    – jake
    Commented Sep 25, 2008 at 11:19
  • 1
    @jake: You're already going to have that problem - the old drive is PATA :)
    – Broam
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 21:33
  • There are many external solutions for caddys to connect to an external/rear motherboard SATA connector. You would have the ease and compatability of an external caddy with the speed of SATA... :)
    – HaydnWVN
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 11:26

Here's a power adapter that goes the right way...

SATA 15-Pin Power Male Connector / Adapter / Converter to Standard Molex 4-Pin Power Female for Hard Drives and Optical Drives

SATA 15-Pin Power Male Connector / Adapter / Converter to Standard Molex 4-Pin Power Female for Hard Drives and Optical Drives

Great for those with new Dell, HP, Compaq PCs that do not include any 4-Pin Molex connectors on their Power Supplies!

If you need to use an older IDE hard drive or optical drive with a new SATA power supply, look no further than xPCgear’s LP4 to SATA power adapter.



If you are just transferring the data over and you don't plan on using them as drive space in the new machine, I would just get an IDE to USB (and/or Fireware) enclose and put the drives in the enclose. I did that when I went from a PATA box to a SATA box.

I also picked up an USB to SATA/IDE cable. It's handy If I need to diagnose a friend or family member's PC. You can hook that up to a drive while it's still inside another computer and run the USB cable to your machine. There are a bunch of them out there, here's one at Tiger Direct.

  • Nope... I want to do something so ridiculous as restoring a 2004 computer to Windows 7 :) The old hard drive is history... Sitting in several pieces on my desk.
    – L.B.
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 16:56

Yes, that card should work fine.

Zack writes:

How do I power the old drives. My power supply has only new-style connectors.

What type of power connector does your DVD drive use? It should also work on the PATA drives.
SATA is the same cables, just with a new plug format, so it should be possible to find a simple adapter if you need it.

EHaskins writes:

The easiest thing to do would be to buy a external enclosure, and use that to power/access the drives.

The downside to this is speed. If you can connect through firewire you should be alright, however, if you have to connect through USB you loose some noticeable speed communicating with the external drive. Also, many of these external cases are not built to run 24/7 so be careful that the one you get has a small fan or some other form of cooling. If you just need to access the drive occasional this is a great way to go (will cut down on drive wear if it isn't hot all the time), but if you want continual access, I'd look into internal options.


What power supply do you have?, because I've never seen any power supply come without at least one of the older 4 pin molex connectors.

If you don't have that you can pretty easily rig something up with your existing connectors if you're feeling a little brave.

Pinouts Here

There's really no need to get another power supply for this

  • But if you have old pc's/psu's around it's easier and quicker to hook one of them up. I keep an old AT PSU on my shelf for this very reason, you can also short pin 4 (check this first!) to ground on an ATX for the same result :)
    – HaydnWVN
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 11:28

I took the second connection from my DVD drive and hooked up an 80gig drive at work, If you can fit everything try it out. I removed my 3.5" and the end of the HD fits perfectly in the whole it left behind, heh.


i'm somewhat surprised no one has suggested an ide to sata connector. the usb to pata way is rather tricky due to the huge difference in speeds. of course this method may mean that you sacrifice the use of your dvd drive while the copying takes place. this is a real hassle too because it involves opening the case and unplugiing stuff.

  • i have tried this and it was is still a hairy on the seat of your pants experience because most vendors of this product don't give any instructions
    – jake
    Commented Sep 25, 2008 at 11:16

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