Saturday, December 31, 2011

How to tell if your External USB drive is SATA or Native USB?

How to tell if your External USB drive is SATA or Native USB?

The give away is the length!!
Because of the lack of SATA to USB adaptor, native USB drive are almost certainly Shorter!!!

Here's a length comparison:

Seagate Freeagent Goflex is a SATA drive, about 5" or 13cm long .

WD Elements SE 1TB USB3.0 is Native USB is less than 4.5" or 11cm long

WD Elements 320G Drive is 5" long or 13cm long is a SATA drive

Here's a picture of Native USB only drive showing their relative length.

Here's a picture of the internals explaining the differences in length.

SATA drives has the adaptor

USB drives no adaptor hence shorter.

You are also able to tell by the external box as it shows actual size hard drive and is also a give away.


  1. Thanks! You just saved me from making a terrible mistake by buying the Western Digital Elements 500GB USB 3.0 model WDBPCK5000ABK-NESN.

    The length dimension is exactly as you pointed out:
    Dimensions 4.43" x 3.1" x 0.75"

    Too short to have a SATA-to-USB adapter.

  2. what about

    i wont mind it being usb only to compliment by notebook..
    but still what tranfer rates will i get from WD Elements SE ??
    is it worth buying?

  3. thanks. I was wondering if I should open the case or not, in my case I am lucky that I bought the one that is longer, so I did open it, replaced my toshiba defective drive with the WD. its an older drive so I was fairly certain but I didn't want to open and ruin the case if it was not correct.

  4. I just read your article and found it very informative for those who want to know if they are using a SATA or Native USB drive. Well, there are many other things to consider about an external hard drive before buying the best one. First of all, you need to ensure if it is providing the enough storage for backing up your data or not. Well, if you are looking to buy the best one then it is recommended to take a look at this list of external hard drives. You will find the best one for your needs on this link.



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