SATA cables are primarily used for storage drives, but many novice users want to know whether they can use a SATA cable to power the graphics card.
All graphics cards doesnt require cables. Only those graphics cards required cables with a TDP higher than 75 watts.
There are two SATA cables, a SATA data cable, and a SATA power cable. The SATA data cable has seven pins, and the SATA power cable has 15 pins on it.
Graphics cards require a 6-pin or 6+2= 8-pin PCIe cable from the power supply; therefore, you cannot use a 7-pin SATA data cable or a 15-pin SATA power cable for your GPU.
But you can use SATA to PCIe adapters to power your GPU. Different types of SATA to PCIe adapters are available on the market, which we can use to give power to our GPU.
Using these SATA to PCIe adapters can sometimes be dangerous; that’s why you need to read this entire article.
How Can SATA Be Used For GPUs?
The different graphics card has a different type of pin requirements. For example, some GPUs need a 6-pin PCIe cable, some GPUs need an 8-pin PCIe cable, and some high-end GPUs need a 12-pin PCIe cable.
The SATA power cable comes with 15 pin connector; therefore, if you want to use SATA for GPUs, then you have to convert this SATA power cable into a PCIe connector with the help of an adapter.
Various SATA to PCIe adapters exist in the market, and you have to pick the adapters based on your requirements.
Some of those adapters include SATA to 6-pin PCIe, SATA to 8-pin PCIe, dual SATA to 6-pin PCIe, and dual SATA to 8-pin PCIe connector.
All these adapters supply different amounts of wattage. Therefore, you must pick the adapter based on your GPU connector and power requirement.
Using the wrong SATA to PCIe adapters can damage your PC components, especially the graphics card and the Power Supply.
Below, it is thoroughly explained when to use which adapters and when it is unsafe to use them. Another time I am informing you that all GPUs doesnt require cables.
Therefore always check whether your graphics card needs external power or not; read this article- which GPU doesnt need external power!
When is SATA Safe To Power GPU?
You can use the SATA to PCIe adapters if they can supply the necessary power for your graphics card. The different graphics card has different power requirement.
Let’s understand how GPUs take power from PSU-
|Motherboard’s PCIe Slot||6 Pin PCIe Cable||8 Pin PCIe Cable||12 Pin PCIe Cable|
This table demonstrates that the graphics card takes 75W power from the motherboard’s PCIe slot, and the 6-pin, 8-pins, and 12-pin PCIe cables can supply up to 75W, 150W, and 600W.
On the other hand, the SATA to PCIe 6-pin or 8-pin PCIe adapter can supply power up to 54 Watts, and dual SATA to 6pin or 8pin PCIe adapters can supply power up to (54W+54W)= 108W.
Now, we will discuss when to use the single SATA to PCIe adapter and when to use dual SATA to PCIe adapters by taking examples.
When to use a single SATA to PCIe 6 or 8-pin adapter-
Suppose we have the GTX 1650 GPU that consumes 85W power at maximum load, and this GPU requires one 6-pin PCIe connector from the PSU.
Now, we can use a single SATA to 6-pin PCIe adapter cable for this GPU because the GPU will take 75W power from the motherboard’s PCIe slot, and the adapter will deliver up to 54W power.
By combining 75W+54W= 129W, power will be delivered, where the requirement is only 85W.
When to use dual SATA to PCIe adapters-
Suppose we have an RTX 2060 GPU that consumes 160W power at maximum load, and this GPU requires one 8-pin connector from the PSU.
Here we can use a dual SATA to 8-pin PCIe adapter cable if our PSU doesn’t have the 8-pin connector. This is because the RTX 2060 GPU will take 75W power from the motherboard’s PCIe slot, and the dual SATA to 8-pin adapter will deliver power up to (54+54)= 108W.
Combining 108W+75W= 183W power will deliver to your GPU where the requirement is only 160W.
Never try to use a 6-pin PCIe cable in GPU’s 8-pin slot because it can damage your components, read this article on why you cannot use a 6-pin in an 8-pin GPU!
When is SATA Not Safe For GPU?
Using SATA to PCIe adapters for high-end graphics cards is not recommended because high-end GPUs have much higher power requirements that cannot be supplied via adapters.
Before using the SATA to PCIe adapters, check the power requirement of your graphics card. If your GPU requires below 225W power, then you can use SATA to PCIe adapters.
But, if your GPU requires higher than 225W power, do not use these adapters because they can damage your expensive GPU and the Power Supply.
Let’s understand this by taking the example of the RTX 2080 Super graphics card-
The RTX 2080 GPU requires 250W power from the PSU and one 6-pin cable and one 8-pin cable. Now, if your PSU doesnt have the 8-pin cable, and if you use adapters, the scenario would be like this.
The RTX 2080 GPU will carry 75W from the motherboard’s PCIe slot, the 6-pin cable will deliver 75W, and the SATA to 8-pin adapter will supply 54W.
By combining (75+75+54)= 204W, power will be delivered where this GPU requires 250W. If this kind of situation arrives, then your GPU will not run in most cases.
Anyhow, if the GPU runs, then you won’t get the expected performance from your GPU, and in worst-case scenarios, your components can burn.
Many users think of using a PCIe cable from another PSU, but before doing this kind of stuff, read this article, using PCIe cable from a different PSU!
The gist of the entire discussion is that you can use a SATA to PCIe (6-pin or 8-pin) adapter to provide power for your graphics card if your GPU consumes less power than 225W.
If your GPU requires higher than 225W power, then using the SATA to PCIe adapters is not recommended.
Always check the power requirement of your GPU and how much power the adapters can supply.
I hope this article clears all your doubts about using a SATA cable for a graphics card; if you have any other questions, ask me in the comment section.