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If you are looking for a way to expand storage capabilities of your computer, getting a PCIe SATA expansion card is a good way to do that. Most present-day motherboards come with 4 to 6 SATA connectors, while only server-grade and enthusiast-class motherboards feature more than 8 SATA ports. For most users, however, this is more than enough, since SATA drives are becoming obsolete due to increasing popularity of M.2 NVMe drives. But what if you have multiple mechanical drives, an optical drive, and couple of SATA SSDs? In this case, you’ll need to get yourself a PCIe SATA expansion card.
Read also: The Best Internal Hard Drives (HDD) in 2021
A SATA PCIe expansion card, also known as “SATA Host Bus Adapter (HBA)” is an electronic device which connects to your computer via PCI Express interface, and acts as the host system to other SATA storage devices. The SATA PCIe card enables you to add additional number of SATA connectors to your computer for a very affordable price. This card also adds an extra SATA controller to your system, which doesn’t interact with the onboard controller, and can also offer RAID capabilities, depending on the model.
The SATA PCIe expansion cards are particularly useful if you have more than six SATA devices installed in your computer. With the SATA PCIe expansion card, you can expand the storage space of your computer, or even create a redundant array of independent disks (RAID), which allows you to combine multiple hard drives into a one virtual drive, or clone data from one drive to another on the go. In this roundup, we’ll show you the best SATA PCIe expansion cards you can get right now.
Best Overall: JESOT SATA3 4-Port Expansion Card
Interface: PCI-E x1 | Connectors: 4 x SATA 6 Gb/s
This 4-port SATA3 expansion card made by JESOT company is one of the most reliable and affordable SATA expansion cards out there. The card features four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and it requires one PCIe x1 slot for installation. Great thing about this expansion card is that it features an advanced SATA controller based on the Marvell 88SE9215 chip, and it also comes with a pre-installed passive heatsink for faster heat dissipation. This SATA expansion card also ships with a low-profile bracket, which is perfect if you plan to install it in a small form factor case, and its packaging also includes four SATA cables. The card is also fully compatible with all Windows, Linux, MacOS, and NAS operating systems.
Runner-up: MZHOU 8-Port SATA PCIe Card
Interface: PCI-E x1 | Power Connectors: 8 x SATA 6Gb/s
Although MZHOU is not a very well-known Chinese manufacturer of computer accessories, this company does produce high-quality AIB cards, such as this 8-port SATA3 expansion card. Compared to the JESOT’s 4-port PCIe SATA card, this one costs more, but it comes with a total of 8 SATA3 ports, and it features both Marvell 88SE9215, and JMicron JMB5xx chips to improve stability, and handle data transfers. This card also features a passive heatsink, and is compatible with PCIe x1, x4, x8, and x16 slots. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support RAID, but it does support AHCI mode, as well as hot swapping. It is also worth mentioning that this card ships with 8 SATA cables, which is a nice addition.
Best Budget: DIEWU 2-Port SATA PCIe Card
Interface: PCI-E x1 | Connectors: 2 x SATA 6 Gb/s
If you are looking for the cheapest SATA3 expansion card possible, then you may like this 2-port SATA PCIe card made by Chinese company DIEWU. This sub-$15 SATA expansion card features support for IDE and AHCI modes, as well as support for hot plugging and hot swapping. It is also fully compatible with all Windows, Linux, and MacOS systems. However, its low price does come with some compromises. First of all, this card features only two SATA3 ports, and it doesn’t support RAID. Also, its transfer speeds are about 30% slower compared to the SATA3 specification, as this card features an entry-level controller. Overall, it’s a solid buy, but don’t expect too much from this card.
Best M.2 B+M Key Card: IO Crest M.2 22×42 to SATA3 Adapter
Interface: M.2 B+M Key | Connectors: 5 x SATA 6 Gb/s
If you have a spare M.2 slot on your motherboard, and don’t know what to do with it, then considering expanding your storage capabilities with this M.2 to SATA3 adapter made by IO CREST. This M.2 SATA expansion card features five SATA 6Gb/s ports, and is compatible with all hard drives and solid state drives that support SATA3 interface. Compared to other PCIe SATA expansion cards, this one lets you achieve combined transfer speed of up to 1700 MB/s. The card also features JMicron JM585 controller which offers native support for Windows, Linux and FreeNAS system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer RAID features, but if you are looking for a high-quality SATA expansion card for your workstation PC, then look no further.
Best PCI SATA Card: GODSHARK 4-Port PCI SATA Expansion Card
Interface: PCI | Connectors: 4 x SATA 1.5 Gb/s
In case you still have an old PC that features ancient PCI connectors, and not the new PCI Express connectors, you can convert it to a home NAS server, or Chia cryptocurrency mining rig with this SATA expansion card made by GODSHARK. With this internal expansion card, you will get four additional SATA connectors, as well as an optional RAID utility which will allow you to create RAID 0 or RAID 1 setup on two or more SATA ports. Since this card uses old PCI bus, the data transfer speed over the SATA interface is limited to 1.5 Gb/s, which is a bit too slow for modern-day standards. Nevertheless, if you are in need of additional SATA ports on your old computer, this expansion card will do the trick.
Best Mini PCIe SATA Card: LEIHONG Mini PCIe 2-Port SATA Expansion Card
Interface: mPCIe | Connectors: 2 x SATA 6 Gb/s
Mini PCI Express connectors are primarily used in laptops and handheld devices, but some desktop microATX and ITX motherboards also feature them. In case you need to expand your storage space on these types of devices, you can do that by installing a Mini PCIe SATA expansion card. One such card is this one made by Chinese manufacturer LEIHONG which, despite its small size and cheap price, does its job pretty well. The card features two SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and is fully compatible with Windows, Linux, and Synology NAS systems. It can also boast with the fact that it features an ASM1061 SATA controller, and is bundled with a mounting bracket and four screws.
A SATA PCIe expansion card represents a convenient way to expand the storage capabilities of your personal computer. Most of these cards come in various different forms, and with different number of SATA ports, so be sure to choose one that will best suit your needs. We hope our buying guide helped you in search of the information you were looking for. If you have a question, and need advice about buying, feel free to post a comment below. We will try to help you.