ma6116a-moai-intergrate-circuit-icUSB SATA adapters are very low cost. The low cost Taiwanese MOAI MA6116 (2010) uses USB 2.0 and connects to SATA. The MA6116A does all of the functions and only needs a quartz crystal and some basic components. It even has pins for an activity LED. Over in Shenzhen, China this MA6116A sells for 元2.80.

  • Integrated MCU compatible 8-bit micro-controller
  • Support IIC Bus EEPROM
  • SATA PM-Aware Function
  • Support Pass through S.M.A.R.T Command
  • Support HDD power saving (Stand-by) mode, setting by MP Tool
  • Support over 2TB HDD
  • Support Watch Dog Function

The MA6116A is very small so it can squeeze into very small logic boards. The 2cm wide strip board has ample room.

The MA6116A does run a bit warm as it made at 3µm instead of on a smaller fab. The performance is excellent with larger capacity 7200rps disks.

More recently logic devices are being moulded into cables to work with bare disks. This will make it easier to work with bare disks.


For many years we have used the StarTech SATADOC252 front panel dock/slot for hard disks. This has more power for desktop disks but it can also accept notebook disks as well. The dock connected from SATA III ports is able to handle even SSD drives easily.

StarTech USB 3.0 to 2.5″ SATA III Hard Drive Adapter Cable w/ UASP


USB 3.0 has more power which has been a real nuisance for USB notebook disk vendors. USB 3.0 almost doubles the current to provide enough power for hard disks. More recently USB 3.1 has increased the speed and power to support longer cables. See the USB 3,.0 SATA cable review,


Today there are several manufacturers of notebook hard disks. They are mass produced and are very low cost to purchase. Capacities have grown and 2TB disks are now widely available which can hold backups galore.

Its important to have an alternate copy of backups in case the unthinkable happens.  Hard disks stacked in a drawer are safe from ransomware too. Affected machines may need all internal disks wiped when penetrated. Its not a bad idea to have 3 or 4 alternate backups.\

The freeware 7-zip is able to store with our without compression as desired. Its available for 32-bit and 64-bit versions for Windows and Linux.