Post by Nil
Any idea how to tell without disassembling the enclosure? People at
garage sales get testy when you start taking their stuff apart ;-)
Google the make/model number and check out the specs.
There's no reason for a vendor to disclose the internal workings in a
customer specification. Most don't. And it's hard to do at a garage
But then you won't be toting a desktop PC or laptop to the garage sale,
either, since you apparently won't be toting a smartphone on which to
use a web browser. Just what were you going to use to test the USB
drive to see if there was SATA behind the USB port? If you're going to
tote a laptop around, why wouldn't you also be toting a smartphone or
just use the laptop for an Internet connection. Garage sales rarely
provide wi-fi connections so a smartphone with its cellular data service
would give you the Internet to lookup the product's brand and model.
Although the reseller may not reveal the internals of their product,
quite often you can find online where users have opened the cases to see
what is inside. Even some review sites open the cases to report what
they found inside. For example:
(WD My Passport Ultra USB portable drive)
All we know is you got a WD *drive*. You never said what brand and
model of portable drive (inside a case) that you got that had a direct
USB port on the drive's PCB. The above video shows you don't what that
brand and model. The USB-to-SATA adapter is built into the drive's PCB.
If the enclosure is only 1/8" larger, especially for length, than the
2.5" drive then there is no room for a USB-to-SATA adapter board that
plugs into the drive. Some more online searching for the WD10JMVW model
the Youtube author found in his portable drive was found at:
Notice the *drive* specs say "Disk Interface: USB 3.0". If the case is
a hard skin surrounding the drive (its dimensions are barely larger than
the drive) then there's no room for an adapter PCB inside the case. The
above Youtube video was for the WD Passport Ultra. Well, the WD
Passport Slim uses a case that is a hard skin around the drive, so it
also has the USB 3.0 host interface directly on the drive. See:
Yet it almost looks like a very skinny adapter was slid onto the drive's
SATA connectors. However, as I watched the following video, nope, looks
like the USB port and the USB IC chip are built into the drive's PCB.
The maker purposed their product according to where they want to market
it. You want to repurpose their product. Sometimes that fails and the
risk you take trying to go super cheap with the wrong product. Since
you're buying at a garage sale, you are getting something that is used
with unknown reliability, unknown defects, and unknown use and abuse.
If the USB drive works as a USB drive then you're money isn't wasted.
If it isn't usable as a SATA drive after breaking open the case is the
risk you take but if you carefully open the case (so it can be closed
again) then you still have a usable USB drive for which that product was
Why not instead focus on buying used 2.5" HDD/SDD SATA drives? If they
don't show up often enough at garage sales, there are computer fairs,
like at the state fair grounds or some hall or armory, and swap meets.
There's Craigslist, eBay (which you could search for low mailing cost or
just for local sales), and many e-tailers sell off returns or
The USB-to-SATA interface PCB inside the case means all you can see from
the outside is it is a USB device. The internals are hidden because
that's the point of the USB-to-SATA logic board to adapts one hardware
protocol to a different hardware protocol.