What Is a Serial ATA(SATA) Cable and Drive

what is sata hard driveSATA stand for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment(ATA), is an IDE standard which get released first in 2001 for connecting devices like hard drives, motherboards and optical drives.This term basically refers to the different types of cables and connections following this standard.

Parallel ATA is replaced by SATA(Serial ATA) as a standard for connecting storage devices in computer.Storage devices by SATA can transmit data to and from all over the computer and much more faster than it’s similar PATA devices.

Remember that PATA is sometimes referred as an IDE.If you face SATA being used as an opposite of IDE that means connections or SATA and PATA cables are being discussed.

See our Best External Hard Drive Buyer guide.

SATA vs PATA

As compared to PATA, Serial ATA costs cheaper cable benefit and the ability to hot swap storage devices.Hot swaps refers to replacing the devices without turning off the entire system. In case of PATA first you need to turn off the computer to replace the hard drive.If SATA supports hot swapping then the devices that will use it must be capable to support the hot swap like Operating System.

As compared to fat PATA ribbon cables the SATA cables are much smaller and easier to manage as they don’t require much space and it’s easy to tied them up easily if need be.Also the thinner design of SATA cables allows better airflow inside the computer case.

As already told above the SATA transfer speeds are way much faster than PATA. PATA devices offer fastest transfer speed of 133MB/s and the speeds supported by SATA is 187.5 MB to 1,969 MB/s.And the PATA cables length can be maximum 18-inches(1.5 feet).

SATA cables can be of 1 meter or 3.3 feet in length. But SATA only allows to attach one device with it while PATA data cable allows to attach two devices.Few of the OS don’t support SATA devices, like older version of windows 95 and 98.But we have left those version far away behind so its not a big deal today with latest windows operating systems.

Another downside of SATA hard drives is that before computer begin writing and reading the data they require special device driver for working.

More About SATA Cables and Connectors

SATA is a 7 pin and long cables with thin and flat ends at both sides.One end labeled as SATA plugs into port of motherboard, and other into the back of storage device like SATA hard drive.You can also use External Hard Drives with SATA connections, and the hard drive itself has to have SATA connection also. That’s called eSATA. It work in a way like external hard drive attaches to the eSATA connection at computer back next to the other things like network cable, monitor and USB ports. Insdie the computer motherboard contains the same internal SATA connection like harddrive were fixed inside the case.Like internal SATA drives eSATA drives are also hot swappable.

Note: You may see many computers come with no pre-installed eSATA connections on the back of case. Whereas, The backet is avaiable cheaply to buy.But a downside is that SATA external hard drives only trasnfer data not the power.Which means that unlike those external USB drives, eSATA drives may need a power adapter, like that plugins into a wall.

SATA converter Cables

There are several adapters available to purchase if you want to convert older cable to SATA or SATA into any other connection type.

Let’s say you have a USB connection and want to use your SATA drive through that, like to wipe a hard drive, browse the data or backup the files, you can choose SATA to USB adapter.Also you can get a SATA/PATA/IDE Drive to USB adapter Converter from Amazon.

If your power supply doesn’t provide 15-pin cable connection then you can also get Molex Converters to power up internal SATA hard drive.These capable adapters are much inexpensive, like Micro SATA cables.

External Hard Drive Tasks that can be helpful for you are

How to change external hard drive letter
How to partition a Hard Drive
How to Wipe a Hard Drive
How to Clone a Hard Drive
How to format a hard drive

Adam Barton. A Tech geek and hardware engineer.Started 17oxen to provide unbiased reviews in the form of Top 10 Lists.

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