FAQ & Section Info
Serial ATA technology (commonly referred to as SATA, S-ATA, or SerialATA) is the new interface for high volume storage drives and hard disks. The SATA acronym stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. SATA technology has been designed to replace the older parallel ATA standards (from which it evolved) found on IDE hard drives and devices. Transfer rates for the old ATA standard were commonly set to 33Mbps, 66Mbps, 100Mbps, and 133Mbps (ATA 33/66/100/133). SATA transfer rates continue on from there with rates of 150Mbps for SATA I, 300Mbps for SATA II, and 600Mbps for SATA-600. Physically Smaller But More Efficient…
The most obvious physical difference between Parallel ATA and SATA cabling is the size of the connector. The SATA cable utilizes a serial transfer structure - featuring four or more wires (7 wires for hard disks) used to create the communications link between the nodes/devices. When compared to the 40-wire parallel IDE ribbons of old, one can see that this reduction in the physical number of wires tends to smaller and thinner cables for SATA. This size difference helps a great deal with air circulation as bulky ribbon cables have been replaced by thinner and more compact interface links. SATA cables will also help in shrinking the size of a typical chassis/case as a connection can be made in a much smaller space.
SATA technology will also extend the maximum data communication path length. Parallel ATA cables are traditionally 15"-24" long, but SATA standards specify lengths in excess of 40" or more (with room to grow).