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What Is SATA or Serial ATA?

When you open up your computer you will see several flat parallel cables composed of several wires. These connect the hard drive, CD-ROM and other important components to the controllers.

Before, these cables followed the PATA (or parallel advanced technology attachment). While it fulfilled its basic purpose, users encountered some problems. One of them was overheating. Cables that were about 18 inches (around 46 centimeters) were too short, leading to cases that were clogged up and had very constricted airflow. Some further improvements included the rounded cable. The next generation PATA drives such as the Ultra ATA/133 also delivered a possible parallel transfer rate of 133 MB/ps. However, this was still not enough to keep up with the phenomenal development in CPU speed, RAM and system buses. Without a major breakthrough, PATA would become the “bottleneck” that would prevent computer drives from working efficiently.

Due to this, the computer industry came out with SATA or Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. It was considered to be the next generation drive interface. SATA cables were thinner and held with smaller 7-pin connectors. They were also longer, reaching about 3 feet or one meter. This allowed more flexible routing, allowing air to flow better and preventing overheating. SATA also was more energy efficient, requiring just 250 mV—far lower than the original 5 volts. Another advantage of SATA is that it did not have a Master/Slave configuration and drive jumpers. It was much easier to set up, and allowed users to take out or add a drive while the computer was on. Most importantly, SATA has a higher transfer limit.

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