SATA is an abreviation of Serial ATA a drive controller connection found inside some computers. SATA replaces the older PATA (Parallel ATA connection) which replaced the original IDE type connector.
Serial ATA has distinct key advantages over its predecessor. Cables are very thin with small 7-pin connectors. They can be up to 3 feet (1 meter) in length, and are easily routed to stay out of the way allowing maximum airflow inside the case. SATA also has a far lower power requirement of just 250 mV compared to PATA's 5-volt requirement, and with chip core voltages declining, this speaks well of SATA's future. Serial ATA does away with Master/Slave configurations and drive jumpers. Setup is greatly simplified, and the technology even allows hot-swapping, meaning drives can be removed or added while the computer is running.
These fundamental improvements make SATA a candidate as an interface for upgrading notebook drives as well as desktop drives.
While SATA was originally designed for internal drives, External SATA lets you use shielded cable lengths up to 2 meters outside the PC to take advantage of the benefits the SATA interface brings to storage.
With SATA data transfer speeds are up to 6 times faster than USB 2.0 or 1394-Firewire.
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