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While the “SSD or HDD” question has already been solved, let us probe deeper and take a look at the storage interfaces. Here, we will be talking about the SATA type.
What is SATA?
The term SATA stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. It is also called Serial ATA.
It is a newer form of storage interface and is much faster than the traditional IDE or PATA type. Therefore, the SATA is what feeds data stored on your storage drives to the motherboard, so that the computer can read and interpret them accordingly.
Previously they supported only hard drives but recently, SATA for SSD storages has been launched.
How Does It Work?
Every computer has a collection of pathways called buses that it uses to send or receive signals.
So SATA, being a newer form of it works in the same way and is used to connect the motherboard to various large-capacity storage devices.
Data and information are sent through SATA cables in the form of bits, and a newer generation of SATA drives (SATA III currently) has more speed of data transfers. A usual SATA cable has about 4 wires.
There are two types of SATA connectors, one with 7 pins called the data connector which looks like a small “L”.
The other power connector has 15 pins. It also looks like a data connector, only taller.
The data connector transfers data to and from the storage devices as required, while the power cable provides the necessary electric power to the drives to function.
How Fast is SATA?
SATA drives found in most PCs are of the 3rd generation, which maxes out at 600 MB per second for the data transfers.
This is yet the fastest speed available ever on a SATA interface.
This SATA III interface provides almost double than what the older SATA II provided (300 MB/s), and even more than the 1st gen of SATA connectivity (150 MB/s).
Advantages of SATA
Serial-ATA is much better than IDE or Parallel-ATA connections that were used earlier. This is because of the following reasons:
1. More Speed
SATA bus interface provides better speed than the PATA form of storage (600MB/s and 133 MB/s maximum respectively).
2. Better Bandwidth
The more speed is allowed by a better bandwidth, and hence you can expect good speeds as this bandwidth is not shared in SATA.
3. Manageable Connections
The SATA interface requires thinner wires and is thus less complicated.
Also, the number of wires required is also less. This further allows more airflow inside the cabinet
The wires used in SATA are longer than those used in PATA, and hence there is general flexibility.
5. Smooth Functioning
SATA drives allow the user to remove drives from the PC without the need to shut it down. This is a very important advantage one gets.
In this sort of connectivity, there is a separate cable for each drive. When multiple drives are used, the connections are not shared and thus there are no problems regarding speed.
7. Supports Multiple Drives
There are multiple SATA connections on a motherboard, and hence you get to use many drives at the same time.
8. Lower Power Consumption
PATA drives used to draw a lot of power but the SATA interface is energy efficient. This is why they can be widely used in portable computers like laptops.
Disadvantages of SATA
While there is a new standard of data transfers like NvMe and SAS, some bad sides of SATA storage have also arisen. They are mentioned below:
9. Lower Speed Than NvMe SSD
The SATA is slower than the other forms of storage interfaces. For instance, the data speed on a NvMe SSD is about 16 GB/s while it is restricted to 600 MB/s on a SATA SSD.
10. Lower Bandwidth
SATA has overall lower bandwidth, and even the early standards of PCIe have more bandwidth than it.
11. SAS supports more devices
Every SATA drive needs an individual port on the motherboard. Although you can increase the number of drives attached, the number of ports on the motherboard remains the same. SAS, on the other hand, supports a greater count of devices with expansion cards.
12. Multiple Cables
Each SATA drive requires its cable and hence, you need more cables for connecting more drives. It might be a problem for workstations and those who need to use multiple storage devices on their computer.
13. Inability to Connect with Older Devices
The PATA and IDE connections could be used in most older devices, while only newer computers have SATA support. This is a not very serious issue but it is still a con that SATA has to bear.
You now know the basics of a SATA interface. But there are some other storage interfaces as well, which can provide more speed and has better utility.