What Is SATA? This is Every thing You Have to Know About It

If you've owned a desktop PC or laptop for the past decade and a half, you can guarantee that you have Hardware that is Serial ATA (SATA) compatible. Whether it was a hard drive (HDD), a solid state drive (SSD), or an optical drive, until recently almost all of them used SATA. What is SATA In short, this is how almost everything memory-related is connected to your motherboard.

This is not always the case as there are some newer standards available for high speed drives. In addition to PCIe and NVMe, SATA continues to play an important role, especially for larger hard drives and SSDs.

Are you confused already? Read on to learn more about SATA, and don't forget to check out our guide to SSDs as well as our guide to some of the best SSDs available today.

Data and performance

Although there are a variety of computer products called SATA devices, they are called SATA interface. In other words, your PC is connected using two SATA connectors, one on the drive and one on the motherboard.

Although SATA connectors are described as a single port or connector, SATA includes two connectors: the data connector and the power connector. The former is the short, L-shaped seven-pin connector, while the latter is the elongated 15-pin connector – the larger ā€œLā€ of the two.

Both connectors are usually reversed on the drives they allow connections, with the bases of their respective "L" shapes facing each other. Beyond their length, they can be distinguished by the cables that are connected to them. When the SATA data cable is usually made of solid plastic that extends into a flat, single ribbon cable, the SATA power connector continues from its head into several thin, rounded wires of different colors.

Both cables are required for SATA devices to work, and both perform different tasks. The data cable provides the high-speed connection to the rest of the computer and carries information back and forth as desired, while the power cable gives the drive the power it needs to operate.

SATA generations

A SATA data cable BlickPixel / Pixabay

While most PCs have used SATA devices in the past few years, there are a few different types worth mentioning. SATA was first introduced in 2000 and replaced the old PATA ribbon cables. It was revised in 2003 and 2004 and 2008, bringing SATA to version three, commonly referred to as SATA III or 3.0. These standards increased speed and added additional functionality to enable faster and more reliable storage drives, but did not change the physical appearance of the SATA connector. SATA III is the most commonly used SATA interface today, although four revisions have been made since its introduction, namely 3.1 to 3.4.

In Revision 3.1, SATA focused on improving the performance of SSDs so that host PCs could identify the capacity of their hardware devices and the connector that enabled USBs, the Universal Storage Module (USM). Improvements for Revision 3.2 included the removal of the USM, the integration of microSSD to reduce the size of the storage components, the addition of USB 3.0 ports, and the reduction in the power consumption of devices that are constantly running. Revision 3.3 gave users more choice and flexibility, with tiered startup options and an activity indicator, as well as improved data center maintenance and hard disk space. The 2018 update of SATA revision 3.4 added improvements such as monitoring the SATA device temperature, writing critical cache data, and improving compatibility with manufacturers, while minimizing the impact on the functionality of your PC.

Over the years there have been a few alternative SATA interfaces such as: B. mSATA for laptop drives, which was introduced in 2011. The latest generation of this technology was the M.2 standard. Currently, the fastest drives have moved beyond the mSATA interface and now use PCI Express ports for higher performance.

SATA Express was first introduced in 2013 with SATA 3.2 and enabled cross-compatibility with SATA III and PCI Express drives. Still, it wasn't a popular choice while eSATA offered SATA-like speeds for external drives. Most high-speed external drives today use USB 3.0 connections, usually with the Type C standard of the connector.

How important is SATA today?

Back in 2008SATA was the standard, but as we have completed the first two decades of the millennium, several computers are no longer dependent on SATA. Less complicated laptops may require built-in flash memory, and PCI Express (PCIe) improves the performance of more sophisticated computers.

However, that doesn't mean that SATA is out of date.

Serial ATA has gone further than the PC arena. The auto industry, consumer electronics, and other devices are now using SATA. This is an important standard connection for more important SSDs and hard drives venturing into the multi-terabyte range.

Still, NVMe and fresher M.2 drives are top picks for users who like performance above all else. You'll be spending more money on M.2 and NVMe drives, but the limitations of SATA cables limit the SATA ports. With a PCI Express slot, your drives can function and speed up data rates. If you're wondering how much faster, some users can get GB of data per second, which outperforms it hard SATA III limit of 1.5 Gbit / s, 3 Gbit / s and 6 Gbit / s.

Purchase of SATA cables

When you assemble a computer and buy a motherboard with SATA connectors, it usually comes with some SATA cables that you can use to connect your components during build. However, as mentioned above, PCIe storage can be much faster and less noticeable when building a new rig.

If you are replacing an older hard drive or upgrading another component of your computer to keep it running, there are times when you need to purchase a SATA cable or adapter for compatibility. If so, make sure you get the latest SATA III standard. They make adapters to interface with a variety of connections including USB-C and USB-A 3.0. However, this can affect the quality of the connection.

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