What Is a SATA Hard Disk?

By Deborah Lee Soltesz

SATA is an acronym for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. It is an interface standard for connecting computer systems to mass storage devices such as a hard drive.

History

Serial ATA was introduced in 2002 to replace the slower parallel ATA (PATA) interface standard.

Function

A SATA hard disk is a device in computers used for storing files such as software programs, documents and media.

Speed

First-generation SATA interfaces have a data-transfer rate of 1.5 gigabits per second. The second-generation interfaces, introduced in 2003, have a data-transfer rate of 3 gigabits per second. In 2008, the data-transfer speed doubled again to 6 gigabits per second with the introduction of the third-generation interface.

Features

SATA cables have fewer wires and therefore are narrower and less bulky than PATA cables. They take up less space, helping increase airflow inside the computer case. SATA hard disks can be attached to a running computer.

Identification

SATA uses seven-pin connectors. SATA hard disks and SATA computer connections typically are labeled clearly. The connectors are often notched, ensuring that connections are properly made.