What is a SATA Hard Drive? User Guide For DIYers

Linda J | TTR Data Recovery
By Linda J

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Old computer set ups can be costly overtime, especially when you have had a number of hard drive recovery service done on it. If you are thinking about upgrading or building a new computer, you may eventually run into SATA. SATA drives can help alleviate some of the stress of computer maintenance. SATA Drives are reliable and proven technology. They are perfect for non-demanding use.

The SATA (Serial ATA) hard drive is the successor of the traditional PATA (Parallel ATA) Hard drive. It became the central mass storage device on PC.

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, also known as SATA is the new standard for connecting and transferring data components inside of your computer. 

SATA hard drive | What is a SATA Hard Drive? A User-Friendly Guide

It is a bus interface that connects host bus adapters to mass storage devices. SATA is a serial link – a single cable with at least four wires that form a point-to-point connection between devices. You can find SATA Hard Drives inside of your desktop computers, laptops, or servers. It is a type of rewritable mass storage device. SATA Hard Drives are characterized by good transmission speeds and outstanding storage capacities. They are also supported by virtually all operating systems and computer motherboards.

History of SATA Hard Disk It's Inception

SATA Hard Drive Check up

Prior to SATA’s introduction in 2003, PATA was known as ATA.  The name “AT” attachment was originated after the release of the IBM Personal Computer in 1984. SATA is the replacement to the Parallel ATA (PATA) standard that was designed in 1986.

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For several years, it was the most common and the least expensive interface for internal computer storage devices. PATA started to fade away when the SATA was introduced in 2003.

Advantages of SATA Hard Drive over PATA

SATA (Serial ATA) is the replacement to PATA (Parallel ATA), the two are interfaces that used to connect to mass storage devices such as hard drives and optical drives. These are advantages of SATA over PATA:

  • SATA is the current standard while PATA is already obsolete

It would be hard for you to find PATA drives in your local computer stores today. Most of them now are stocked with SATA drives.

  • In terms of speed, SATA is much faster than PATA.

The biggest factor that made SATA superior to PATA is the speed. The maximum speed of PATA is 133MB/s. The first and slowest version of SATA has the ability to achieve a transfer rate of 150MB/s.

  • SATA is equipped with NCQ while PATA is not.

The Native Command Queuing or NCQ is an extension of the Serial ATA protocol. It allows hard disk drives to internally enhance the order in which received read and write commands are executed. This feature reorganizes the order of requests.

  • SATA drives are hot pluggable while PATA drives are not.

Hot pluggable drive has the ability to remove or attach drives without having to shut your computer down. SATA drives are similar to USB drives, as they have the ability to be swapped while on the fly.

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  • SATA provides an external interface while PATA does not.

The hotplug feature also created SATA to use as an external interface like a USB. It is also known as eSATA. This feature offers much higher speeds than USB and is suited for external hard drives. It is also suitable with other portable mass storage devices.

  • SATA uses smaller cables than PATA.

SATA uses cables that are just over a centimeter wide while PATA uses a wide ribbon. PATA cables were a nightmare to manage and blocked airflow inside the case.

  • PATA uses a slave/master arrangement while SATA does not.

SATA ends the master/slave arrangement and each cable can attach to a single drive.

PATA to SATA Comparison

Revisions and Features

SATA Revision 1.0

The first version of the SATA interface was released in 2003. It’s devices topped out at a transfer rate of 1.5 gigabits per second. The SATA Revision 1.0 devices were commonly used in office desktops and personal computers, and were configured from PATA drives joined together in a master/slave configuration.

SATA Revision 2.0

In April 2004, Native Command Queuing (NCQ) was introduced. This feature allows the drive to perform write/read commands that are transferred randomly. This function helps to optimize the movement of the reading head. SATA Revision 2.0 devices have a transfer speed increased by double. It rises up to 3.2 gigabits per second or 400MB/s with the addition of port multipliers, port selectors, and improved queuing.

SATA Revision 3.0

The full SATA revision 3.0 standard was released on May 27, 2009. These interfaces support drive transfer rates up to 6 gigabits per second. SATA Revision 3 drives are back compatible with SATA Revision 1.0 and SATA Revision 2.0 devices, but with a lesser transfer speed.

SATA Revision 3.1

Released in July 2011, it is a transitional revision that added final design requirements for SATA Universal Storage Module for consumer-based portable storage applications. This revision introduced or changed the following features:

  • mSATA

It is a SATA for solid-state drives in mobile computing devices.  A PCI Express Mini Card-like connector that is electrically SATA.

  • Queued TRIM Command

This feature improves the solid-state drive performance.

  • Required Link Power Management

It decreases overall system power request of several SATA devices.

  • Hardware Control Features

It enables host identification of device capabilities.

  • Universal Storage Module (USM)

This is a new typical for cable less plug-in (slot) powered storage for any consumer electronics devices.

SATA Revision 3.2

Released in August 2013, this revision presented the SATA Express (SATAe). It supports the real-time use of SATA ports and PCI Express (PCIe) lanes. This made it possible for legacy SATA and PCI Express storage devices to exist together.

SATA Revision 3.3

Released in February 2016, this revision introduced the following features:

  • Shingled magnetic recording (SMR) support

This feature provides a 25 percent or more increase in hard disk drive capacity by means of overlapping tracks on the media.

  • Power Disable

This feature allows for remote power cycling of SATA drives. Also, a Rebuild Assist function that helps to speeds up the rebuilding process to relieve maintenance in the data center.

  • Transmitter Emphasis Specification

It raises the interoperability and reliability between host and devices in electrically difficult environments.

Data loss from SATA Hard Drive

There is no doubt that SATA hard drive is great for your computer, but incidents of data loss are inevitable. It may happen for different reasons such as unintentional data deletion, format, partition damage or loss, virus attack, and more.

Hard drive failure like pcb failures can hit your computer at any time. When you try to delete or format the files on SATA hard drives, you’re not actually removing it. You are just marking the part of it where lost files occupied blank for rewriting.

Data recovery from such hard drive requires reliable practices. If you are searching for a dependable services, you must look for a certified specialist.

The TTR Data Recovery Inc. is a trusted leader in the business. Engineers at TTR Data Recovery are using the highest standards in the field of data retrieval.

The Certifications that TTR Data Recovery have are the symbol of quality assurance that we guarantee. It includes ISO 9001:2008, IACRB, SOC Type II, GSA, and more.

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