SATA is the acronym of “Serial Advanced Technology Attachment” alias “Serial ATA”. There is a misconception that SATA refers to a type of computer hard drive. It’s wrong!!! Actually SATA refers to the serial bus connecting the mass storage devices like hard drives and host control adapters say, motherboard. When the days moved the hard drive using SATA type busses were called SATA hard drive. The predecessor of SATA is PATA (Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment).

The SATA technology showed several advantages over PATA such as reduced cable size, high-speed data transfer and hot plugging. These SATA serial busses has only 7 conductors and indulged power supply to send the data but the PATA serial busses has nearly 40 conductors and a separate power supply to the hard drives. The SATA-IO group is completely responsible for the SATA technology upgradation and legal releases.

The power to hard drive comes in as a 15 pin connector via SATA which helps the user to avoid force fitting of SATA busses. You may ask that if SATA is all about cables and connectors means then why is not used in laptop hard drives. Again it’s a reroute, SATA is the technology used that transfers data bits. SATA is used in laptop hard drives too. The main variant is instead of a long lengthy cable the ends of hard drive and motherboard is connected directly.

The SATA serial bus ensures data transfer between three different OSI layers Physical layer, link layer and transport layer. In order to keep its standard up many upgraded versions are released increasing its data transfer rate. The so far released version and their transfer rates are given below :

  • SATA 1.0 – 150 Mbps
  • SATA 2.0 – 300 Mbps
  • SATA 3.0 – 600 Mbps

Apart from this SATA 3.1 and 3.2 was released but they didn’t focus on data transfer rates. Instead SATA 3.1 is upgraded to support the evolving hard drive technology Solid State Drives, which made a revolution in mobile storage technology and the SATA 3.2 moved one step forward and provided support to the micro SSD (Solid state disks) which is now called as the memory cards.

Apart from the versions there are some notable sub inventions also available. They are eSATA, eSATAp and mSATA. The eSATA is developed to target the external storage devices. The eSATAp is a combination of SATA and USB 2.0 to give support to the external CD/DVD burners and using SSD for external storage spaces. The mSATA is called mini SATA developed to support the PC’s that requires shrunken SSD’s for compatibility.

Though the wide used SATA has been evolved still there are some draw backs too. The most spoken problems are...

  • During the high-speed data transfer if the length of the bus is larger, there occurs a considerable interference in the data.
  • Though all forms of SATA supports hot swapping, eSATA needs support from operating system, host devices like hard drives and host controllers. If any of it fails to synchronize on hot swapping it results in a consistent damage to hardware or software.

The future of SATA technology is in the hands of fiber optics. The hurdles that stand in the middle are ductility; physical size and supporting medium. In using fiber optics these things are not supportable by the storage and other devices employing SATA.

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