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Difference Between SATA and PATA

SATA stands for Serial ATA, and PATA stands for Parallel ATA. They both refer to two different methods of encoding and transporting data electronically. The data transfer speed of SATA is higher than that of PATA. Unlike PATA devices, all SATA devices have the 'Hot Swap" feature. They also differ in the physical layout of both connectors and other hardware.

Definition of SATA

SATA stands for serial ATA. It is a computer bus interface that connects the bus adapters to the storage device such as hard disk drives. It has advantages over PATA, such as smaller, and less expensive cables, faster data transfer rates, hot swapping, etc. The SATA devices and host adapters communicate through the high-speed serial cable over the conductors. Because it utilises Primary ATA and the ATAPI command group like legacy ATA devices, it is backwards compatible.

SATA brought a major change in computer hardware where it replaced Parallel ATA in customer desktop and laptop computers and in newer embedded applications. The primary STA connector contains seven pins, two twister pairs, and three ground wires. With clock frequencies ranging from 1.5 to 6.0, differential transmission is used.

The more recent SATA version additionally offers isochronous transmission capabilities for audio and video devices. An improved technique, known as AHCI, is incorporated in SATA to enable hot plug and (NCQ) Native Command Queuing (Advances Host Controller Interface).

Advantages of SATA over PATA

The following are the advantages of SATA over PATA:

Increased Data Transfer Rate

The faster data transfer speeds offered by SATA are the main reason it is preferred to PATA. PATA can transfer data at speeds of 66, 100, and 133 MB/s while SATA can do so at 150/300/600 MBs/second. The numerous PATA and SATA flavours, with the fastest speeds being the most recent versions of each now offered, are what cause the speed disparities. We will observe that even its at lowest speed, SATA is still faster than PATA, Programs can load more quickly thanks to SATA's increased speed, and larger documents can open more quickly too. Faster data transfer rates can result in improved gaming experiences for fans of video games (i.e., smoother game-play).

Support For More Drives

Multiple SATA hard drives can be connected together thanks to the four to six SATA connections on a motherboard. On a typical computer motherboard, only two PATA connections can accommodate up to four PATA hard drives.

Increased Airflow

Because SATA cables are thinner than PATA cables, there is more ventilation inside the computer casing and less heat build-up. A computer's overall life can be extended with better airflow.

Easy Cable Management and Cable Length

The length of the cable connecting the hard drive to the motherboard of the computer is another benefit of SATA over PATA. The PATA cable can be as long as 18-inches, but a SATA cable can be as long as 3.3 feet (1 metres). This additional length gives us more options for where to attach a hard disc within a computer casing.

Disadvantages of SATA over PATA

The following are the disadvantages of SATA of over PATA:

One Drive Per Cable

Another drawback of SATA is that only one SATA hard drive may be connected at a time using the cable. A PATA cable, however, enables the connection of two PATA hard drives per cable.

Drivers and Support

Only a few minor drawbacks of SATA over PATA exist; one drawback is that SATA hard drives occasionally need a unique device driver for the computer to detect and use the drive. The specific driver does not have to be loaded because a SATA hard drive can function as a PATA hard drive. However, in order to acquire these mimic capabilities, certain SATA functionality is lost.

SATA drives are not supported by the older operating systems like Windows 95 and 98, developed many years before SATA was first offered.

Definition of PATA

PATA (Parallel ATA) is the latter version of ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) and the former version of SATA. As was already, the interface standard for connecting storage devices is these AT attachments (hard disks, floppy drives and optical disks). X3/INCITS committee maintains the standard and uses AT attachment (ATA) and AT Attachment Packet Interface (ATAP) standards.

The PATA standard is the result of a gradual evolution that began with the original AT attachment interface used in earlier PC AT devices.

The original ATA is now known as PATA with the development of the SATA. In PATA, the cable's maximum length is 18 inches (457.2 mm). Only the internal computer storage interface can use PATA cables because of their limited length.

The PATA utilises a 16-bit wide data bus in addition to additional support and control signals. It operates at a low frequency and is connected to the ribbon cable by 40-pin connectors. Every cable contains two or three connectors, one of which is connected to the interface adapter, and the other two are plugged into drives.

Difference Between SATA and PATA

Difference Between SATA and PATA
Parameters SATA PATA
Full-Form SATA stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. PATA stands for Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment.
Type of Connector The SATA connector has a 7-pin type. PATA is essentially a connector of 40-pin type.
External Hard Drives It enables the usage of an external hard drive on a computer system. An external hard drive cannot be used in this situation.
Cable Size It is made up of considerably smaller cables. It includes a cable that is substantially larger in size.
Cost Efficiency Because it is less expensive, it is more economical. Because it costs more, it is cost-effective.
Hot-Swapping The hot-swapping feature is available with SATA. There is no hot-swapping feature in PATA.
Power Consumption SATA consumes less power. PATA consumes more power.
Speed The overall speed of data transfer has greatly increased. The overall speed of transferring data is much lower.
Advanced in Technology SATA is a more recent and sophisticated type of technology. PATA is an older technology.

Key Differences Between SATA and PATA

  • PATA is old technology, while SATA is a newer technology.
  • PATA allows for external interfacing, whereas SATA does not.
  • In SATA, hot swapping is supported, allowing the system to quickly identify newly inserted and uninstalled hardware when it is already operational. In PATA, however, it is not possible.
  • The various SATA variants offer up to 600 MB/s of data rate.
  • SATA transfers data faster than PATA, which is slow.
  • SATA enables can be as long as 6 inches. PATA cables, on the other hand, are only 18 inches long.
  • The length of the cable is another distinction between SATA and PATA. A SATA cable can extend up to 1 metre, compared to a PATA cable's maximum length of 18 inches, which allows for more flexible hard drive movement. With the SATA cable, the cable may be moved around with greater space inside the loops, making it simpler to untangle.


Among SATA and PATA, Serial-ATA has a number of advantages over Parallel-ATA, including quick data transfer and a cable and connector that is smaller than the enormous 40-pin connector.

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