What Is SATA?
SATA stands for Serial ATA, which is a type of data transfer interface that connects internal disk drives to your computer's motherboard. This allows you to add more storage to your computer and even replace the internal hard drive with a larger SATA HDD, SDD (Solid State Disk), or SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive) as needed.
SATA is very easy to set up and compatible with almost all data transfer interfaces – USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 – making it possible to connect just about any storage device you can think of to your computer easily and quickly depending on what interface you're using and how far back your motherboard goes in compatibility mode.
What Are SATA Hard Drives?
Inside every PC is something called the BIOS (basic input/output system). This firmware tells your hardware how to function with each other so that chipsets, processors, video cards, and other components can talk to each other efficiently. When your computer boots up, it sends a signal to the BIOS which then checks for attached hardware – but since it only looks for data at the very front of any storage device (the master boot record or MBR), and hard drives are 'first in line', they're most likely what's going to be found first.
It's not until after this process that an operating system is loaded onto your main storage device – usually a SATA HDD -- so that everything else you need to load on your PC such as programs and files can be accessed from there. One easy way of making sure your primary storage device is detected by your BIOS during startup would be to attach it as your primary boot device, which is usually done through the CMOS or BIOS settings.
Can You Have More than One SATA Hard Drive?
Yes, depending on how many SATA connections you have available on your motherboard. The easiest way to know this would be to look at your computer's user manual or check out our article for identifying how many SATA ports are available on your PC. If you have more available SATA connections than what comes standard with one internal hard disk drive, then you could install multiple storage devices without a problem by simply connecting them all to your motherboard using cables and power cords before turning it on.
The only downside to having multiple SATA hard drives is that each one will require a separate data cable that must be plugged in and powered up before you can access it. If the storage has its separate power supply, then this isn't an issue – but since most storage devices do not come with their independent power cord, you may want to buy a SATA-to-Molex Power Cable Adapter if you want to use one of those as your main boot device just for convenience sake.
How To Tell the Difference Between SATA & PATA Hard Drives
If you're looking at two hard drives that both have a data cable and power cable plugged into each other, then there's no way of telling which is which unless you look at the labels on them or open them up. Most SATA HDDs will not start spinning and powering up the light on the front of the drive until they're attached to a motherboard that turns on.
One easy way of telling if it's a SATA or PATA hard drive is by looking at how many separate data cables are plugged into one another. A standard data cable will have two separate connectors attached, while a SATA cable only has one – making it obvious which you have just from sight alone without having access to the manual of your particular hard disk drive.
Transferring Data Between Different SATA Hard Drives
If you have an older computer but want more storage space, then there's no need to go out and buy a new one just so you can use a new SATA HDD or SSD as your main PC storage device. All you have to do is buy a new SATA hard drive and have it installed in the computer's main storage device bay, then connect it to your motherboard using a separate SATA data cable so that both devices can communicate with one another.
Make sure the power cord is plugged into both devices before turning on your PC for the first time so that your new HDD (SATA) will register within the BIOS menu. After this is done, most operating systems will detect any attached storage devices automatically without needing any configuration changes done by yourself – but if not, there are ways of telling which device is which depending on what type of controller or chipset you're using in your motherboard or computer.
If you have a PATA HDD or SSD and want to transfer the data over to a new SATA drive instead, then there's no easy way of doing it unless you have two different storage devices with enough space for all your files. Fortunately, most newer operating systems support both types of drives so this shouldn't be much of an issue – but if not, then you will need to copy your files over to one device temporarily before moving them over to your new SATA hard disk so that everything is saved properly.
Why Use SATA Drives?
SATA drives come in a few different storage capacities that other devices don't have, including 4TB and even up to 8TB or more for those who need as much space as possible. SATA hard disk drives are also somewhat easier to install than PATA devices since the cables only go in one way – so you won't have to worry about accidentally connecting them backward, which can cause problems if different pins on the data cable go into different holes on both ends.
You'll also save money in your pocket by buying a SATA HDD or SSD instead of PATA ones – and it's safe to say that SATA-based PC storage devices will become more widely used over time, especially since many new computers won't even come with any other type of drive installed anymore.
SATA vs. PATA: Conclusion
Using SATA HDDs or SSDs are generally better than using any type of IDE/PATA storage device because they're newer, faster, use less power, and are more efficient to use overall since they don't have older 40-pin data cables that can only transfer up to 133MB per second maximum for both reading and writing. If you want the best solution available in terms of PC storage devices, then make sure to get one with a SATA connection instead – otherwise, you'll be missing out on what's currently the best you can get while still being backward compatible with older operating systems at the same time.