The AMD SATA controller is a series of chips that make up the Serial ATA (SATA) or Parallel ATA (PATA) controllers on your motherboard. These chips are also found on some video cards as well. Most modern motherboards now come with a SATA3 controller onboard which can operate up to 6 Gbps speed.


In the past, the SATA controller was available as IDE (ATA) counterparts called the "primary" and "secondary" IDE channels. The primary controller handled boot-time activities such as BIOS, boot sector loading, and so on. The secondary didn't have direct access to the hard drive during this process but otherwise functioned similarly.


Primary controllers had their interface connected directly to the first connector on an IDE ribbon cable, which normally would be reserved for a master drive in a PATA setup. This limited it to four drives since each device had two connectors - the primary controller's connector along with another one that was supposed to connect to another slave device placed after it. If you wanted any more than four devices then you needed additional ATA cables for daisy-chaining.


ATI chipsets used the same SATA controllers as southbridges, just called differently. Some were even combined into a single chip that included multiple IDE channels in addition to SATA ports. This includes the SB450 southbridge which was made by JMicron and had two PATA(primary/secondary) and six SATAII ports onboard along with an additional PCI interface for external cards without much hassle. The later versions of ATI southbridges removed PATA support in favor of eSATA or completely new storage interfaces like SATA Express etc...


What Does the AMD SATA Controller Do?


The AMD SATA controller is responsible for interfacing between your CPU and attached storage devices such as CD drive, DVD drive, etc. Normally, a CPU's onboard memory controller connects to a northbridge which is attached directly to the MCH (Memory Controller Hub) on AMD motherboards. This in turn would communicate with an I/O controller hub which is often referred to as a southbridge on Intel motherboards.


CPU-MEMORY-IOHUB-SOUTHBRIDGE -NORTHBRIDGE


The Southbridge handled all the input and output tasks of a machine including USB ports, audio chips, etc. A modern southbridge has one or more Serial ATA connectors for connecting Hard Disk Drives and optical drives among other things while some even have support for USB 3.0 and SATA Express interface too nowadays. When it comes to hard drive connectivity, these controllers vary from one another. Older south bridges such as SB600 had only two SATA ports while newer ones contain four to six.


AMD SATA controller is a part of the northbridge and not the southbridge like Intel equivalents, making it much faster than its Intel counterparts which often includes an independent PCH (platform controller hub) chip for many tasks including Ethernet and other connectivity functions, USB 3.0 integration, etc...The AMD northbridge contains their pre-existing crossbar memory interface that separates their memory and input/output tasks into different subsystems.


Conclusion


The AMD SATA controller will handle all the hard drive I/O in a faster and efficient manner while also freeing up CPU cycles in the process which can be used for other applications. The northbridge's "on-chip" memory controller allows much faster transfer speeds when compared to Intel counterparts since it does not have to rely on an external chip to manage memory-related tasks. This is why both AMD chipsets and CPUs are much cheaper when compared with their Intel equivalents when processing power, bandwidth, etc. are taken into consideration.