PATA Vs SATA – Have A Brief Knowledge On PATA And SATA

Today, almost every people uses computer but, still when it comes to some small word, we get blank. It happens with with everyone of us specially normal computer user. Here we have tried to make you clear about the term SATA and PATA which is usually related to hard drive.

Hard drives is controlled by CPU. CPU sends a request to the hard drive for information and receives those request also. It also include the information to be written for storage. And these communication is done through an interface which are of two types known by the acronyms SATA and PATA. Although, these names sounds somewhat similar but, they are quite different and incompatible with each other. Actually, they represent two different generation of technology and two different format for transmitting information.

In both names ATA part stands for “Advanced Technology Attachment”, also called AT Attachment which is name for drive protocol used for hard drive communication and control. AT is just a designation used by IBM for their early range of personal computer. ATA/ATAPI is the single most famous interface for disk drives.

Numerous USB flash drives, flash memory cards, CDROM drives and PCMCIA devices are also based on the ATA/ATAPI standard(developed and maintained by a governing body named INCITS – InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards).

Means both SATA and PATA are ATA protocol, but their connectivity and communications methodologies are different. Before the invention of SATA, PATA was known either as ATA, or more commonly, as IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics).

PATA is the older or you can say outdated technology and has been in use for many years in millions of computers. But, now with the enhancement in technology and features, it has outlisted from the manufacturer’s choice and in place of that SATA has been kept. It’s a new standard interface that along with smaller cables and less power consumption also facilitates you faster speed.



PATA stands for Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment that was developed in the 1980s and was in constant use before the invention of SATA interface. As the name suggest, it’s a parallel interface for connecting between a motherboard and the computer’s drives. This means that a number of separate wires carry data at the same time. This can be thought of as reading words that show up on a monitor, one word at a time.

The maximum speed for PATA is 133 MB/s (megabits per second) of data transfer. Initially when it was invented, seems very fast but now with the development of SATA, it is rarely used and believe to be rather slow. To put PATA into perspective, there should be atleast 16 GB of hard disk space for Windows 7, means to transfer all of Windows 7 across a PATA interface would take a minimum of 16.4 seconds(approx). It’s a two-inch-wide ribbon cable with a four-pin Molex connector for power that are normally “daisy-chained,” offering two hard drives or two optical drives to be connected to the same cable. The length of this ribbon cable can be of maximum 18 inches. It consume more power of approx five-volt direct current connection (+5VDC). Also, it produces more heat.



SATA that is Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. Invention of SATA breaks old believes that parallel communication is faster. SATA considerably faster than PATA, runs at a rate of 600 MB/s that means to transferred Windows & over SATA interface will take only 3.6 seconds. This increase in drive speed was the main motivation for creating the SATA interface in 2000. All parts of PC had been speeding up in order to increase performance rate, but reading rate for hard drive had not, that was one of the main issue at that time. But the development of SATA has resolved this problem.

The SATA cable usually consists of two 0.25-inch-wide cables. The one with the wider connector is the power connector, and other with the narrower connector is the data connector. And the best part of SATA is that, it can be up to one meter long that consumes very less space in the computer case. Further, it uses only 250 millivolts of power that helps computer case to be coller reducing drain on the power supply. Additionally, SATA interface is hot-swappable means hard drive can be connected and disconnected without turning the computer’s power off. For the occurrence of hot swapping, motherboard BIOS must allow AHCI mode to be enabled. Also, Windows needs to have the Windows system registry set for the hot swapping of SATA drives. To know more about this process you can take reference from Windows website.

Advantages of SATA over PATA


  • Increased data transfer rate – The primarily reason for SATA is being used over PATA is its transfer speed as PATA poses a transfer speed of 66/100/133 MBs/second, whereas SATA has 150/300/600 Mbs/second.
  • Easy cable management and cable length – Second advantage of SATA is the length of its cable connecting to the hard drive to the motherboard. On one side where, the maximum length of PATA cable is 18-inches, same on the other side, SATA cable can be up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) in length that facilitates you flexibility for mounting it easily and comfortably in computer case.
  • Increased airflow – SATA cables are quite smaller in size as compared to PATA cable, that allows for increased airflow inside the computer case and reducing heat build-up that improve the overall life of a computer.
  • Support for more drives – There are typically four to six SATA connections on a computer motherboard, that offering multiple SATA hard drives to be hooked up. But in case of PATA connections on a computer motherboard the number is two that supports a total of four PATA hard drives.

Disadvantages of SATA over PATA

  • Driver and support : Although SATA is much more efficient amd faster than PATA, still it has some disadvantages. One among them is that, it needs a special device driver for the computer to recognize and use the drive. Although, SATA hard drive can act as a PATA hard drive, thus eliminating the need for the specific driver to be loaded. However, some SATA functionally will be lost to gain this mimic functionality. All older operating system such as Windows 95 and 98 that were released long before invention of SATA, do not support SATA


Currently, SATA is being widely used. Still, at some places, PATA is also in use. Newly came computers are all made poses SATA drive. It facilitates faster drive interface along with consuming consumes less power. The SATA interface also provides a hot-swappable capability, which PATA does not have.

Regardless of specifications and other considerations, you must use the drive type that is compatible with the computer’s motherboard. As some motherboards provide both PATA and SATA interfaces, but mostly provides only one or the other. In order to determine which is compatible with a your motherboard is to open up the computer and have a look at the hard drive cables. You can know from there as PATA cables are two-inch-wide ribbon cables, while SATA cables are 0.25-inch-wide cables. As a final check, determine whether the motherboard has both SATA and PATA connections. On systems with both types, the connections would both be located on the same part of the motherboard.

Source – Computerhope  &  Ebay

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