Short for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, SATA is a connector interface used for computer bus connections, connecting a host bus adapter, to a mass storage device. Prior to SATA cables, PATA (Parallel ATA) technology was used to connect devices, newer SATA cable technology not only allows for faster data transfer but, when supported, SATA cables are suitable for hot plugging. SATA cables also use smaller cables than their PATA predecessors as well as providing an external interface, unlike PATA.
There are two types of connection most commonly found on a SATA cable, 4-pin or 15-pin connectors are standard with varying cable lengths. SATA cables can also be power split to enable connection of one port to two devices. You can learn more in our complete guide to SATA cables.
What is Hot Plugging?
Simply put, hot plugging is the capability to add or remove devices to a computer system whilst the system is switched on and running. As well as being able to add and remove devices while a machine is active, hot plugging functionality means operating systems can automatically recognize the device being added without any need to restarting.
SATA cables are able to connect to a variety of devices and can use hot plugging technology only when decides and operating systems are compatible. Examples of SATA capable devices include:
- Hard disk drives
- Optical drives
- Solid state memory drives
What makes SATA cables special?
A SATA cable can impress you with data transfer speeds. When you take a look at a SATA power cable, you will figure out that it is made out of a minimum number of four different wires. These wires in a SATA data cable can create a point to point connection in between different devices.
The data transfer speeds of a SATA hard drive cable would usually start around 150MBps and will go all the way up to 300MBps. However, you will also be able to find newer generation SATA cables such as eSATA cables, which can offer a data transfer speed of around 6Gbps. You will be able to connect devices that are compatible with them with the help of an eSATA cable to SATA cable.
If the number of pins available in a SATA cable are high, it can offer a better data transfer speed. This is why a 15 pin SATA power cable can deliver a better transfer speed. You can also find SATA cables in different lengths. If you are looking for extra length, you may think about purchasing a 1m SATA cable.
How to buy a good SATA cable?
It is better if you have a clear idea on how to purchase the best computer SATA cable. First, you need to decide whether you are going to buy a male SATA cable or a female SATA cable. Then you will need to decide whether you need a SATA adapter cable or not. If needed, you should be purchasing a SATA cable converter.
Always make sure that you stick to the most reputed brands when you are purchasing SATA cables. The same straight connectors should be there in both ends of the cable. You can get SATA cables with different data transfer speeds, and it is important to be mindful about it as well.