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 utilise 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 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 recognise the device being added without any need to restarting.
SATA cables are able to connect to a variety of devices and can utilise hot plugging technology only when decides and operating systems are compatible. Examples of SATA capable devices are.
Hard disk drives
Solid state memory drives