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SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) is a relatively new generation of interface standard over the past years, designed to replace Parallel ATA technology. Unlike IDE/ATA hard drives that use parallel signaling (transferring multiple data bits simultaneously) SATA is based on serial signaling technology (transferring data one bit at a time). SATA transfers data much faster and more efficiently than Parallel ATA, typically handling data transfers of 1.5 Gb/sec up to 3Gb/sec.

SATA interface advantages over ATA:

- point-to-point serial design
- multiple ports to be bunched into a single controller
- speed data transfer of 300 Mb/sec to each drive
- flexible, thinner and manageable cables
- better connector design
- hot-swap capability
- less cross-talk due to cable design
- CRC error checking

SATA or SATA I hard drives are currently cheaper and prevalent, but their specifications lack features that may be required in some server and network storage configurations. SATA II improved the use of SATA devices in server and network storage applications, developing additional features for the entry-level and mid-range server and network storage segment and increasing speed transfer up to 3 Gb/sec for both server and desktop.

Initially SATA was designed as an internal interface technology.Creative developers quickly realized that the inventive interface could reliably be expanded outside the PC, bringing the same performance and features to external storage needs.

With data transfer rates of up to 3 Gb/sec and improved reliability, Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives, with specifically defined cables, connectors, and signal requirements support external transfers exceeding 200 Mb/sec, which is ideal for the most-demanding, most-critical professional video streams, DVD authoring, audio projects, 2D/3D animation, modeling, music/image libraries, and conventional storage.

Key characteristics of eSATA(external SATA):

- Up to 6 times faster than existing external storage solutions
- Strong and easy to use external connection
- High performance, cost effective expansion storage
- Up to 2 meter shielded cables and connectors

Serial ATA is more flexible and reliable than parallel ATA. If you start building your own PC from the ground up, the simple way to go is with Serial ATA. Even the least expensive motherboards include SATA support, and if you choose a SATA drive you will be amazed how easy it is to set up your system and move your drive to another PC, if and when the time comes.

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