SATA vs PATA | Which One is Best For Your Hard Drive.

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Both SATA and PATA are bus interfaces that are used to connect secondary storage devices like HDD, SDD, optical driver, etc. to computers. PATA, or the Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment, was eventually replaced by Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, or SATA.

So naturally, SATA is more advanced, offering more cutting-edge features. If you want to learn more about these two, continue reading below.



PATA is the older technology of the two and has been used in all computers for many of the years. PATA is the short form of ‘Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment’ which is actually an interface for connecting the processor and the drives. It should be clear, by interface I mean the way in which your computer and the hard drive is connected. This PATA is also known as ATA or IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics). On each drive, PATA or IDE has its own controllers. So the drive can connect directly to the motherboard. They were the most common interfaces found in the hard drives of most of the IBM computers in early days.

Advantages of PATA

As I said PATA was used in most of the hard drives at early times. But frankly speaking, it’s considered as a kind of legacy connection at present time.  Though PATA connections have all the usual facilities which are needed but still less effective than SATA. PATA connections are very cheaper than SATA connections.

Disadvantages of PATA

In the days when SATA connection was not there, PATA did a good job but was also a bit complaining. The PATA connections are slow. They need more power and are less effective. It means when you want to compare PATA with SATA, you will find mostly disadvantages of PATA.

The advantages and disadvantages will be discussed more elaborately in later sections.

What is SATA?

After many days of PATA connection hard drives, there came a ruler to dethrone PATA connection hard drives and became the king where hard drive connections are concerned. SATA means ‘Serial Advanced Technology Attachment’. The main characteristic which differentiates SATA from PATA is that in SATA the information moves between the hard drive and motherboard as serial one, i. e. one bit after another.

The main motivation behind the creation of SATA was the increase in the drive speed. For, SATA connection hard drives are very fast.

Advantages of SATA

SATA has all type of things and advantages that were limited in PATA. SATA connection is faster, consumes less power and is more effective. Again there is a very vital advantage. SATA connections are hot-swappable which means that without turning the computer’s power off, the hard drive can be connected and disconnected also.

Disadvantages of SATA

The SATA connections are created to keep in mind of the perfect figure. So you will find few disadvantages of SATA connections. They might be sometimes expensive though.

The advantages and disadvantages will be described elaborately in later sections.

Difference Between SATA and PATA

Like I said earlier, Serial ATA or SATA and Parallel ATA or PATA are two interfaces that are basically used for connecting to storage devices like hard drives and optical drives. And as it occurs, SATA is the successor to PATA, more likely, PATA is now mostly outdated.

Number of Pins40-pins7-pins
Power ConsumptionMoreLess
Cable/Port sizeBiggerSmaller
Hot SwappingNot PossiblePossible
External HDD SupportNot SupportedSupported

Data Transfer Rate

The data transfer rate of SATA connections is very fast compared to that of PATA connections. In fact, the main reason of SATA being used over PATA is because of the increased data transfer speeds of SATA connection hard drives. PATA has the capacity of data transfer speeds of 33/66/100/133 MB/second, whereas SATA is capable of 150/300/600 MBs/second. The differences in speed are due to the various versions and flavors of PATA and SATA.

You will find it interesting when you notice that even the slowest speed of SATA is still faster than the fastest speed of PATA. The improved speed of SATA makes the programs loading faster at a satisfactory range, and also the pictures and large documents. For those who are enthusiast gamers, faster data transfer speeds mean smoother game-play which is making better gaming experiences.

Power Consumption

The SATA drives usually need very little power than PATA drives. The SATA drive usually uses only 250 mV of power, which is even 25 percent of one volt. If you look at the PATA drives, you will see that they require a 5V power connection. The lower power consumption of SATA connection drives helps to keep the inner part of the computer case cooler and also reduces the power supply drain at a considerable range.

Cable Management and length

The maximum length of a PATA cable is 18-20 inches, whereas the SATA cables are up to 40 inches. So again it is an advantage of SATA over PATA which is the management of cables and length of the cables connecting the hard drives and motherboard. When you have extra length in cables, more flexibility of the positions of the drive can be attained.

Moreover, the SATA cable has two 0.25-inch-wide cables which are far narrower than PATA cables. So the SATA cables take up less space in the computer case than the PATA cables. It saves space in there.


SATA cables are smaller than PATA cables in size. So if you use SATA connection, being short in size the cables allow increased airflow inside of the computer case as well as a decrease of heat buildup. This ultimately increases the longevity of computer life.

More Drives Support

Usually, there are four to six SATA connections in a normal motherboard which allow multiple SATA hard drives to hook up.

On the other hand, there are only two PATA connections in a motherboard, allowing a total of four PATA hard drives to be connected.

Drivers Management

Sometimes, SATA drivers need a special device driver to recognize the drive and use it on the computer. PATA drivers have an advantage over SATA on this, as they don’t need any kind of special device driver.

Drive per Cable

The SATA cable allows only one hard drive at a time to be connected.

Again, the PATA cable allows for two drives at a time to be connected. This is an advantage of the PATA connection.


PATA connection is cheaper than the SATA connection.

If you closely examine all of the factors described above, you will see that the SATA drivers are better than PATA drivers in almost all aspects. The newer computers are made with SATA connection drives, whereas the old ones are with PATA connection drives. If you have a SATA or PATA connection and you want to move to other, you can do it by using SATA to PATA adapters.

I would strongly recommend the SATA drivers over PATA drivers.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Is PATA better than SATA?

No, PATA is not better than SATA in any way. In fact, SATA is way faster than any advanced PATA can achieve.

Why SATA is more faster than PATA?

SATA is faster simply because it transfers data over a single wire channel rather than different wire channels as PATA does. 

Summing Up

I hope that the SATA vs PATA war has come to an end in your mind and you know exactly which one is better for your hard drives. As SATA drives are faster, less power consuming, hot-swappable, flexible and because of their effectiveness, they are strongly positioned over PATA drives.

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