5.4. The Serial ATA Hype!

IDE technology has been around for many, many years, and there has been a big need for a change in hard drive technology. That change came as a new hard drive interface called serial ATA (SATA). IDE is a parallel technology (PATA), and although SATA is a serial technology, it offers great speed and other benefits. SATA is also a lot faster than IDE — approximately 30 times faster, with current speeds of 150 Mbps and future speeds of 600 Mbps.

One of the first benefits of SATA is that it is a hot-swappable technology, meaning that you can add or remove drives from the system without shutting down the system. This is a huge benefit when you look for RAID solutions for servers that you don't want to spend a lot of money on — like a server for a small company. (For more on RAID, see the section "Securing Data with RAID", later in this chapter.)

Another benefit of SATA is in the cabling. Because SATA is a serial technology, the cables can be longer than your typical IDE ribbon cables. I don't known how many times with IDE I had to switch the CD-ROM and my second hard drive around just so the ribbon cable could reach. SATA cables can be 39 inches long, but the maximum distance for IDE is 18 inches.

The other benefit of the cabling with SATA is that it uses only 7 wires, as opposed to the 80 wires used in newer IDE drives. The benefit here is that it allows for better airflow in the system, which results in a cooler system. Figure 5-19 shows a SATA drive and ...

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