Why am I completely dumb on SATA vs PATA vs IDE?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by California, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Would someone please explain to dumbie me what the difference between SATA PATA and IDE is? And why should I care? And why is everyone suddenly talking about the MacBooks being SATA? Aren't the old powerbooks SATA, too?
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The only PPCs with SATA were the G5s (SATA is/was a feature of the chipset), everything else needed to dump SATA drives on the FW/USB or PCI bus.

    The G4s never got it because Apple didn't update the chipsets, ATA-100 was as up-to-date as they got in their last revisions.
  3. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005

    Serial ATA = SATA

    Parallel ATA = PATA = IDE

    It is simply a different interface for the harddrive to transfer data from the disc to the system. Serial ATA is alot faster at trasmitting data then Parallel ATA, however is not noticeable because current drives are not able to read the data fast enough. Serial ATA is also the "newer" interface that the computer industry is adopting with open arms as it begins to phase out PATA.

    Another reason why you might care is because SATA's cable because you no longer toy with setting which drive is Slave, Master, Cable Select, Jumpers, etc etc.

    The wire to connect is much more compact I guess you could say as well that it allows you have better airflow in cases (that is if you ever bother building your own PC). Unlike PATA which is like a big ribbon that is annoying as hell to wire

    Finally another reason you may care is that (if you use PC) is some motherboard manufacterers are begining to have SATA ports on the back ports. This is a new port so that SATA drives with an enclosure can still reach the maximum speeds (i guess)....

    MacBook do indeed use SATA drives. PowerBooks and iBooks use PATA.
  4. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2005
    I'm only really here at night.
    THe biggest differences are:

    A) Theoretical max transfer speeds: SATA is way faster than others
    B) Cables are thin, narrow, flat and much smaller, and both ends use the same connector
    C) No master/slave config necessary, it's all the same to SATA
    D) Power connector is also smaller & more efficient, although current aftermarket ones just go from molex to sata with an included adapter. Systems with built-in SATA have the right connectors from the PSU already

    Also, the newest version, SATA II or eSATA, is out now and doubles the theoretical max throughput.....

    Since SATA is the new thing now, probably in about 6 months or so, it will be really hard to find a pre-built system without SATA, so if you are building a pc from scratch, you should get a mobo with it onboard and HD'Ds to match. If you look hard, you can even find a few high-end optical drives with SATA connections too :D

    The good thing is, if you have an older system with a free pci slot, you can add an SATA controller card & drives & get most of the speed boost from it NOW......and still keep your old PATA/IDE drives too !
  5. Garn macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2006
    I have four PATA/IDE cables in my computer and the inside of my case is a mess let me tell you that.
  6. California thread starter macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I guess I'm really asking about laptop drives. The only desktops I have ever been near are one G5 iMac and numerous G3 iMacs and was never brave enough to open them up.

    What I was asking was there physical interface differences -- with the pins and stuff that stick out? Do the PATAs look different than the SATAs? And does it matter to a Powerbook or iBook what kind of drive it is, as long as it's a laptop drive?
  7. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005
    Yes, "pins" are different and so are the power cables for laptop and desktop harddrives
  8. Howard Brazee macrumors 6502

    Howard Brazee

    Oct 24, 2006
    Lafayette CO
    I was looking at the Apple store and noticed that serial IDE drives of the same size were much more expensive than SATA drive. I'm not sure though what computers are serial IDE ready, maybe Mac servers. (Of course, since I'm waiting until January for my Mac Pro - I don't even know what I will have)

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