In 2003 the SATA standard was finalized, and in many ways it is superior to its predecessor. It is faster and has more features, such as hot-swapping and native command queuing.
Recently the SATA standard was expanded to support external SATA (known as eSATA) hard drives. You might be wondering what the benefits of the eSATA vs. other external drive connection standards like USB or Firewire.
Here is a brief list of some of the benefits of eSATA are:
- Up to three times faster then USB or Firewire connections.
- Supports cable lengths up to 2 meters away from the connector
I should note that Windows XP doesn't have native support for SATA hard drives. If you're setting up a new computer with XP and a SATA hard drive, and that drive is your primary boot device. You are going to need to have a floppy with an XP version of the SATA drivers for your motherboard or hard drive controller.
If you don't have these drivers, visit your motherboard or drive controller manufacturer web site and download the latest drivers. Make sure that you download the version that can be used by the Windows setup process.
During the initial text-based part of the Windows XP setup process you will need to press the F6 key when instructed to install additional drivers for the SATA controller (watch the bottom line of the screen for this message). If you can't provide these drivers, the Windows XP install will stop, and give an error that it can not locate a hard drive.