Apple Wiki
Apple Wiki

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, also known as Serial ATA or SATA, is a computer bus technology primarily designed for transfer of data to and from a hard drive. SATA is the successor to Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA), which was given the retronym Parallel ATA (PATA) to distinguish it from Serial ATA.[1]


The Serial ATA 1.0 standard began as part of the ATA-7 specification.[2] Designed to be scalable, the original SATA/150 or SATA I spec can transfer up to 150 MBps (or 1.5 Gbit/s), SATA II can transfer up to 300 MBps (or 3.0 Gbit/s),[1] and SATA III has a maximum data rate of 600 MBps (or 6.0 Gbit/s). The various SATA generations are backwards compatible with one another, operating at the lower available speed.[3] However, some SATA III-only drives may be incompatible with SATA II or older controllers.[4]

Both SATA and PATA drives have built-in low level control electronics but the original term of "Integrated Drive Electronics" (IDE) is usually restricted to Parallel ATA drives.[1]


Apple began transitioning to the use of 1.5 Gbit/s SATA drives with the Power Mac G5, which was released on June 23, 2003.[5] In October 2010, the 2nd generation MacBook Air introduced the use of a custom mini SATA (mSATA) connector for its internal solid-state drive (SSD), with transfer rates of up to 6 Gbit/s.[6]

In mid-2012, Apple began adopting proprietary connectors for drives in its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines. In 2013, the 2nd-generation Mac Pro and MacBook Pro models utilized the same custom connector for their Mini PCIe-based drives. Starting in 2016, the SSDs for the MacBook Pro and other newer models were directly soldered to the logic board, requiring it to be swapped entirely to accommodate more storage.[7] The 3rd-generation Mac Pro is the last remaining model to officially permit internal storage upgrades by the user through the use of its PCIe slots.[8]


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FOLDOC logo This page uses GFDL licensed content from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing.