SATA Connectors - The Classic Storage Connector Solution
SATA which is the abbreviation of Serial Advanced Technology Attachment is an IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) standard for storage devices like optic cables, HDDs, and SSDs connected to motherboards in computers. It is an advanced version of Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment or PATA. The SATA connectors and cables are capable of transmitting data much, much faster than PATA. With data transfer speeds from 1.5Gb/s to 12Gb/s, these also support major storage innovations like Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR), DEVSLP, and other advanced power management systems.
SATA in Modern Applications
Today, there are many other advanced serial storage technologies like SAS and NVMe. However, SATA is still an optimum choice in many applications, especially in the automotive industry like smart cars with sensors linking operational and informational data to a cloud system. SSD or HDD technologies that are used in making a vehicle essentially "SMART" are driven mainly by SATA 3G and 6G connectors. These are also chosen in large, as they are cost-effective when compared to other similar technologies.
Standard SATA Connectors
Amphenol has always been a leader in providing cutting edge interconnect solutions compliant with all major specifications across industries. Similarly, we have a wide array of high-performance SATA connectors. These connectors are designed to support up to 12Gb/s, enabling the implementation of high speed, high capacity hard disk drive (HDD). The major benefit of these connectors is, they offer a cost-effective solution, without compromising the quality.
The connectors are SATA compliant and meet a wide range of vertical and right-angle configurations for usage across server and storage equipment, HDDs and HDD carriers. It extends differential signaling from 1.5Gb/s to 12Gb/s and offers a contact range from 7 to 22 positions, supporting various application requirements. They come with staggered contact lengths and hence provide sequential contact mating making it an ideal option for hot-plugging applications and these are available with various plating options.
Amphenol's SATA connectors are offered with vertical receptacle heights that are scalable from 8.15 to 34mm, which provides the option to use these connector heights as an alternative to using flex cable. The connectors also feature stamped clips that act as connector retainers for robust PCB attachment ensuring additional mechanical strength after soldering. It also has molded guideposts that help the mating halves to self-align by providing angled lead-ins and thus avoiding connector misalignment. These are ideal for several applications including Industrial embedded computers, Audio/video storage devices, and most of the data storage devices like external storage systems, interposer cards, and processors and storage blades.
Other than internal storage devices, external hard drives can also be connected to a motherboard using SATA connectors, provided the hard drive has a SATA connection too. They are specially called as external SATA or eSATA. They are typically designed for external storage applications that require a single-lane Serial ATA cable connection up to approximately two meters in length. Amphenol's eSATA connectors comply with the Serial ATA Specification issued by the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO).
eSATA connectors support both Gen 1 data rate of 1.5Gb/s and Gen 2 3Gb/s data rates. We offer the standard individual eSATA connector in addition to the 2-in-1 combination connector design. The combination connectors are capable of accepting either an eSATA or a USB cable header. It offers stacked configurations that provide a USB port in addition to a 2-in-1 eSATA/USB port. These connectors are highly durable with 2500 mating cycles.
eSATA vs. USB/FireWire
USB and FireWire are among the most popular interfaces that establish a high-speed serial connection between a computer motherboard and external peripherals. While USB is common and used for most of the hardware components like keyboards, scanners, and printers, FireWire is almost exclusively used as an external storage interface. These were used largely due to its hot-swappability, which the earlier generation storage connectors lacked. Though there are various external interfaces for these storage devices, the actual drivers ultimately use the SATA interface. Hence the hardware components are connected with an external enclosure like the USB, which uses a bridge to convert the signals to SATA as required by the driver. This could tamper the signals at some point and affect the overall performance of the driver.
This is why eSATA connectors are often chosen as a faster alternative to USB2.0 and FireWire, as they are almost five times faster than the latter. Other than computers, laptops, and USB consumer devices, these are also used in set-top boxes and external portable storage devices.
Micro SATA Connectors
As the name suggests, these are small or "micro" connectors, especially used for compact devices. Micro SATA connectors from Amphenol enable smaller 1.8inch SATA drive form factors for hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs). Micro SATA connectors have both signal and power contacts and they consist of 16 contacts on 1.27mm pitch. The signal segment of the internal micro SATA connector uses the same contact configuration as a standard SATA connector and supports Gen 2 data rates of 3Gb/s.
It also supports the power requirements with additional 2 pins to that of signal connectors (7+2), making a total of 16 contacts. These connectors can fit 5mm or 8mm 1.8 inch drives and are available with friction locks for cable applications. These connectors are highly durable with 500 mating cycles. These come with staggered contact lengths, which help in supporting blind-mating and hot pluggability. The connector retainers provide additional mechanical strength even after soldering.
Check out on Amphenol's wide range of server and storage connector solutions to know more.