The Serial ATA [SATA] bus is the serial version of the IDE [ATA] spec.
7 pin Serial ATA motheboard internal connector at the motheboard
Serial ATA is the next -generation internal storage interconnect, designed to replace parallel ATA technology. The largest change in ATA happened with the introduction of Serial ATA. This interface uses 7-pin cables for the data connection, and transmits the data serially rather than in parallel. In addition, Serial ATA should give users the ability to hot swap hard drives. This adds a capability that more expensive systems such as SCSI and Fibre Channel have had for a long time, though the future will tell how widely users exploit that aspect of the technology. Serial ATA also reduces the signalling voltage from the 5 volts used in P-ATA down to 0.5 volts, which reduces power consumption and electrical interference. Due to serial transfer and lower power the maximum allowable length of SATA cables exceeds that of ATA ribbon cables.