World renouned author Scott Mueller, who has wrote such books as "Upgrading and Repairing PCs" and "Upgrading and Repairing Laptops" states on pages 634 and 635 of Upgrading and Repairing PCs 15th Edition
, and I quote:
"The transfer rate is probably more important to overall system performance than any other statistic, but it is also one of the most misunderstood specifications. The problem stems from the fact that several transfer rates can be specified for a given drive; however, the most important of these is usually overlooked.
The confusion results from the fact that drive manufacturers can report up to seven different transfer rates for a given drive. Perhaps the lease important (but one that people seem to focus on the most) is the raw interface transfer rate, which for most modern ATA drives is either 100MBps or 133MBps, or 150MBps for Serial ATA drives. Unfortunately, few people seem to realize that the drives actually read and write data much more slowly than that. The more important transfer rate specifications are the media transfer rates, which express how fast a drive can actually read or write data. Media transfer rates can be expressed as a raw maximum, a raw minimum, a formatted maximum, formatted minimum, or averages of either. Few report the averages, but they can be easily calculated.
Let's look at a specific drive as an example. The Hitachi (formerly IBM) Deskstar 120GXP is considered a fast ATA drive. It spins at 7,200rpm and supports the ATA/100 interface transfer rate (Ultra DMA Mode 5, which is 1000MBps from the drive controller to the motherboard host adapter). As with all drives I know of, the actual (media) transfer rate is much less.
Media Zone | Sectors/Track | Rotational Speed | Transfer Rate |
Outer Zone | 928 | 7,200rpm | 57.02MBps |
Inner Zone | 448 | " " | 27.53MBps |
Average | 688 | " " | 62.27MBps |
As you can see, the true
transfer rate for this drive is between 57.02MBps and 27.53MBps, or an average of about 42.27MBps--Less than half of the ATA/100 interface transfer rate. Of course if this were your own drive you wouldn't be disappointed because 42.27MBps is excellent performance. In fact, this is one of the fastest ATA drives on the market. Many other ATA drives would have equal or slower performance."
As you can see, having a SATA drive really doesn't add to performance boost. I would still get one simply because the transition from PATA to SATA is gradual but eminent. SATA has a nice, small, thin cable that provides better airflow. This is really the only difference they may have on your system