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SATA stands for Serial ATA and it is faster than the old ATA (Parallell interface). You can read more aboute SATA at www.serialata.org .
Comment: Note that (Parallell)ATA and IDE has a lot in common, actual, its almost the same thing. ATA was the orriginal name and it was developed for IBM AT machines and ATA stands for "AT attachment" but it was soon addapted by others and incorporated into the "Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE)" standard, but both terms are used as far as i know.
There are no "low speed" limit for the bus clk so Yes, it could be done if u need huge ammount of storage in a mcu project and have some months to spende digging for the datasheet explaining the protocoll and hw. This is not yet common available since the standard is pretty new and the developers wanna get paid by the user of SATA for their research.
Best tip is to use a bridge IC converting PATA to SATA. Then you can benefit of having the option to select which disk inteface to use AND! there is lot of resources arround the web for intefacing PATA to low cost MCU
Glad to hear that.
Using the PATA (Parallel ATA) needs to a lot of pins of the MCU, but the Serial ATA wouldn't need that and this is the inspiration . I hope we wouldn't need more than 512 bytes buffer to use for this protocol.
Currently I use MMCs in my projects , but having an ability to access a mass storage like HDDs would also seems intersting , eg where in MCU you can't do much about compressing and have to capture a lot of data.
Yes, SATA is very high speed, but it is not limited to BE highspeed. If you can live with the lower clkspeed there should be no reason for SATA devices not to be working with lower clk speed. If you can find the complete protocol description, please inform me