SATA Much Easier to Install
PATA cables are large ribbons. Not only are they unwieldy, but they hamper air flow inside the PC case. This can raise the general temperature, making fans work harder and your computer louder. Worse, a cable in a particularly bad spot can block air to a certain area, causing the computer to shut down or those components to incur heat damage.
PATA signals degrade quickly, so PATA cables can’t be as long as SATA cables. This makes them harder to tuck out of the way to resolve the aforementioned air flow problems. Particularly when connecting two storage devices to one controller.
In addition to the difficulty of actually making the cable reach both drives and the shared bandwidth issue mentioned above, getting two or even one drive to work could require jumping through hoops. There is a computer and a storage end of a PATA cable, and each end has to go where it is supposed to. Then there is another storage connector two-thirds of the way along the cable. Getting your computer to detect both required correctly setting jumpers on the devices to Master (end of the cable) and Slave (along the cable), though now you can usually settle for using the jumpers to set the Cable Select Option on all devices, and the BIOS will figure it out. The space taken up by these cables and connectors meant that an optical drive, floppy drive, and two hard disks were the most you could jam into a normal home computer.
Installing a SATA hard drive (details here) is much easier, usually just a matter of inserting the drive and making the physical connections. Then use the BIOS to find the drive. The only time you will have to mess with jumpers is if both your hard drive and motherboard come from around 2003, when the move was being made from SATA/150 to SATA/300. If that is so, then there is a jumper you need to set on your hard drive so that it knows whether to run at 150 or 300 MB/s.
Also, while the drives may appear and function, they may not be running at full tilt. Getting the most out of SATA drives requires installing extra drivers for the SATA controller during or before Windows XP installation. Vista has the SATA drivers built in, which enables the features described below.