What Is the Difference Between a SATA Hard Drive and a DataBurst Cache?

Every hard drive, regardless of manufacturer, has a cache.
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All hard drives have small buffers of high-speed memory, called "caches," that enable the drives to run faster and more efficiently. Dell's SATA hard drives are no exception, but the company refers to the cache on its hard drives as a "DataBurst Cache." Dell's SATA hard drives are still conventional drives that use a SATA connection interface, and the DataBurst Cache is the same cache you find in hard drives from other manufacturers.

1 SATA Hard Drive

A SATA hard drive uses the Serial Advanced Technology Attachment interface to connect to your computer's motherboard. SATA replaced the older standard for hard drive interface technology called Integrated Drive Electronics, Advanced Technology Attachment or Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment. The SATA interface is capable of much faster data transfer rates than the older IDE interface.

2 Magnetic Storage vs. Cache Memory

Magnetic hard drives encode data on a spinning magnetic disk. The drive has a spindle that writes and reads data based on the presence or absence of magnetic charges to individual sectors of the disk. Your computer's cache memory, similar to RAM sticks, stores data electronically and has no moving parts. This makes it much faster at reading and writing data than magnetic hard drives. However, caches are very small -- typically only megabytes in size -- and lose stored data when power is not available.

3 Hard Drive Cache

A magnetic hard drive has a small memory cache in addition to its primary magnetic storage. This cache acts as a buffer of high-speed memory. As you request data from the hard drive, after it retrieves the data from the magnetic platter, the drive can also write it to the cache. This way, if you request the same data again, the hard drive can fetch it from the cache's high-speed memory, producing a faster computing experience than if the drive had to obtain the same data again from magnetic storage.

4 DataBurst Cache

DataBurst Cache is the term Dell uses to describe its hard drives' memory caches. These buffers are not unique to Dell devices and work essentially the same as caches on other brands of hard drives. "DataBurst" is a marketing term Dell uses to identify and promote its hard drive products.

Micah McDunnigan has been writing on politics and technology since 2007. He has written technology pieces and political op-eds for a variety of student organizations and blogs. McDunnigan earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Davis.