From Elvanör's Technical Wiki
PATA, SATA and ATA
- Parallel ATA (PATA) is just the new name given to plain old ATA when Serial ATA arrived. Under Linux it seems PATA drivers can be used with the new libata library, so you should be able to use PATA.
- SCSI disk support is needed in the Linux kernel in order to make SATA disks work correctly.
- With SATA drives the AHCI driver can be better than other (native) drivers since it implements NCQs. So use AHCI whenever you can. Check on the Web if your chipset supports AHCI.
- To activate AHCI, you must use an option in the BIOS. If you don't have access to the BIOS (remote server) you cannot setup this option and thus cannot use AHCI (except if it's enabled by default of course).