I am having an Acer Aspire 5610Z series laptop with 80 Gigs of HDD. I want to upgrade it to some 500 Gigs.
Is there any way I can detect whether my laptop supports SATA or not. The current hard drive is Hitachi ATA (as per the System Info).
ATA and SATA systems have entirely different connections and controllers. So you can NOT attach a SATA drive to a connector for an ATA drive. Unless your laptop has a separate connector and controller for addition of a SATA unit, the answer is No, you cannot upgrade to SATA.
You MAY be able to upgrade to a larger ATA drive. Check what your laptop's manual says, or the manufacturer's website, about the maximum size of drive it can accept. One key question if your machine was made around or before 2000, is whether its hardware (controller and BIOS) support "48-bit LBA". That is necessary for using any HDD over 137 GB. That feature also must be supported in your OS, so you need to have windows at least as Win XP with SP1, or any Windows later than that. (That is, if you're using Windows at all.)