I have not yet tested the SATA component. I do have HDD's on standby but are currently being used for other purposes. I will in a while try it out. But it seems not all compatible Linux systems support the SATA as it has to be supported in the Driver level.
I should tell you that it's unfortunate that the Linaro Lubuntu installation that I currently have takes time to boot due to a bug. The bug only activates when the Cubieboard is booted while the Ethernet is unplugged. It seems it has problems acquiring DHCP IP address and it halts the entire system in about a minute. Without the bug, it boots at about 10 to 15 seconds.
By default though, when mine arrived it has an Android OS which boots quite perfectly well (6sec) with or without Ethernet connectivity to any DHCP server. But I think Android is not very practical in many applications except maybe for multimedia purposes. With that said, I will note your suggestion and try my best to test the SATA with the variety of compatible Linux Releases.
I can't say much with Windows support because Microsoft has poor to no support on ARM especially the less popular (such as this one) processors. This is an AllWinner A20 chip with a dual core ARM7, a Chinese brand and not very popular. I do hope if anyone gets ahead of me to share information regarding setup and deployment of SATA or even with a possible compatibility with Microsoft's OS's.
I would also like to make an update that I have successfully compiled OpenCV, NodeJS and successfully controlled the low level GPIO pins of this devices. This device with its very low price point and a wide array of General Purpose Input/Output pins is very nice for sophisticated embedded projects. I have tested successfully OpenCV's Face Detection example, and NodeJS server capability in realtime web. This makes the device very powerful as it can do very high level and complex algorithms such as Facedetection but still be able to control the GPIO for other peripheral devices such as LCDs, DAC/ADCs, and Relay Switching. In other words it can do both High level Complex tasks and Low level GPIO tasks which makes it very agile and compact platform compared to modern day Arduinos. I'm really starting to have so much fun with this board!!! Hahahah!