You should be able to install any version of ESX on a SATA hard drive. As long as it they have support for the controller in the kernal you’ll be fine. I’ve got ESX standard installed on SATA currently.
However, the key here is install, even the newer esx 3.5 does not yet SUPPORT running VMFS on SATA disks. But you can install the Console OS on any disk type including IDE, providing the drivers are in the kernel. However, you can get it to be tricked to run VMFS of SATA, if you use a SATA controller that uses SCSI drivers. Check this link out for some info… and a good laugh.