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Integrated drive electronics

Integrated drive electronics

(also IDE, ATA, PATA, parallel ATA)

Integrated drive electronics definition

Integrated drive electronics (IDE) refers to a popular standard interface for connecting storage devices. Also known as Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA), it helps connect optical drives, hard drives, and some other storage devices to the computer. Now, IDE, or ATA, has been largely replaced by Serial ATA (SATA).

Where integrated drive electronics (IDE) was used:

  • Hard disk drives (HDDs). By far, the most common use for IDE was to connect the hard drive to the computer’s motherboard.
  • Optical drives. It was also used to connect optical drives such as CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs.
  • Solid-state drives (SSDs). While SSD technology was in early stages, IDE was sometimes used to connect SSDs.
  • Older devices. Older devices as well as some tape back units can still have IDE connections.

IDE types

  • ATA. It’s another name for IDE. They are both used to refer to an old storage device connection interface where the drive controller electronics are integrated into the drive itself, rather than being on a separate interface card.
  • PATA or Parallel ATA ( or Parallel advanced technology attachment) is an ATA version where data is sent in parallel. In other words, multiple bits of data are transferred at the same time over multiple wires. This is as opposed to serial transmission, where data is sent one bit at a time over a single wire. PATA became the term commonly used to refer to the original ATA standard after the introduction of Serial ATA (SATA), to distinguish between the two.

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