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~ The Computer Dictionary ~

parallel ATA


An old-style IDE Card.

Parallel ATA (or PATA) is now commonly used as the new term for IDE. This change of term is necessary for clarity.

For many years, Parallel ATA was the most common disk drive interface (hard drives, CD-ROM, etc). Now, the name parallel ATA (or PATA) is used to differentiate this type of older (IDE) interface from that of the newer serial ATA (or SATA) interface. Serial ATA has become the preferred disk drive interface.

When Parallel ATA was first introduced, it was an important advancement because it provided controller electronics on the drive itself, eliminating the need for a separate adaptor card. It was easy to configure, it enabled look-ahead caching, and was relatively inexpensive compared to its traditional rival, SCSI.

In earlier designs, IDE was a separate card (which is pictured). Then it became common for IDE to be embedded on the motherboard.

Also see SATA and SCSI.

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