IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) is a standard electronic interface used between a computer motherboard's data paths or bus and the computer's disk storage devices. The IDE interface is based on the IBM PC Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) 16-bit bus standard, but it is also used in computers that use other bus standards. Most computers sold today use an enhanced version of IDE called Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics (EIDE). In today's computers, the IDE controller is often built into the motherboard.
IDE was adopted as a standard by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in November, 1990. The ANSI name for IDE is Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA). The IDE (ATA) standard is one of several related standards maintained by the T10 Committee.
Integrated Device Electronics. It is the most widely-used hard drive interface on the market. The fancy name refers to how the IDE technology "integrates" the electronics controller into the drive itself. The IDE interface, which could only support drives up to 540 MB has been replaced by the superior EIDE (Enhanced-IDE) technology which supports over 50 GB and allows for over twice as fast data transfer rates. The other most common hard drive interface is SCSI, which is faster than EIDE, but usually costs more.
Although it really refers to a general technology, most people use the term to refer the ATA specification, which uses this technology.
What is ATA?
AT Attachment. The specification, formulated in the 1980s by a consortium of hardware and software manufacturers, that defines the IDE drive interface. AT refers to the IBM PC/AT personal computer and its bus architecture. IDE drives are sometimes referred to as ATA drives or AT bus drives. The newer ATA-2 specification defines the EIDE interface, which improves upon the IDE standard. (See also IDE and EIDE.)
There are several versions of ATA, all developed by the Small Form Factor (SFF) Committee:
ATA: Known also as IDE, supports one or two hard drives, a 16-bit interface and PIO modes 0, 1 and 2.
ATA-2: Supports faster PIO modes (3 and 4) and multiword DMA modes (1 and 2). Also supports logical block addressing (LBA) and block transfers. ATA-2 is marketed as Fast ATA and Enhanced IDE (EIDE).
ATA-3: Minor revision to ATA-2.
Ultra-ATA:[b] Also called Ultra-DMA, ATA-33, and DMA-33, supports multiword DMA mode 3 running at 33 MBps.
[b]ATA/66: A version of ATA proposed by Quantum Corporation, and supported by Intel, that doubles ATA's throughput to 66 MBps.
ATA/100: An updated version of ATA/66 that increases data transfer rates to 100 MBps.
ATA also is called Parallel ATA. Contrast with Serial ATA.
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