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Parallel AT Attachment (PATA)

Ribbon cable with two connectors

The PATA interface is the traditional interface between hard disk and motherboard. Normally, the cable used would connect to IDE0 on the motherboard and this would leave two connections to which two hard disks could be connected, with one designated the master or primary and the other designated the secondary, or slave. Most motherboards also have anIDE1 which would be used to connect the CD drive and possibly a second hard disk or even a DVD drive.

The cable is designed in such a way that it can only be connected to the motherboard in the correct way, this is also true of the other connectors that will only fit into the drive in the correct way. Another indication of the correct way to attach the cable is that the red strip end of the cable will slot into pins 0 and 1 on the device.

Note: the AT in the name refers to the fact that the interface was originally designed for the IBM AT type PC.

Different PATA hard disks are usually referred to by their speed of access, e.g. ATA66 is 66MB/s, ATA100 is 100MB/s and ATA133 is 133MB/s.

Note: IDE stands for Integrated Drive Electronics.

Click here to review the wiki resource on parallel ATA.

Next: Serial ATA (SATA)