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I was taking a look at a HDD and I found a document (from Toshiba, link: 2.5-Inch SATA HDD mq01abdxxx) that says:

Drive interface: Serial ATA, Revision 2.6 / ATA-8

I know that SATA uses SATA interface and ATA uses IDE interface. Then: Why is it using different stuff in the same sentence? An HDD has SATA interface OR IDE interface but not both at the same time.

  • 6
    Serial ATA = SATA. ATA-8 is the protocol version, not the interface. – Virtual Anomaly May 25 '16 at 13:33
  • Are you planning on putting this drive in your AT-AT :) – mikeazo May 25 '16 at 15:46
  • There is Sata (serial ata)and Pata (parallel ata), Pata is commonly referred to as IDE, which is actually incorrect. – Moab May 25 '16 at 18:02
  • It's all IDE really, (internal disk electronics). Very few hard disk controllers from the DOS days any more. – mckenzm May 26 '16 at 9:43
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Serial ATA is the connection/connector interface, ATA-8 is the protocol on that interface.

IDE was the interface and it also used an ATA protocol for communications.

IDE and ATA are not the same things, just as SATA and ATA are not the same.


To be clear, IDE defined that a drive should have Integrated Device Electronics (I.e. a controller) onboard and communications with the host should be done according to the ATA specifications.

While IDE and ATA are incredibly closely related, they are not the same thing.

IDE has been back-acronymed as PATA as the interface was a parallel connection using the ATA standard. SATA is a Serial ATA connection.

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  • 4
    IDE stands for nothing more than "Integrated Drive Electronics" - as opposed to having a seperate card for all that – Journeyman Geek May 25 '16 at 11:26
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    If this confuses you, think about "IDE/(P)ata" as "using the phone", "Sata" as "using Skype", and "ATA-8" as "English". Switching from phone to Skype doesn't mean you need to change the language you use to the person on the other side. – Guntram Blohm supports Monica May 25 '16 at 15:22

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