What is IDE?

The terms "integrated drive electronics" (IDE), "enhanced IDE" and "EIDE" have come to be used interchangeably with ATA (now Parallel ATA, or PATA). However the terms "IDE" and "EIDE" are at best imprecise. Every ATA drive is an "integrated drive electronics" drive, but SCSI drives could also legitimately be described as having "integrated drive electronics". However the abbreviation IDE is rarely, if ever, used for SCSI drives. In addition there have been several generations of "EIDE" drives marketed, compliant with various versions of the ATA specification. An early "EIDE" drive might be compatible with ATA-2, while a later one with ATA-6. Nevertheless a request for an "IDE" or "EIDE" drive from a computer parts vendor will almost always yield a drive that will work with most Parallel ATA interfaces. Another common usage is to refer to the specification version by the fastest mode supported. For example, ATA-4 supported Ultra DMA modes 0 through 2, the latter providing a maximum transfer rate of 33 megabytes per second. ATA-4 drives are thus sometimes called "UDMA-33" drives, and sometimes "ATA-33" drives. Similarly, ATA-6 introduced a maximum transfer speed of 100 megabytes per second, and some drives complying to this version of the standard are marketed as "PATA/100" drives.

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