What is the difference between sata & ide hard drive?

Written by angela streiff | 13/05/2017
What is the difference between sata & ide hard drive?
SATA hard drives use a much smaller connection cable than the 40-pin ribbon used by IDE drives. (hard disk image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

Understanding the differences between an IDE drive and a SATA drive allows you to make a knowledgeable decision about which one to use. To understand these differences, you must know their meanings and how they are designed in correlation to one another.


The IDE drive was designed by Western Digital to combine several pieces of hardware together in effort to make a more universally compatible device. Other manufacturers used this same drive design, referring to it as an ATA drive. An IDE drive is in essence the same as an ATA drive.


The SATA hard drive is an improved upon version of the original ATA hard drive. The Western Digital version of the SATA drive is the EIDE drive. These two drives are the successors to the IDE/ATA drives.

IDE/SATA Relation

With the IDE/ATA drive and the EIDE/SATA drive being different versions of the same drive design, it can be said that an IDE drive is simply a previous brand-name version of the SATA drive.


Working at faster speeds, the SATA drive makes the original IDE drive obsolete. While an IDE drive peaks its maximum transfer rate at 133 MB per second, a SATA provides data transfers rate of up to 150 MB per second.


The connection cables on the original IDE drives are larger, using a 40-pin connector ribbon with a four-pin power adaptor cable that attaches alongside. SATA hard drives connect through a "blade and beam" system and are powered through a 15-pin connection.

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