A Brief Introduction To Parallel ATA (PATA)

Last Updated: 2020-10-29

Resumo: Parallel ATA(PATA) is an interface and IDE standard for connecting storage devices to the computer motherboard. Today in this post, we will give a general introduction to the Parallel ATA.

What Is Parallel ATA?

The PATA standard is triggered by the longevity of incremental technology development, starting with the original AT Attachment interface. This interface was developed for the first PC AT devices.

It is a set of connections and cables following this standard. And it has been called ATA, short for Advanced Technology Attachment, and SATA standard is its advanced version.

Parallel ATA has a length limit of 18 inches, so this technology id typically displayed as an internal computer storage interface. And SATA has mostly replaced the PATA in newer systems.

PATA Cables & Connectors

Physical Description

PATA cables are flat with 40-pin connectors with two ends. One end connects to the port on the motherboard, and the other end is in the back of the storage devices, such as a hard drive.

Some devices have PATA cable connectors themselves. And some cables have an additional PATA connector in the middle of the cable to connect with another device such as an optical disk drive or PATA hard drive.

PATA cables are available in 40-wire or 80-wire designs. Newer PATA devices require a more functional 80-wire cable to meet specific speed demands. Both types have 40-pins and seem almost identical, making it difficult to distinguish them. Although the connectors on an 80-wire cable are usually black, blue, and gray, 40-wire cable connectors are only black.

More Information

The transfer rate of ATA-4 drives can reach at most 33 MB/s. ATA-6 devices support speeds of up to 100 MB/s, possibly called PATA/100 drives.

PATA cables support a maximum length of 18 inches, 457 mm.

PATA hard drives have a power connector, Molex. This connection extends out from the PATA device’s power supply to get power.


PATA is an older version and technology, while SATA is newer with much improvement.

PATA cables are bigger than SATA cables, which makes it difficult for PATA cables to connect, causing management issues.

PATA cables also block airflow, which will make the computer system overheat, while SATA cables allow the system’s airflow to keep it cool due to its thinner size.

PATA does not support hot-swapping, but SATA supports.

As for the price, PATA cables are more expensive than SATA cables.

PATA cables support to connect two devices simultaneously, but SATA cables support only one device.

PATA devices can typically run in ancient operating systems such as Windows 98 and 95, but SATA devices can not. Besides, some SATA devices require some specific device drivers to function correctly.

PATA cables can only be 18 inches long, which makes it challenging to use PATA devices anywhere outside the computer case. But SATA has external devices – eSATA so that using SATA cable can easily connect to the back to your computer.

Wind It UP!

By walking through this page, you will have a general idea about Parallel ATA(PATA) with its definition, cables, and connectors, as well as its advantages and disadvantages over SATA.



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