Advanced Technology Attachment
<storage, hardware, standard> (ATA, AT Attachment or "Integrated Drive
Electronics", IDE) A disk drive interface standard based on the IBM PC ISA
16-bit bus but also used on other personal computers. The ATA specification
deals with the power and data signal interfaces between the motherboard and the
integrated disk controller and drive. The ATA "bus" only supports two devices -
master and slave.
ATA drives may in fact use any physical interface the manufacturer desires, so
long as an embedded translator is included with the proper ATA interface. ATA
"controllers" are actually direct connections to the ISA bus.
Originally called IDE, the ATA interface was invented by Compaq around 1986, and
was developed with the help of Western Digital, Imprimis, and then-upstart
Conner Peripherals. Efforts to standardise the interface started in 1988; the
first draft appeared in March 1989, and a finished version was sent to ANSI
group X3T10 (who named it "Advanced Technology Attachment" (ATA)) for
ratification in November 1990.
X3T10 later extended ATA to Advanced Technology Attachment Interface with
Extensions (ATA-2), followed by ATA-3 and ATA-4.
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