SATA vs IDE? What’s the difference and what’s better? This page will explain the differences and the pros and cons of each cable. SATA or IDE? Find out.


IDE: (Integrated Drive Electronics)


The SATA cable or Serial ATA cables are only 7 pins wide compared to the IDE Ribbon Cable which is 40 pins. The SATA cables are also longer then the ribbon cables (some up to 1m) which make them more useful in large cases. The PATA or IDE cables are only 45cm long and can connect two hard drives to the motherboard while the SATA cable connects only one hard drive to the motherboard.


The next step in IDE vs SATA is to work out the data transfer speeds. IDE (PATA) transfers data from the speeds of 5MB/sec up to 133MB/Sec (ATA100/133). SATA however data transfer speeds range from 150MB/sec to SATA II which doubles it to 300MB/sec.


IDE vs SATA in the aspect of jumpers again goes the way of SATA. With the IDE cable you need to always mess around with the jumpers since their may be two hard drives or two CD drives or one of each on the one cable. With SATA there is only the one cable so there are no jumpers to mess around with. If you are new to computers then a SATA hard drive will be easier to install.


In summary of SATA vs IDE, the SATA cable is smaller, faster and therefore better. It can reach further then a IDE cable and will also reduce the obstruction to air cooling which IDE cables can contribute to. The cables also transfer data much faster (more crucial if you have two or more hard drives) and are easier to install since their are no jumpers. The only downfall of the SATA is that they easily fall out of their positions and that you can only have one drive per cable.

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