We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is PATA?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

PATA, also known as Parallel ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment), is a type of internal computer port that attaches to hard drives and other devices. It has been replaced by the faster, sleeker port technology known as Serial ATA, or SATA. Virtually all devices are now made to conform to the SATA standard.

Originally, PATA was known simply as ATA (pronounced by sounding out the letters). The ATA standard evolved into many flavors, with each subsequent type increasing data transfer rates. It wasn’t until the serial flavor of ATA came along that the original parallel standard became retroactively known as PATA.

PATA devices are easy to spot by the rather large 40-pin port that connects to a parallel ATA cable. These cables are flat, wide, ribboned cables with 40 parallel wires, hence the designation, parallel. Data is split among the lanes and travels in parallel between the PATA controller and the connected device in a master/slave configuration. Cables later increased to 80-wires in order to break through a data transfer ceiling hit with the 40-wire flavor of parallel ATA known as ATA/33. The first 80-wire iteration was ATA/66 with a theoretical maximum data transfer rate of 66.6 megabytes per second (MBps), or twice that of ATA/33.

The cables have a maximum length barrier of 18 inches (46 cm), and require 5 volts of power. One side of a PATA cable features a red line to indicate the layout for pin one, useful when connecting the cable to a compatible device. PATA’s death, however, was that it hit a data transfer ceiling at 150 MBps.

SATA cables can be up to 3 feet (1 meter) in length, are very narrow, and only require 250 millivolts of power. The first release of SATA was as fast as ATA/150 (150 MBps), but used only a fraction of the power required by PATA while also allowing more airflow through case. SATA II pushed the data transfer rate to 300 MBps, and more specifications have followed. Older motherboards that only have PATA slots can run SATA devices by using a third-party SATA controller that will fit into the slot, thus allowing an upgrade to SATA without upgrading the motherboard.

During the interim switch to SATA, motherboards generally featured both types of ports and controllers. One PATA port can control up to two legacy parallel devices. SATA uses peer-to-peer technology, (rather than master/slave), so one of its ports controls one device. Motherboards are made with multiple SATA ports for accommodating generous amounts of data storage and optional RAID configurations. SATA devices are also hot-swappable, unlike PATA devices.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon89286 — On Jun 09, 2010

thanks a lot for such an easy explanation, but i would like to say something, that it would be better if anyone describes SATA more.

By anon77648 — On Apr 15, 2010

what is the meaning of serial Ata -- does this mean sata hard disk?

By anon61785 — On Jan 22, 2010

I find that it's best to talk to people like a six year old when you are discussing techy stuff.

After all the purpose is to communicate information and knowledge and facilitate understanding, not impress others as to how smart you are with acronyms, jargon and double-jointed words.

By anon37519 — On Jul 20, 2009

Is PATA the same as ATA-6?

By anon8339 — On Feb 11, 2008

Very good and informative, simple language- even computer dummy like me could understand.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.