Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between IDE and EIDE


Often, a computer has a lot to do with interfaces, and the most typical computer interface to consider, is the interface between a storage device and the motherboard’s database.

IDE, an abbreviation of Integrated Drive Electronics, is an example of this interface. Actually, IDE is more suitably referred to as the ATA/ATAPI interface, and sometimes, PATA. It was developed by Western Digital, under the latter’s name. The development of the technology was in cooperation with Compaq Computer and Control Data Corporation. Before the rise of SATA (Serial ATA), the IDE interface was the standard interface for computer storage devices.

Control Data Corporation was responsible for manufacturing the hard drive, while it was Compaq Computer who initially used the whole system. The three computer technology bodies developed all aspects that go with it, such as signal protocols, connector hardware, and so on. The first drives that were compatible with the interface became available in 1986 (Compaq PCs).

The main reason for the name ‘Integrated Drive Electronics’, is due to the detail that is integrated in the drive controller. Due to this feature, the software in the computer does not need to present the drive to the computer. Thus, IDE is, in reality, a misnomer; it is not the standard name, but became a popular name nonetheless. Besides, all storage devices such as HDDs, now include logic controllers in them, making IDE, as a descriptive term, nothing special.

The interface utilized by IDE (Integrated Device Electronics) drives were eventually standardized in 1994, namely, the ANSI standard X3.221-1994, and the AT Attachment Interface for Disk Drives. After the emergence of various improvements and versions of the standard model, it became known as ATA-1.

Almost simultaneously, as the ATA-1 standard was being adopted, another improved drive was introduced by Western Digital, and was coined as EIDE, short for Enhanced IDE. EIDE specifications were the forerunner of the ATA-2 standard. Aside from Western Digital, other companies also made variations of their own, and called them in a different name ‘“ Fast ATA and Ultra ATA.

The EIDE term was actually more of a marketing and branding strategy used by Western Digital, and the ‘Fast ATAs and Ultra ATAs’ were the competition’s response to Western Digital’s marketing term. Nevertheless, the ‘enhanced’ IDEs and ‘fast’ ATAs paved the way for newer and improved standards. All of these terms were standardized under the ATA-2 standard.

Yet, Western Digital achieved what they wanted to accomplish, as the ‘EIDE’ term became the most popular name of all. It is even arguably more popular than the real standard name, ATA-2.


1. IDE is under the ATA-1 interface standard, while EIDE is under ATA-2.

2. IDEs were introduced in 1986, while EIDEs were introduced in the mid 90’s.

3. IDE was the term used by Western Digital as a marketing brand, and the marketing hype was followed up by the manufacturer, ultimately, naming the slightly improved IDE, as EIDE.

4. EIDE competitions were named differently ‘“ e.g. Fast ATA and Ultra ATA ‘“ but all are similar, because they are all under the ATA-2 standards.

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