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  • Last Updated : 27 Apr, 2020
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PATA stands for Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment.
A motherboard has many components in it. Each component has its own functionality. There are cables used for different purposes in a motherboard and PATA is one of them.
Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment(PATA) also called Advanced Technology(AT) Attachment is a bus interface used for connecting secondary storage devices like hard disks, optical drives to the computer system. The functionality of PATA is to transfer the data.


PATA was introduced by a company named Western Digital and Compaq in the year 1986. When introduced, it was named as Advanced Technology Attachment or ATA in short. The cable was named ATA as it’s main function involved transferring of data. Later on, when SATA was introduced in 2003, the bus interface was renamed as PATA. Serial Advanced Technology Attachment(SATA) was introduced as PATA was subsequently losing its place in the market. The reason is the speed of data transfer was slower and the price was higher. With SATA being introduced, the demand for Parallel ATA slowly declined.

Types of PATA Cables

PATA cables are of two kinds. They look quite similar but the functionalities are different. They are also called as IDE.

  • PATA 40 conductor cable:
    It was first introduced to connect devices which has a transfer speed of 33 Megabytes per second(Mbps). A user can connect a maximum of two devices to the cable in the motherboard. It was later replaced by PATA 80 conductor cable.
  • PATA 80 conductor cable:
    It has the ability to connect IDE devices that have a transfer speed of 133 Megabytes per second(Mbps). The cable was much wider than the PATA 40 conductor cable.


  • PATA is a 40 pin connector with 20 pins on the upper side and 20 on the lower facing parallel to each other.
  • One PATA cable can connect up to 2 devices.
  • It doesn’t have the feature of hot-swapping.
    Hot swapping is a condition in which the devices must be replaced immediately without switching off the entire system when heated up.
  • In case of PATA, when the problem occurred, the entire system has to be switched off.
  • 16 bits(2 bytes) of data is transferred using PATA.
  • The older versions of Operating systems support the PATA.


  • The older versions of operating systems used to work comparatively slower than the present-day operating systems. PATA was a better choice to use for those OS.
  • The speed of data transfer was good enough in those days.
  • The demand was PATA was more as it was the first cable connector introduced.


  • The cost was higher making it unaffordable to everyone.
  • The cable consumes more power.
  • It doesn’t have hot swapping.
  • The demand for cable was slowly falling.
  • It was replaced by SATA in 2003.
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