What’s the difference between SATA and PATA and IDE?

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This “SATA” stuff is new to me. What does it mean? It’s something about hard disk drives, I know, but I don’t understand what. I went to get a new hard drive for my machine and the one that I wanted was SATA. But when I told the salesperson what computer I had, he said I didn’t want it and instead, I needed something called PATA or IDE? I’m very confused.

Well, one part of this is easy: IDE and PATA are two names for the same thing.

The rest – well, the easy part is that SATA and PATA are two different ways of connecting a hard drive to your computer. Your computer will have one or the other, and what you purchase must, in general, match.

When we go further, however, things start to get a little complex.

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