You’ve probably heard some of these acronyms thrown around. Oh, and the IT world seems to run on acronyms. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. All these acronyms have to do with hard drives. They describe the way that a hard drive connects to your computer’s motherboard. That’s a broad generalization, but let’s go with that. Let’s go through them really quickly so you understand what they are.


PATA – The Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment was actually invented by Western Digital in 1986. If you have ever opened up a computer, you probably recognize this connector. It is a 40 pin connector that has throughputs of 16, 33, 66, 100, and 133 MB/s. PATA (aka ATA/IDE) usually have jumpers (small rubber contacts) that you can move to different pins. These change what “position” the drive is in. It has master, slave, and cable select positions. You want your bootable drive in the master position.

Photo Source: Jonas Bergsten


SATA – Stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. SATA is faster, hot pluggable, and better for data checks than PATA. They can do 1.5Gb/s to 3Gb/s. That’s a little bit faster than their predecessor. There is a lot to know about SATA drives, but that’s a good overview.


SCSI – SCSI (pronounced Skuzzy)  can be a royal pain in the butt.  There are many connector types and you need to make sure that SCSI connections are terminated correctly with terminators.  But, you can daisy chain devices on SCSI connections, as long as they all have the same SCSI LUN ID.  SCSI is used a lot in servers.

Photo Source: Ian Wilson

Main Photo Source: Dave Indech