The end of the road for Parallel ATA

The end of the road for Parallel ATA

Summary: The Intel P965 chipset, code-named Broadwater, is signaling the end of the road for the outdated parallel ATA (PATA) interface. Instead, Intel is opting to exclusively push the more modern Serial ATA (SATA) interface.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Bye bye PATA!The Intel P965 chipset, code-named Broadwater, is signaling the end of the road for the outdated parallel ATA (PATA) interface. Instead, Intel is opting to exclusively push the more modern Serial ATA (SATA) interface (in case some of you are wondering, PATA and SATA are ways of connecting your hard drives and optical drive to the motherboard, PATA's been around since the Stone Age and while SATA's been around for a few years, it's only now starting to gain traction).

Optical drive manufacturers will have to start getting more SATA CD and DVD drives out of the doorFor me, the end of the road for PATA can't come quick enough.  Many high-performance boards now only have one PATA interface connector on the board which supports two devices (more often than not optical drives are fitted to these) but with Broadwater Intel will totally eliminate them. This will mean one thing - optical drive manufacturers will have to start getting more SATA CD and DVD drives out of the door. 

I'm only aware of a few manufacturers that currently support Serial ATA optical drives, but I expect that this will make change the landscape pretty quickly, and by the end of the year all of the major players will have SATA optical drives of all types.  At present you can expect to pay a premium for a SATA optical drive (or, more accurately, there are no bargain SATA optical drives on the market), while at the same time you can expect there to be no performance gains whatsoever.  The advantages are that setup will be a little easier and the cabling will be a lot more straight-forward.  While round PATA IDE cables don't obstruct airflow like the old-style ribbons did, I still find them far from ideal.  While SATA cabling is far from ideal, it will no doubt improve things.  It might also mean that those who might have been put off upgrading systems because of having to set jumpers on drives might be more likely to upgrade their systems with additional hard drives as they run out of disk space (it might also mean that I stop seeing pins that have been mangled by people hammering the connector in place).

That said, the word from manufacturers seems to be that some might continue to support the legacy interface and add third-party support PATA, so we might see still see PATA support on some motherboards for some years to come.  On top of that, anyone wanting to move legacy gear onto a new PC that doesn't have PATA support can always add support by fitting an expansion card.

Topic: Hardware

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10 comments
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  • There's nothing holding you back now

    I'm building a new PC this week with an Intel 945 board and all SATA drives. I'm sure I'm not the first.
    diane wilson
    • Have fun!

      I've got a few PCs that I'll be assembling over the next week or so too ... I love it!
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • It's about darned time. sheesh....

    Should have happened years ago.

    I guess CD/DVD was holding things back. Not that there was a reason for it.
    BitTwiddler
    • CD/DVD

      The only one I found was a Plextor SATA DVD burner. Fortunately, one is enough.
      diane wilson
      • MSI have one too ...

        http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=XA52P

        Doesn't seem as easy to find as the Plextor though.
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • one is a monopoly

        Plextor - the notoriously high end, expensive drive... so we should all be happy to pay 3 times what we should for an optical drive!
        shraven
        • Don't worry!

          That'll all change now!
          Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • What, forget that

    What! Forget that! I'm not guying new SATA DVD burners!

    I like having 4 PATA and 4 SATA connectors on my motherboard, I like having the choice. SATA connector heads suck and they're always falling off. As we have discussed before, SATA connectors need some kind of locking clip like the RJ-45 connectors.
    georgeou
    • Ha!

      Good for you George. Always the disturber!
      Cayble
  • Found a cheap Samsung SATA DVD writer

    The SH-W163 - I don't know what availability is like, but it's a lot cheaper than the Plextor drive, and I've got one coming to me!
    Adrian Kingsley-Hughes