ATA is short for Advanced Technology Attachment. ATA was first approved May 12, 1994 under the ANSI document number X3.221-1994 and is an interface used to connect such devices as hard disk drives, CD-ROM drives, and other types of drives in IBM compatible computers. Many synonyms and near-synonyms for ATA exist, including abbreviations such as IDE and ATAPI. The original ATA interface is now often referred to as PATA, which is short for Parallel AT Attachment after the introduction of SATA.

Parallel ATA standards allow cable lengths up to only 18 inches (46 centimeters) although cables up to 36 inches (91 cm) can be readily purchased. Because of this length limit, the technology normally appears as an internal computer storage interface. It provides the most common and the least expensive interface for this application

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