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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Interfaces and Configuration | Integrated Drive Electronics / AT Attachment (IDE/ATA) Interface | Official IDE/ATA Standards and Feature Sets ]


The first formal standard defining the AT Attachment interface was submitted to ANSI for approval in 1990. It took a looooooong time for this first ATA standard to be approved. :^) Presumably, it took so long because it was the first standard to define the interface, and therefore much debate and discussion probably took place during the approval process. It was finally published in 1994 as ANSI standard X3.221-1994, titled AT Attachment Interface for Disk Drives. This standard is sometimes called ATA-1 to distinguish it from its successors.

The original IDE/ATA standard defines the following features and transfer modes:

  • Two Hard Disks: The specification calls for a single channel in a PC, shared by two devices that are configured as master and slave.
  • PIO Modes: ATA includes support for PIO modes 0, 1 and 2.
  • DMA Modes: ATA includes support for single word DMA modes 0, 1 and 2, and multiword DMA mode 0.

"Plain" ATA does not include support for enhancements such as ATAPI support for non-hard-disk IDE/ATA devices, block mode transfers, logical block addressing, Ultra DMA modes or other advanced features. Drives developed to meet this standard are no longer made, as the standard is old and obsolete.   In fact, at the recommendation of the T13 Technical Committee, ATA-1 was withdrawn as an official ANSI standard in 1999. This is presumably due to its age, and the large number of replacement ATA standards already published by that time.

Next: ATA-2

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