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Specialty and Future Hard Disk Interfaces
While IDE/ATA and SCSI are used for the vast majority of hard disks in the PC world, there are some other interfaces that are used on occasion, or even used heavily in certain segments of the market. These are typically employed to fill a particular need where IDE/ATA and SCSI don't fit well. In particular, many of these interfaces allow for easy, inexpensive connection of external devices to PCs, especially ones that have limited expansion options, such as notebooks.
In this section I will first discuss some of the less common interfaces that are used for special applications or purposes in the hard disk world. This includes coverage of the parallel port interface, PCMCIA (PC Card) options, USB, IEEE-1394 (Firewire) and Fiber Channel. I will then also discuss two upcoming interfaces that may significantly change the landscape of the hard disk interface world: USB 2.0 and Serial ATA.
Note: Most of the interfaces
described in this section are used for connecting a wide variety of devices to the PC, and
many are not even generally associated with storage at all. Consistent with the goals of
this part of the site, the discussion of these interfaces here will be limited to an
overview, and focused primarily on each interface's role in the interfacing of hard disks
and other storage devices. Complete discussion of various PC interfaces in a general way
will be provided in a future expansion of The PC Guide.
Next: Parallel Port Interface