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1. Short for Integrated Drive Electronics or IBM Disc Electronics, IDE is more commonly known as ATA or Parallel ATA (PATA). It is a standard interface for IBM compatible hard drives and CD or DVD drives. IDE is different than SCSI and Enhanced Small Device Interface (ESDI) because its controllers are on each drive, meaning the drive can connect directly to the motherboard or controller. IDE and its updated successor, Enhanced IDE (EIDE), are common drive interfaces found in IBM compatible computers. Below is a picture of the IDE connector on the back of a hard drive, a picture of what an IDE cable looks like, and the IDE channels it connects to on the motherboard.

Jumpers on back of IDE hard disk drive

IDE cable

IDE / ATA channel

How many drives can each IDE channel support?

Each IDE channel can support two drives. A single IDE ribbon cable has three connection. One connection connects to the motherboard and the other two connections are available for the two drives.

2. Alternatively referred to as IDLE, IDE is short for Integrated Development Environment, and are visual tools that allow programmers to develop programs more efficiently. Commonly, an IDE may have a compiler, debugger, text editor, and other integrated tools. Smalltalk was the first programming language to have a first true IDE.

Also see: .NET, Bus, Channel, Cable, Connection, Data cable, EIDE, Floppy cable, Hard drive terms, Idle, Motherboard terms, PIIX, Programming terms, SATA