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It uses the underlying AT Attachment (ATA) and AT Attachment Packet Interface (ATAPI) standards.
The Parallel ATA standard is the result of a long history of incremental technical development, which began with the original AT Attachment interface, developed for use in early PC AT equipment.
The first version of what is now called the ATA/ATAPI interface was developed by Western Digital under the name Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE).
Together with Control Data Corporation (the hard drive manufacturer) and Compaq Computer (the initial customer), they developed the connector, the signaling protocols and so on, with the goal of remaining software compatible with the existing ST-506 hard drive interface.
The ATA interface itself evolved in several stages from Western Digital's original Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) interface.
As a result, many near-synonyms for ATA/ATAPI and its previous incarnations are still in common informal use, in particular Extended IDE (EIDE) and Ultra ATA (UATA).
Example of a 1992 80386 PC motherboard with nothing built in other than memory, keyboard, processor, cache, realtime clock, and slots.A short-lived, seldom-used implementation of ATA was created for the IBM XT and similar machines that used the 8-bit version of the ISA bus.It has been referred to as "XT-IDE", "XTA" or "XT Attachment".Since the original ATA interface is essentially just a 16-bit ISA bus in disguise, the bridge was especially simple in case of an ATA connector being located on an ISA interface card.The integrated controller presented the drive to the host computer as an array of 512-byte blocks with a relatively simple command interface.
The interface used by these drives was standardized in 1994 as ANSI standard X3.221-1994, AT Attachment Interface for Disk Drives.