8 Differences Between EIDE and IDE

When it comes to choosing a storage solution, two of the most common options would be an IDE and an EIDE.

Typically, both these types are approved and follow the Advanced Technology Attachment or ATA specifications and may seem pretty similar but there are some vital differences between the two.


  • IDE or Integrated Drive Electronics refers to the type of an interface that connects different storage devices such as hard drives, CD-ROMs and others to the computer system. EIDE or Enhanced IDE is just an improved version or an extension of IDE and supports higher data transfer rates and larger storage capacities.
  • IDE integrates the drive controller into the drive which lowers the cost and complexity of the entire system and is a common standard for several computers but EIDE is more commonly used as an interface to connect and control hard drives and other storage devices on most Windows computers.
  • All modern computer systems come with a couple of EIDE controllers built in them that also control the DVD drive and CD-ROM drive quite often as well. It is usually found on the motherboard and is connected by wide ribbon cables to the hard drives and CD drives in the computer system.
  • The IDE interface is the predecessor of EIDE but the latter is designed to be compatible with the former interface standard allowing the users to plug in an IDE hard drive to it but the throughput may be quite sluggish.
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The 8 Differences Between EIDE and IDE

Differences Between EIDE and IDE

1. Full Forms

IDE is the acronym for Integrated Drive Electronics but, on the other hand, EIDE stands for Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics.

2. Purposes

IDE serves as the point of connection for a hard drive and an optical drive to the motherboard of the computer system. The capacity of it has increased significantly from its launch from 20 MB to 2 TB.

On the other hand, EIDE acts as the computer bus that helps the storage driver and the computer system to have regular electronic communication. Apart from that, it also allows the users to access the hard drives in the computer much quicker.

3. Standards Followed

The IDE follows the Advanced Technology Attachment or ATA 1 interface standard.

On the other hand, the Enhanced IDE follows the ATA 2 standard and is an updated version of the IDE.

4. Date of Release

The IDE interface standard was released in 1986 but, in comparison, the Enhanced IDE interface standard was introduced in 1994 thereby making it a more modern technology in comparison to the original standard.

5. Operation

The IDE hard drives can be usually plugged into the desktop computer to operate but, in comparison, there are special EIDE controllers built in the computer for its performance.

6. Transfer Speed

The rate of data transfer of the IDE is pretty less in comparison to the data transfer rate of the EIDE with the data transfer limit being just 8.3 MB/s.

On the other hand, the data transfer rate is relatively higher in the case of EIDE with the transfer limit being 16.6 MB/s which is literally double than that of the IDE.

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7. Number Specification

The number of drives available to the computer system is specified by IDE but that is not specified by EIDE.

8. Used for

The IDE is normally used to install an operating system in a computer but, in comparison, an Enhanced IDE can be used for both installing an operating system in the computer as well as for storing data.

Which is More Useful – EIDE or IDE?

You can say that Enhanced IDE is a much better option than Integrated Drive Electronics because it is a more modern technology having been released at a much later date.

However, making your choice simply on that factor may be unwise and therefore, here are few other specific factors that you should consider as well.

When you use an IDE on your personal computer or workstation, you will have the disk drive connected to the motherboard directly through the IDE bus.

In addition to that, you will also be able to use a wide assortment of technologies to interface the drives with the computer system which includes the following:

The capacity of the IDE is normally low being 128 GB and its features and functionality makes it a perfect solution to use in situations where low power consumption but high storage density is elementary.

The IDE drives may come in both internal and external form factors and are best suited if data integrity and reliability are crucial such as in server applications.

On the other hand, Enhanced IDE is that specific type of computer bus that helps in transferring data between the computer system and the peripherals attached to it.

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This is the perfect choice if speed is what you are looking for during data transfer and want a bus that will support using much larger disk drives in comparison to an IDE.

However, you will need to buy and use new peripherals that are compatible with Fast IDE standard because it is not compatible with earlier IDE devices.

Therefore, to summarize it can be said that you can choose IDE if:

  • You are okay with an older technology and
  • You do not want higher data transfer speed.

On the other hand, you can go for Enhanced IDE if:

  • You are looking for higher data transfer speed
  • You want to have larger storage capacity and
  • You want to go with a more modern technology.

Now, your knowledge is complete and you should not have much difficulty in deciding which among the Integrated Drive Electronics and Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics will be more useful to you and make the right choice.


Both Integrated Drive Electronics and Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics are important for data storage but they typically operate differently as you can see from the differences mentioned above.

Thanks to the article, now you can make an informed decision and choose the right option for your storage needs.

About Puja Chatterjee

Puja ChatterjeePuja Chatterjee is a technical writer with extensive knowledge about computers. She graduated from BIMS. Her expertise includes technology writing and client relationship management gained through over 12 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin.