8 Differences Between IDE and SCSI Standards

Most of the computer users today want the best storage subsystem to use and therefore are found switching disk drives often along with the different interface standards such as the IDE and SCSI.

If you too are thinking on the same lines, it is recommended that you compare the two standards well and then take the final decision.

This will however need you to know the differences between the two standards first and if you are unaware of them, this is an article worth reading.


  • SCSI allows connecting many other different devices apart from the hard drives to the motherboard such as scanners, plotters, disc drives and others while IDE allows connecting two hard drives.
  • The IDE technology is much more modern in comparison to the SCSI technology and is also quite cheaper than SCSI.
  • Using IDE does not need any additional configuration to make because the motherboard can detect it easily but using SCSI will need making some additional configuration.
  • SCSI is much more reliable than IDE technology and it offers larger capacity, higher speed and more utilization of hard drives.
  • SCSI virtually requires an additional interface expansion card all of the time if it is not included in the motherboard of the computer but the IDE does not.

The 8 Differences Between IDE and SCSI Standards

Differences Between IDE and SCSI Standards

1. Acronym

IDE is the short form of Integrated Drive Electronics but the acronym SCSI stands for Small Computer System Interface.

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2. Age

The SCSI standard has been around for a much longer time than the IDE standard, in fact since the 1980s.

In comparison, the IDE is considered to be a more modern technology.

3. Motherboard Detection

The IDE controllers especially are easily detected by the motherboard but, on the other hand, the SCSI needs some additional configurations to be made for that matter.

4. Cost

The IDE technology is a much cheaper solution.

On the other hand, the SCSI technology is much more expensive to support and implement.

5. Expansion

The IDE solution will allow you to connect two hard drives in each channel.

On the other hand, SCSI has the ability to support as many as 7 to 15 devices.

6. Ease in Use

IDE is much easier to set up and use by the users but in comparison SCSI is much more complicated to set up and use.

7. Speed

The operational speed of the SCSI is much higher than an IDE which can support RPM in excess of 10000.

The data transfer rate of the SCSI is also much higher which increases the overall yield and performance of the system in comparison to the IDE.

8. Resources

IDE interface is available in most of the motherboards today which means that there is no need to take on any additional resources unless you need any additional drives.

On the other hand, unlike IDE, in most of the cases SCSI will need an extra interface expansion card if the motherboard of the computer is not equipped with one already. Adding any new hardware to the system means more resources will be necessary.

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Which is More Useful – IDE or SCSI Standards?

Differences Between IDE and SCSI Standards

Both the standards, IDE and SCSI, have their respective features that make them work differently.

This specific fact makes choosing one standard over the other pretty difficult. Certainly, knowing just the differences mentioned above is not enough.

Though, your choice will be influenced largely by your needs and preferences, knowing a few additional facts about these two interface standards may be very useful in the end.

The IDE standard interface allows connecting up to two hard drives to the motherboard of the computer on a single connector.

However, the SCSI is not necessarily designed for the hard drives alone but more as a universal interface that will allow connecting several different devices to the motherboard of a computer.

The different devices that can be connected using an SCSI include:

  • Hard drives
  • Disc drives
  • Scanners
  • Plotters and lots more.

The embedded hardware that controls the flow of data and information makes the SCSI much more reliable and faster than the IDE standard.

This allows it to offer exceptional performance when used in specific systems such as servers and workstations.

Though a bit costly, SCSI is worth it due to its added offerings in different aspects such as:

  • Reliability
  • Overall speed
  • Storage capacity and
  • Utilization of more hard drives.

It is all due to the RAID array support. Still, SCSI is overshadowed by IDE mainly due to the price difference.

Add to that, the inbuilt IDE controllers in the systems and its adequate storage capacity made it useful for most of the home computers.

It is also much easier to use in comparison to SCSI drives being almost plug-n-play.

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So, what the best choice for you would be may still be a serious question doing rounds in your mind.

Well, if you are held back due to financial constraints, using IDE in your NT computers will be a better option. You may get a reasonably high performance if you restrict your use to fundamental user workstations.

You may also use them in any other light-duty machine which will not be affected much by the serialized drive access and enhanced CPU utilization.

On the other hand, you may go for SCSI if you want an extensive number of features that will enhance the overall performance and want to leverage the asynchronous I/O model of the NT or New Technology computers.

If money is not an issue to you, it is always recommended to use SCSI in the NT systems whenever and wherever possible.

It will enable you to reap the benefits of an extremely versatile and refined interface helping you to optimize the performance of the NT computers.


So, coming to the end of this article, now you can surely make out which among the IDE and SCSI will be a better option to invest in and include in your computer and make the best use of the technology.

Remember, the final choice and decision, as it is for all other products, is always yours.

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.

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