The origin of the phrases ATA and IDE [WAS:RE: formatting MFM drives on a IBM PC]

Alan Perry aperry at
Mon Oct 2 12:03:15 CDT 2017

On 10/2/17 5:22 AM, Jules Richardson via cctech wrote:
> On 10/02/2017 01:46 AM, Alan Perry via cctech wrote:
>> There was a call to form the CAM (Common Access Method) Committee of 
>> X3T9.2
>> (SCSI-2) on 30 Sept 1988 and they first met on 19 Oct 1988. The primary
>> goal was to come up with a SCSI subset to facilitate it support in 
>> multiple
>> OSs and BIOS on PCs. At the first meeting, two items mentioned in the
>> minutes seem relevant. 1. Jim McGrath of Quantum was interested in
>> embedding SCSI in the drive without a physical SCSI bus and described
>> problems with reference to the PC/AT.
> Does anyone know why IDE/ATA even came about? I mean, why SCSI wasn't 
> used? It would have been an established standard by then, the drive 
> complexity seems comparable to IDE/ATA (i.e. intelligent commands over 
> a parallel bus), and SCSI controllers can be extremely simple - just a 
> handful of LS logic ICs - unless you want to add loads of command 
> queuing and such (again, comparable to IDE)
> Did it simply come down to pressure from vendors, wanting to 
> distinguish between expensive workstation-class drives and something 
> cheaper which could be associated with the lowly PC?

Here is a complete quote from the minutes:
"Jim McGrath of Quantum defined his company's interest as being 
primarily in the ability to embed SCSI into a drive without there being 
a physical SCSI bus present. He described some problems of this 
environment, with references to the PC AT bus in particular. Jim 
believes that the greatest benefit of the CAM will come from a "severe 
pruning of SCSI functionality in order to meet the goal of a precise, 
simple, software interface."


> cheers
> Jules

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