During IDF (Intel Developer Forum) Fall 2005, which is happening right now in San Francisco, California, Intel presented the final specs for the new CE-ATA hard drive standard, especially the connector format this new standard will use. The images you will see in this article are from CE-ATA presentation on this show.

CE-ATA is a standard for small hard drives targeted to consumer electronics products, such as media players (MP3, video, etc), digital cameras and digital camcorders. Right now the main standard available to this segment is CF+ (Compact Flash), which uses a 50-pin connector. Too many pins for a very small device – consumer electronics products use 1-inch hard drives! Also it uses 5 V signals, while everything else has already moved or is moving to 3.3 V signaling.

CF+Figure 1: An overall look at CF+ solution.

CE-ATA connector uses only 10 pins and has only 1/200th the volume of CF+:

  • CF+ connector: 1.69 x 1.43 x 0.13 inches (42.8 x 36.4 x 3.3 mm)

  • CE-ATA connector: 0.32 x 0.13 x 0.035 inches (8.1 x 3.4 x 0.9 mm)

CE-ATAFigure 2: CE-ATA connector compared to CF+.

In Figure 3, you can see a CE-ATA drive from Hitachi, which measures only 1.18 x 1.58 inches (30 mm x 40 mm). Compare it to a quarter, it’s really amazing. Its connector has Washington’s nose to chin distance!

CE-ATAFigure 3: CE-ATA hard drive.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.