Difference Between AHCI and IDE (With Table)

Computers are the most integral part of today’s evolving world. They have become the go-to solution to make any problem simpler. From the first, most basic computer to todays’ most advanced ones, there are a lot of components that go into making it faster and more efficient. Some of them are the AHCIs and IDEs.


The difference between AHCI vs IDE is that IDE is an older environment whereas AHCI is a newer version of the interface and that it enables more advanced features than the IDE. AHCI supports newer device modifications of the SATA whereas the IDEs are not compatible with them.

An AHCI or Advanced Host Controller Interface is an interface that helps the Serial Advanced Technology Attachment or SATA to communicate with the software. It is a PCI class device that helps exchange data between the SATA storage media and the system memory space. It was first defined in the year 2004 by Intel.

An IDE or Integrated Development Environment is an application that helps programmers integrate different parts of a computer program. It is an application invented to combine different aspects of programming like editing the code, debugging, and building executables into one single application. The first language that enabled the creation of IDE was Dartmouth BASIC.

Comparison Table Between AHCI and IDE

Parameters of ComparisonAHCIIDE
DefinitionAHCI is a technical standard device that helps exchange data between the SATA storage media and the system memory space.IDE is an interface standard that helps programmers integrate different parts of a computer program.
WiresAHCI wires are not that heavy in weight.Its wires are bulkier and very expensive.
SpeedIt is faster in its working.It is slower in its working.
Support of new featuresIt supports new features like hot swapping and NCQ.It does not support new features as it is an older version.
Supported by which OSIt is supported by Windows, Linux, Solaris 10, OpenBSD.It is supported by older versions of operating systems.

What is AHCI?

Advanced Host Controller Interface or AHCI is a technical standard that enables the exchange of data and instructions between SATA and the system. It was first defined by Intel in the year 2004. Other companies that opted for the same were Dell, Microsoft, AMD, Marvell, Maxtor, Red Hat, Seagate, and Storage Gear.

It is an operation mode that is activated before the operating system is installed. In certain systems, it is difficult to switch into AHCI systems after installing the OS but in Windows systems, one can switch to AHCI even after installing the OS. AHCI has a single storage queue and has a queue depth of 32 commands. This essentially means that 32 input-output requests can be kept waiting in a queue at once in the AHCI.

The AHCI is a device that falls under the class of Peripheral Component Interconnect or PCI devices. The activation of AHCI allows a person to access all kinds of advanced features of SATA like Native Command Queueing or NCQ and hot-swapping. AHCIs experience longer delays when used with SSDs and their I/O requests often bottleneck due to their limited queue depth. AHCI gives developers aid in programming, detecting and configuring SATA/AHCI adapters.

What is IDE?

An IDE or Integrated Development Environment is a software application that helps programmers develop different parts of their application by assisting in source code editing, building executables, and debugging. They maximize a programmer’s productivity by compiling everything into one application.

It is possible to build applications without an IDE or to create one’s own IDE, but this approach is extremely time-consuming and is feasible only when the requirement if the developer requires customization not available in the original IDE. IDEs facilitate developers in organizing their workflow and solve problems quicker. Some features like automatic code completion or auto-generated code assist in reducing the time required to type out the whole string of code.

An IDE is chosen based on the number of languages it supports, which operating systems it supports, its plugins, extensions, and its impact on the system’s performance. Debugging is one of the most important features of an IDE to smoothly and successfully run a program. Some examples of IDEs are Visual Studios, NetBeans, and Eclipse.

There are mainly two types of IDEs; Mobile and Cloud. Even though IDEs reduce the time, learning in the initial stages requires some time and patience. Thus, to maximize the benefits one must sacrifice some time over learning how the environment works. It is also considered to be not the best tool for beginner-level programmers.

Main Differences Between AHCI and IDE

The main difference between AHCI and IDE is that AHCI is newer than IDE and that AHCI is a technical standard that facilitates the exchange of data between the SATA storage and the system while IDE enables the communication between different storage devices such as hard disks and the system and is an application that helps developers maximize their productivity. Other differences are as following:

  1. AHCI supports newer and more advanced features of the SATA like Native Command Queueing and hot-swapping, unlike IDE.
  2. AHCI is the short form for Advanced Host Controller Interface while IDE is a short form for Integrated Development Environment.
  3. AHCI works faster than IDE.
  4. AHCI can be supported by newer OS systems whereas IDE cannot be supported as it is an older interface.
  5. IDE wires are bulkier and more expensive than AHCI wires.
  6. AHCI was defined by Intel while IDE was defined by Western Digital.


Computers are continuously evolving and in need of the latest technology for its upgrade. Between AHCI and IDE, AHCI has been shown to show better features and compatibility with all latest OS and shown more efficiency. Thus, the choice of the interface entirely depends upon the system that it is compatible with and for what purpose it is required.

IDEs are preferred by programmers to build on their applications as it is easy to use once they get the hang of it. Although a programmer can create their own IDE for extra customization purposes, most prefer the traditional IDE.


  1. https://hrcak.srce.hr/252341
  2. https://sata-io.org/sites/default/files/images/NVMe_and_AHCI_as_SATA_Express_Interface_Options_final.pdf