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I have an ATA hard disk in my laptop, running Fedora 11, kernel I am looking to upgrade the disk in here (would love to get an SSD) but I forgot if it's a serial ATA or an old parallel ATA interface. There's not much use upgrading to an SSD if it's PATA...

How can I tell if the disk is connected via a PATA or an SATA interface?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

To see the device description for the controller (assuming an internal (PCI) controller), which usually contains SATA for SATA controllers:

lspci -d $(cat /sys/block/sda/device/../../../vendor):$(cat /sys/block/sda/device/../../../device)

If you want to type less, just browsing the output of lspci is likely to give you the answer in a laptop (many desktop have both kinds of interfaces so you'd have to look up the drive you're interested in).

If that doesn't give you the answer, to see what driver is providing sda (you can then look up whether that driver is for a PATA or SATA controller):

readlink -f /sys/block/sda/device/../../../driver
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Awesome, thanks! The first command confused me but the second one nicely produced /sys/bus/pci/drivers/pata_amd ! – Josh Nov 10 '10 at 3:26

Update: For the record, @Giles answer is better.

If it's a PATA (ide) drive, then you will see it under /proc/ide. Here is my IDE DVD-Drive, for example.

$ cat /proc/ide/hdb/model 

If it is a SATA drive, it will show up under /proc/scsi. You might be surprised to find it under 'scsi'. I forget the exact reason (I'm going to ask that in another question), but I think that is because SATA uses the SCSI drivers.

Here's a list showing a SATA drive on my system:

$ cat /proc/scsi/scsi 
Attached devices:
Host: scsi0 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
  Vendor: ATA      Model: WDC WD2500AAJS-6 Rev: 01.0
  Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI  SCSI revision: 05
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This isn't always reliable: depending on the driver, kernel version and kernel compilation options, some SATA drivers can appear as ide and some PATA drivers can appear as scsi. Modern kernels tend to have every driver speak scsi to the generic disk layer, and that's what you see here. – Gilles Nov 10 '10 at 1:12
Yeah, sorry Stefan, the drive is listed under /proc/scsi/scsi, in fact my system doesn't even have /proc/ide... yet according to Gilles' answer, it looks like the drive is actually IDE. – Josh Nov 10 '10 at 3:29

lshw would give you the details.

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