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Rounded IDE cables

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Does rounded IDE cables affects the overall performance or maybe lowers down data integrity? From what i understand rounded IDE are done by stripping the normal IDE cables and these strips might cause shock between themselves. How true is that, what do u guys reckon?

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Nothing true in what you said.

The only thing about IDE round cables is that it allows possibly a better airflow.

Ditto.

Not in my experience. I have had at least two incidents where rounded IDE cables have resulted in data corruption.

People that say rounded are the same as ribbon don't understand why it is a ribbon in the first place, and believe me there are very good reasons.

Don't get me wrong, I wish rounded was just as reliable, as I hate ribbons in my case. I have been using rounded cables for my floppy and cdroms for about 7 years now, but not for HD's any more.

Your mileage may vary though, and you may never have a problem, but realize there is some risk.

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I have never had a problem with the Cables Unlimited brand round cables, always work great. I bought a 50 pack of Vantec cables once, still have most in a junk drawer, cant even use a CDRW reliably with them.

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I build and work on lots of boxs and its more common then you would think to see problems that are the result of round cables. Some are just cheap round cables. Some is caused by them being removed and put back on often and not using teh paper tab to pull on them to get them off etc...

If I have a box to service thats having drive related probs the very first thing I do is put a standard flat cable on that I know is good just to eliminate that possibility.

Tex

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If I have a box to service thats having drive related probs the very first thing I do is put a standard flat cable on that I know is good just to eliminate that possibility

However, it's not that uncommon to test another cable in those cases, round or not...

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I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the technical reasons why rounded cables aren't a good idea.

The whole reason for moving from a 40-conductor cable to an 80-conductor cable, was to intersperse ground wires between all of the signal wires, for purposes of removing noise from the high-speed signal transmissions.

Using rounded cables, for the most part, negates that advantage of relative noise immunity. Worse yet, people tend to use not just round cables, but extended-length rounded cables to boot!

Apparently, the safest form of rounded cables to use, are ones that use twisted-pair wiring, are shielded, with an additional shielding ground strap wire that is to be affixed to a chassis ground on the other end of the cable. Anything less, should not be used.

Personally, I don't see what's so inherently bad about flat cables myself. They lend themselves to proper forming a little bit easier, in some cases.

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I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the technical reasons why rounded cables aren't a good idea.

I didn't want to get into the technical details in my initial post. Here are some additional reasons for the flat ribbon...

The positions of wires in the ribbon are strategic to keep specific wires separated and as far apart as possible. Obviously, in any rounded cable you completely lose this benefit.

Also, while a "twisted pair" rounded cable may be better than not twisting, the theory of twisted pairs is for something completely different. The twisted pairs in a CAT5 network cable are made up of a "positive" signal wire and a "negative" signal wire. So one wire transmits the inverse signal of the other wire. Thus, the electrical fields generated by each wire are equal but opposite, and basically cancel each other out. That way cross talk is minimized.

"Twisting" a ground wire with the data wire may be better than nothing, but it is nothing compared to the real thing.

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Hum, all what have been said makes sense, but i *feel* like some point is missing.

It would be very unusual for the industry to invest and produce a product *knowing* it is very likely to fail.

Maybe is it the way that the wires are shielded, maybe is it the way the signal is emmitted on the wires, but i'm pretty sure that some of the reasons why the cables were flat in the earlier IDE implementations are irrelevant in todays implementations (by irrelevant, i mean that there could be workarounds by now).

We had here reasons given why the cable had to be flat. What is missing are the reasons why it is now considered possible to make round cables by the companies doing them. It is very likely to me that there are such reasons (maybe those reasons are overrated by those companies, i dunno, but this is another issue). The arguements given here were too basic for those companies being not aware of them...

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I know this is an OLD thread, but I just had to reply.

I understand what you are saying with flat cables having a "separation" between individual wires, preventing crosstalk, interference, etc. I also understand how rounded cables could be a problem, as the individual wires are bunched close together.

Still, when you have a flat EIDE cable in your system, people tend to bunch them up, fold them, stick them close to other cables like power cables, and so forth. Unless the flat cable is perfectly straight and doesn't come into contact with other wires (hard to do I know), wouldn't a flat cable have the same "problems" as a rounded cable does?

Just a thought.

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Thats a good point. Does anyone have a step by step process of how they make rounded cables? I need to know what exactly the differences are , and why one might be better than the other?.

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I once purchased a couple of those rounded IDE cables.

I didn't like them a bit.

They were difficult to plug, difficult to unplug, too thick, with reduced flexibility.

The little color wires are attached to the connectors individually, and thus are very vulnerable when you unplug the cable.

Maybe these are just a bad implementation, I don't know if there are better cables of this kind...

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Frankly I dont see any problems with rounded cables, and I have used the very earliest ones, and the latest and greatest ones(silver, and colored). I know all you electrical engineers out there talk allot about inducing crosstalk and line noise, but tell me the truth, could you ever specifically pinpoint a problem with 100% accuracy to the rounded ide cable(not counting if you didnt have the connector plugged in all the way :P)?

I know that many times as a computer technician , I have thought a problem was because one specific thing, only to find out later that it probobly had nothing to do with that one specific thing! Ive had more problems with regular flat cables, than I have ever had with rounded cables. And that is very rare that I have a problem with any ide cable for that matter. I would say one in 10,000 or more.

So that being said, wouldnt you all agree that rounded cables are as reliable as flat cables for the most part? I'd like to see some pole statistics. How many of you out there have actually had a bad round cable(and your 100% sure it was the cable, no if's and's or but's). And the same goes for flat cables, how many of you out there have had a bad flat cable? Im sure the numbers will be about equal ;)

Garrett

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I've had only one bad IDE cable ever. It was round. I could tell that it was faulty because I intemittently lost whichever drive I used it on, so I gave it to a friend.

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So that being said, wouldnt you all agree that rounded cables are as reliable as flat cables for the most part?

What I would say is that if you are hand-building a computer and if you are cognizant of the factors relevant to radiated EMI and you pay attention to your cable routing, then you can probably use rounded cables with impunity.

On the other hand, if you're trying to mass produce computers with unskilled labor at the cheapest cost then you cannot afford to pay for the occasional intermittent and hard to reproduce problems that will crop up in a small percentage of your products.

I'd go SATA.

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Yes, they do affect data integrity.

However, most of the time you shouldn't see any negative effects.

It would be very unusual for the industry to invest and produce a product *knowing* it is very likely to fail.
Not really... look at the automotive aftermarket. :lol: "Fail" in this case does not necessarily mean complete failure either. The ATA spec is robust enough out to 24" or so and, at least in practice, can handle the cheap rounded cables made well enough for most.

That said, I'd run SATA. No reason at all to dork with rounded PATA cables these days. :)

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"Fail" in this case does not necessarily mean complete failure either.

That's right. There is error correction technology built in to IDE, which is able to handle the marginally affected signal, usually without noticable impact. But not necessarily NO impact.

I read an article on a review site (can't remember where) that tested the theory by performing tests that stressed the cable as much as possible by sending as much data through it as they were able. Running this test on about half a dozen flat and half a dozen rounded cables (different manufacturers) they found that a few of the rounded cables were performing slower. Can't remember the figures but it was something minor like 10% for 1 or 2, and more significant like 30% for another. The rest were fine.

So my rule I follow is to only use better quality rounded cables if I use them.

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flat cables are more flexible, easy to plug, unplug. Less bulky, lighter...

Also, they are very sturdy at the connector points, because all the wires are stuck to each other, and you can pull the whole thing safely.

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