Are 36 inch ide cables reliable?

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thanks for those links ...... :) ...... !

Will "sampling" a few files of different sizes, copying them from a data partition on IDE0 to a backup partition on IDE1 suffice as a test of the round 24" cables?


I use this SFV/MD5 a lot especially when backing up files to other HDDs, as well as external USB drives. This way I will know files transfered across are OK. :D

Try from files from few KBs to several GBs. Also whole folders. ;)

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Ok, I took lexwalkers advice and tested my 36" round IDE cable with the hkSFV SFV/MD5 checker. Very happy with hkSFV by the way - thanks lexwalker.

I tested like this:

I have two Seagate Barracuda 7200prm drives: an 80G drive and an 120G drive.

I'll call the 80G drive, "A", and the 120G drive, "B".

The 36" round IDE cable in question is made by Link Depot and cost a rousing $7.

First I attached drive A with a normal flat 80-wire cable to the 1° channel - as master, and attached drive B with the 36" round IDE cable to the 2° IDE channel, also as master.

Then I copied a directory of 2022 files / 615MB on drive B to drive A, which means that the data went first down the 36" cable, and then back up the flat cable. I did this ten times. Each time I used hkSFV to make an MD5 checksum file and used it to verify that the files had been copied correctly. Each and every time there were perfect copies - no bad files at all.

I did the same thing with a group of larger files - a group of ten files / 723MB total. I did this also ten times with perfect scores.

Second I attached both drives to the 36" cable, drive A as master and drive B as slave, both on the 1° channel.

I made both tests again, ten times each, for a total of twenty tests, and again I got perfect scores.

I'm not a testing engineer, but I think I'm going to call it good.

That's 2(615MB X 10) + 2(723MB X 10) = 26.76G, or 214,080,000,000 bits that went over that 36" cable without a hitch.

Oh, one more thing. I hooked up the cable backwards. Sorry, should have said that first. Yeah, why? This ought to get the fur flying. . . Because I was down at the local screwdriver shop here in San Francisco, checking out the tallish tower cases, and I asked one of the tech guys how I was going to be able to connect a drive on the bottom to an optical drive at the top with the same cable. There just isn't enough distance between the master and slave connectors. He kept trying to tell me something about attaching the master connecter to the board, and so on, and I'm going "no, but, - but, - but". And then I started thinking about it, and decided to give it a try. What I should have said above is that I was using the master connector on the cable as the mobo connector, and the mobo connector as the master, and finally, the slave connector as slave - the cable just turned around.

It worked !

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Ideally those extra long cables should be retested each time they are rerouted within the case or items with different RF frequency generation changed. Shielding them from RF may help too; not as useful with rounded cables since there the issue is crosstalk. And connecting the blue connector to the drive may make the IDE controller drop to Ultra-33 if it no longer detects an 80-pin cable; pin 34 is grounded in the blue connector itself for this purpose:

I recall fondly making 2" long IDE cables so my IDE drives would work above 44MHz. Good discussion of signalling issues in PATA here:

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I've used 3 feet rounded 80wire cables for several years (with two disks per cable). I've only had problems with one of them (of five in total). The faulty cable was from another manufacturer than the others, but unfortunately I don't know which brands they are.

My advice is to go for the 3feet cables, but wait for a month or so before you rely on them (until then, keep a copy of the data on another disk attached to a cable within the specs). Do regular checks to see how it's working.

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Assuming the host controller in your system is working as it should, reversing the cable will function but you will be limiting the speed of any device on that cable to UDMA mode 2 (33MB/s) you can run at this low speed over very long cables. With your setup try running a benchmark which will report burst rate. I expect your measured burst rate will be in the high 20s.


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