Max cable length for IDE?

Does anyone know of a maximum cable length for IDE cables? In my Plextor CD-R manual and my Compaq manual concerning my DVD player, they both state that the max cable length should be no more than 18 inches. I believe I also read that about hard drives somewhere. If this is so, then why do they sell IDE cables much longer than that, and is this true for both 40/80 wire 40 pin cables? What could be the negative effects of using a longer cable? Slower transfer rates, data corruption, both, or other? Any answers would be greatly appreciated.

An insecure moment becomes a life long torment.
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  1. I've seen the same thing.

    For ATA33, I think it's 24 inches. 66 and 100 drop the length down to 18 inches.
  2. Maximum 'official'length for IDE 40 or 80 conductor cables is 18".

    Quote from PCGuide:

    "The main issue is the length of the cable. The longer the cable, the more the chance of data corruption due to interference on the cable and uneven signal propagation, and therefore, it is often recommended that the cable be kept as short as possible. According to the ATA standards, the official maximum length is 18 inches, but if you suspect problems with your hard disk you may find that a shorter cable will eliminate them. Sometimes moving where the disks are physically installed in the system case will let you use a shorter cable.

    Warning: There are companies that sell 24" and even 36" IDE cables. They are not recommended because they can lead to data corruption and other problems. Many people use these with success, but many people do a lot of things they shouldn't and get away with it."

    There you have it.


    hell out
  3. Thanks for the great info helldiverCDN. That just about covers all my questions on IDE cables (for now anyway). If only I could get Compaq tech support to answer my questions as well as you did. Thanks again.

    An insecure moment becomes a life long torment.
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