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Startech 24" Round IDE EL Cables StarTech.com 24" Round IDE EL Cables: Flat or round? Aesthetics are your call, but we're more concerned about reliability in data transfers.
Date: February 23, 2004
Provided By:
Written By:

Form and function seem to never come together on today's computer equipment. Either it performs awesome but looks like it got hit by the ugly stick one too many times. Or it looks absolutely amazing, but performs horribly. With today's computer modifying market as it is where the average Joe has a window on there tower the insides need to look just as good as the outside. Cable sleeving, cable management, lighting, and cable choices are all important. Round cables are one of the more important when it comes to function. Being round allows for better air flow in the case and better air flow means better cooling. Form wise, they usually look pretty good as well. The only problem is they all seem to look the same. You can change the color all you want; they are still going to just be round cables. This is where StarTech.com aims to please. Fairly new to the modding market, has started their product lines with some cables and lighting accessories under the .

The StarTech.com 24" Round IDE Cable with EL Wire is what is on the review bench today. StarTech.com handles the form section quite nicely utilizing the standard round cable design. The function part is handled by the EL Wire. Lighting the cable all the way around makes them quite attractive. Let's take a closer look.

Packaging/Product
The packaging on the cables is simple but attractive. The clear front displays the cables nicely. The rear is a piece of thick paper with some basic details on the cables. These cables are capable of running at Ultra 133 speeds and are backed by a 1 year warranty (how often do you see that).

The cables themselves seem to fairly high quality. The actual round shealthing is quite well done, all the ends seem to meet properly. The EL wire is wrapped all around the cable showing it off quite nicely when it is plugged in. The cable itself looks like a regular flat cable, just cut into individual wires and covered by a layer of plastic tubing. Sadly no fancy metal insulation is inbetween the cable and plastic tubing, performance wise there is no difference, just estically it looks better in my opinion.

Performance/Benchmarking
Two tests were performed to judge the performance of these cables compared to a standard 80 conductor cable. The first test was using Norton Ghost 2003 doing a direct copy of one Seagate Barracuda 120GB hard drive to another. The hard drive had 55786MB of data on it. Tested first was the regular 80 conductor cable, immediately followed by the Round Cable. Shown below is a chart of the test results.

Item Time (Minutes)
Flat 80 Conductor Cable 39:51
StarTech.com 24" Round IDE 40:01

As you can see performance on the StarTech.com cable is right on par with the flat cable. The difference between the two cables was 10 seconds. The StarTech.com cable was slightly slower in this test, but is not noticeable, and was more than likely caused by the system, not the cable itself. Data transfer rates were exactly the same speed wise.

The second test performed was done using HD Tach 2.61. Once again tested first was the flat cable, then the StarTech.com Round cable. Shown below are the two screen captures showing the results.


Regular Flat 80 Conductor Cable


StarTech.com 24" Round Cable

As you can see from the pictures performance once again was the same with both cables. Even though the StarTech.com cables are slightly longer, they perform exactly the same, which is what you would want.

Final Words
Personally I have mixed feeling about the cables. They look really cool and perform on par with a regular flat cable. Being round they increase airflow throughout the case, which is always a good thing. The EL wire looks really neat as well, they show off the cable just enough to know its there, but not too much that it takes away from the rest of the case.

The downsides to these cables though are their length. Although being very useful for the full tower case lovers, they 24" cable are just too long for my tastes. The pure length makes it a little too hard to mange. Another annoyance on these cables is the location for the inverter. The actual inverter is located on a fairly short length of cable off of the top IDE connector. This greatly limits your chances at hiding the inverter. I would have much preferred StarTech.com to hook up the inverter on the motherboard end of the cable which would allow you to mount the inverter on the bottom of the case, out of the way of any thing else.

Pros
Round
Lighted just enough
Perform on par with regular flat cable
Look pretty cool

Cons
Too long for my liking (18" Model available though)
Inverter mounted on top end of cable

Bottom Line
These cables work well and look good. Being 24" they should be able to reach even the top of your full tower. Good product over all.

If you have any comments, be sure to hit us up in our forums.

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