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Silver Mesh Round Cables

Written By:
Date Posted: December 7, 2001

I'm sure many of you are already wondering, "Ugh, more round IDE cables that do f**k all..."

After my recent interior clean up article, I guess some are wondering why I'd bother "reviewing" round IDE cables. I guess before we continue, I'll go ahead and debunk common myths about round cables:

1) They aid in cooling - Truth is, not really. If you're tidy to begin with, round cables aren't going to knock another degree off your system temperatures. How much cleaner round IDE cables will make your PC interior look will depend a lot on how bad the layout is. I've seen round IDE setups look as messy, if not more so than flat cables. Now, if your case is jammed with flat cables, without any layout plan, round IDE cables can help, so long as you do some creative routing. Then again, the same can be done without buying these cables.

2) They perform better - Again, not true. I can repeat what I've said in other articles, but here's a direct link to one that explains it, . In a nutshell, most round IDE cables are sold slightly longer than the 18" specified in the ATA66 specifications. There is a possibility that there can be data corruption. I had this happen to me when using 24" cables, as well as the same corruption happening to a friend's PC. Both of us solved this problem with shorter cables, but it's just to show you that the problem exists. It won't happen to everyone, but it might.

That being said, there is a market for these round cables. Compared to grey, ribbon IDE cables, round cables just look nicer. Obviously, for someone who doesn't show their PC off much, this won't matter, but for most case modders, looks are everything. If cabling looks are important to you, nothing looks better than silver IDE cables. These just scream hi-tech, and they are by far the best built round IDE cables I've had to work with. They come in both floppy and IDE, and can be purchased at . SCSI isn't available yet.

The cables, upon closer inspection, are wrapped in a silver mesh, which are wrapped once again in a a clear coating. They are slightly thicker than regular round IDE, but not too much. There are actually two bundles, as the picture on the upper left shows. Although aesthetics probably played a role in this decision, I believe it also helps the shielding of the IDE cables, which should help prevent data issues from EMI. The ATA66/100 connection is colour coded, as it should be, and the exposed wiring is encased in a clear "boot". Again, nothing terribly functional about it, but it does look better than fully exposed wiring.

Installation is straightforward. Plug the blue ends into your motherboard, and put the other end(s) into your hard drives. One thing you will need to know is that these cables are a lot tougher to bend than standard round IDEs. Due to the silver and clear layers, the cables are quite a bit stiffer. I doubt this will cause many problems, but I thought I'd point it out.


Yeah, I'm actually going to provide numbers here for you to look at. Take them for what they're worth. The test bed consists of:

Athlon XP 1800+
512 MB Kingston DDR
2 x Maxtor 7200rpm, configured RAID-0

Windows XP Professional
SiSoft Sandra 2001
Temperature readings taken with VIA Hardware Monitor

Now, understand that the "messy" score is higher due to the fact that I purposely blocked airflow from the front fan. I didn't do anything wacky like taping the cable to the fan vent, but I simply just let the cables hang loosely.

SiSoft Sandra Hard Drive Benchmarks

Pretty much zero difference. I did the benchmark 10 times per cable. At first, the scores were lower, but as I kept hitting refresh, the scores improved. After about 5 refreshes, it bottomed out to the scores you see above. I ran the benchmark a few more times to make sure the scores were consistent.

Final Words

There are three kinds of buyers. Those who want a working PC, and don't care to do any mods or advanced tweaking. In this case, these cables, or any round cables aren't for you. There will be PC enthusiasts who will be in the market for new, or additional cables for new drives. In this scenario, these cables may be something you'd like to consider. Finally, there will be people who don't really care about spending some money to improve the appearance of their rig. These cables will definently be something you'll want to consider. They do cost a bit more than regular round IDE cables, but considering the level of workmanship, as well as not being detrimental to performance, cost isn't a huge issue.

As for data corruption, I didn't experience any of this. I made sure the cables were 18" long, and I compared them side by side with regular IDE, and they were of the same length. Performance was stable, and I didn't encounter any weird errors, which to be honest, I couldn't say for the Vantec. I'm not saying that Vantec's cables are bad, but some of my samples may have been faulty.

Whether or not silver cables are for you will depend on how much you want to spend. Personally, I think they're worth it. They're expensive, for cables, but they look nice, and are of good quality.

Highspeed PC:


Pros: Great quality, can aid in system cooling, looks great, doesn't hurt hard drive performance.

Cons: More expensive than regular IDE cables, more aesthetic than practical value.

I'd like to thank Scott at for the review sample.



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