IDE cables: Round vs Flat?

Hello, Im looking to buy some IDE cables for my computers. The one which came with my drive is not long enough. Before I go ahead with this, I would like to know the pros and cons of round and flat ribbon cables. For my newer system…which would be better since I need to keep the inside as cool as possible. It has 2 fans and is a power hog. I heard round cables are better for this. Please post any feedback. Thanks.

My experience with round cable is positive. I use Cooler Master cables (high quality in my opinion).

Some suggest do not use 24 inch cables (for hardware reasons, don’t remember the exact site where I’ve read that) but only 18 inch cables. Sorry: haven’t try any 24 inch cable so I can’t refer experiences about it.

Regarding better air flow, my comp is such a mess :stuck_out_tongue: that there is no difference with a flat cable, but assembly was certainly easier.

A round cable will give you better air flow and keep your box a little cooler. You should have an 40 conductor 80pin cable not a 40pin 40 conductor cable it will give you better performance.

i believe the right way to say it is “80 wires ide cable” ,there is no ide cable with 80 pins there are with 80 wires but 80 pins? no such thing they all are 40,as for performance that aint so. 40 wires ide cable supports upto ata33/udma2 while 80 wires supports upto ata133/udma6 but puting 80 wires ide cable to an optical drive for example which is likely ata33 will not make it any faster the speed is determined mainly by the device the cable matters too but not as much

edit : ok they are 80 pins sure , only if you do a total count of the pins of both connectors if its a 3way one it may even be considered 120 but most ppl will not count it that way :doh: :slight_smile:

round vs flat: it’s the same thing, only round use less space…

Round cable are also more flexible, and make easier assembly in messed up (such mine :stuck_out_tongue: ) machines

Hi, I would like to know why its not a good idea for longer cables. Right now, I have an 18" cable…and with that I cannot open my case all the way. I would have to open my case a little way and then carefully unplug the IDE connection from the mainboard…This is only temporary and besides I never open my case. Its a pain… I just got 36" IDE flat cables with an extra connector so enough from 3 devices. And I have only 3 bays for IDE devices…2 are being used for my optical drives. I made sure to get 80-wire. I was just curious about the round cables. Flat are okay for me since thats what my system came with. After doing some research, I think round cables are better, but more expensive too. Thanks for your feedback, guys!!

try to give a look at this post

In the meantime I’ll search the more specific reference and if i found, I’ll post here

Found another reference here

Hope this can help

Original Posted by anillaice
I just got 36" IDE flat cables with an extra connector so enough from 3 devices. And I have only 3 bays for IDE devices.

This rather concerns me as you can only put 2 devices on to a single channel. I think it’s only with SCSI cables that you’d get more than 2 device connectors. I could be misunderstanding what you are meaning though.
Generally I wouldn’t bother with 40wire cables, as the 80wire ones tend to be better quality anyway. And 36inch for IDE is far too long.

Buy rounded, buy the shortest possible length needed, ive never seen 40 wire rounded cables but if they exist avoid and stick with 80, never buy cables above 18" , thats about all you need to know :wink:


I just got 36" IDE flat cables with an extra connector so enough from 3 devices.

Physically impossible, its probably a SCSI cable

I use 24" and 36" round cables with no problems. The differences are (apart from the total length) in the spread between the master and slave connects. That’s usually where you need the extra length in many cases.

Never buy cheap cables.

In the past, I’ve gotten the longer ones from and have been very pleased with them. If you need the extra length between the connects, there’s no reason not to try the longer ones.


I have found a very good online vendor with very good prices - excellent products and customer service and reasonable shipping that handle computer and audio and video cables at:


80 conductor 40 pin cable that is directly from th back of the Belkin package that my round cable came in, so if you think that is wrong it is your opinion but I think the comany that makes them should know how to describe it.

You said 80pin though which is not really true it should be 40pin

Sorry if my question is a little dumb, just a curiosity. :slight_smile:
If over 18’’ cables are not advised, how is possible to assembly computers in tower cases? Have 18’’ cable enough length to reach uppermost 5’’ bays?

You are correct, sometimes you need more, although 18" will fit most cases. But there’s no reason not to try longer cables if you want them or need them. Problems are not that common.

Thanks for your answer rdgrimes.

Right now I use a 18’’ round cable from CoolerMaster, and haven’t any problem. I was wondering about 24’’ cables because some time ago I considering about a tower case, but I abandoned the idea because of the need of so long cables.

Well, that’s one of the things that gets posted and repeated on forums, but you will find very few people who have actually had problems with well made longer cables. I’ve got 4 burners here on a set of 24" and have never seen a reason to do different.

You are right, that was a typo, but I adjusted it in my post above. Sorry.