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Cables, connectors, and interfaces control the flow of information between various devices internally and externally within the personal computer.

 

 
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Internal PC Cables

In the PC world, there are a variety of cables that connect peripheral components within the actual computer tower. Every component inside the PC's case connects to the motherboard in some way typically through an interface cable. These types of cables vary depending on the nature of the component being used. This page will introduce you to the more common internal cables that facilitate the flow of information between components inside the PC.

EIDE (Enhanced Integrated Drive Electronics) Cables

This standard hard drive interface cable uses the EIDE interface and is equipped with a 40 pin connector capable of connecting two IDE based hard drives. This type of cable houses three sets of connectors: one connector for connecting the cable to a motherboard, and an additional two connectors for connecting two IDE hard disk drives.

Typical lengths of IDE cables are 19, 24, or 36 inches.

Intended Uses:

  • CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives
  • Tape and zip drives
  • LS-120s drives.

Cable Features:

  • Connectors: 40-wire/40-pin IDC Female to Two 40-wire/40-pin IDC Females
  • Devices Supported: 2
  • Cable Type: IDE/EIDE
  • Connector Spacing: 0-8-16i
Standard 40 Pin EIDE Cable
Figure 1.1 - 40 Pin IDE Cable

SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) Cables
Standard 40 Pin EIDE Cable
Figure 1.2 - A 7 Pin SATA Cable

 

Serial Ata (SATA) cables are used to control the flow of information from SATA based hard drives to the motherboard. SATA is the lastest hard drive technology and offers a faster data transfer width. It also cuts down on the clutter of cabling inside the PC itself because they are thinner cables.

SATA cables normally have 7 pin connectors and always permit higher data transmission rates.

Intended Uses:

  • Hard disk drives utilizing SATA technology.

Cable Features:

  • Connectors: Two 7-Pin Serial ATA Females
  • Devices Supported: 1
  • Cable Type: 180 Degree 7 Conductor
  • Supports transfer rates of up to 3G depending on the peripherals used

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) Cables

The Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) interface is a rather old and possible obsolete technology but many systems may still have a SCSI connectors on them, in particular server based computers running multiple tape back up drives.

SCSI cables have 68 pin connectors and can accommodate up to 15 devices on the same cable. These devices can be a combination of CD-ROM and Hard Disk drives.

Standard 40 Pin EIDE Cable
Figure 1.3 - A 68 Pin SCSI Cable
The SCSI technology was best suited for devices that required a faster method of transmitting data. The main drawback to the SCSI interface is that it's an expensive technology. Most motherboard manufacturer's don't include any type of SCSI interface on a motherboard's design directly which forces the end user to purchase a separate SCSI based host controller card that can control the functioning of all SCSI devices.

Intended Uses:

  • Hard disk drives (more evident in server based computer systems or very high end workstations including ones that are setup for CAD (Computer Aided Design) applications.
  • CD-ROM drives.
  • Also works well with removable storage devices including tape and zip drives.

Cable Features:

  • Connectors: 68-pin Male to three 68-pin Males; one for the SCSI controller card, and three for SCSI devices
  • Devices Supported: 3
  • Cable Type: SCSI-3
  • Connector Spacing: 0-20-28-36in
  • Supports transfer speeds up to 40 Bytes/sec

Floppy Drive Cables

This older generation floppy drive cable supports up to four floppy drives.
Standard 40 Pin EIDE Cable
Figure 1.3 - Floppy Drive Ribbon Cable

Intended Uses:

  • 3.5" Floppy diskette drive.
  • 5.25" Floppy diskette drive.

Cable Features:

  • Connectors:
  • Devices Supported: 2
  • Cable Type:
  • Connector Spacing:

DB25M/M PARALLEL COMPATIBLE CABLE

Before the advent of printers with USB connections, the dominant standard was IEEE 1284, aka the "parallel printer interface". This parallel printer cable features a DB25 male connector on each end. Each pin provides a straight through connection to the same pin number on the other end. The connector heads are molded onto the cable and each end has thumbscrews for securing the connectors to the DB25 ports.
Standard 40 Pin EIDE Cable
Figure 1.3 - DB25 Male to Male Printer Cable


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