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          Flat ribbon cables enable transfer of data (bits) between mass storage devices and motherboard. It's good to know there are 2 types of disks and thefore 2 types of flat ribbon cables:IDE and SCSI disks.

IDE disks

          IDE stands for Intelligent Drive Electronics or Integrated Drive Electronics. In order to achieve connection between mass storage devices and the processor there is need of a device (electronic circuit) called a controller which controls data transfers. With IDE that controller is integrated to the disk.

Connection of flat ribbon cables to the motherboard Therefore the flat ribbon cable is connected straight to the motherboard on one side and to one or two mass storage devices on the other side. There is no controller between the two like with SCSI.

          These flat ribbon cables have usually 40 wires. That means bits and other control informations are carried through 40 parallel channels.

SCSI disks

          It's usually pronounced "scouzi". It comes from "Small Computer Systems Interface". In this case there is an external controller between disks and motherboard but this system is much faster (and more expensive...).

SCSI controller          That SCSI controller is an extension card plugged into the motherboard. SCSI flat ribbon cables link that controller to the SCSI mass storage devices. There can be SCSI hard disks and SCSI CD-ROM drives. On the photograph one can see the connection to a SCSI controller.

          SCSI flat ribbon cables have usually 50 or 68 wires according to the model.

          One can connect up to 16 peripherals with only one flat ribbon cable and one controller whereas in the case of IDE one can only connect 2 disks per flat ribbon cable.


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Copyright 2003-2004 Jacques Lederer