SATA cable suck

Silencing hard drives, optical drives and other storage devices

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xoham
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SATA cable suck

Post by xoham » Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:16 pm

So I have some SATA 120g samsungs. Plugged them in to my AOPEN mobo and notice that the cables sure do wiggle around a lot, more on the drive than on the mobo. That cannot be good for connectivity.

Sure enough, I didnt figure it out before attempting a windows reinstall that go hosed so I had to start from scratch. it is only a matter of time before they will disconnect again and probably at a bad time since I am doing a RAID 1.

The cables simply do not hang on. Anyone have a solutions for this? I will also paste what I found out from the web. I would prefer to buy SATA drives that have a new connector as the current one is useless. I may try the bend-the-connectors method described below but these are new drives damnit!

Thanks for your wisdom once again.

This comes from http://www.lostcircuits.com forum.
======
especially if they are some of the originals that hit the market.

wuz having probs over the last 6 weeks, one drive was not getting recognized at boot. at first it was happening maybe once a week, but it just kept getting worse.

i changed out the Sata connectors but not the ribbons, still same problem, everytime it didn't boot a small wiggle on the connector/Sata Cable got her up and running with the next boot.

but, finally, tonight the connection just failed while surfing. big probs with the raid. thought it was lost.

long story short, put in a new Sata ribbon, the connection ends had more visable and higher contacts.

my my, after a few scarey moments and some disk checking, bootage was obtained and the raid array still lives. correctage of probs is wonderfully handled by the XP OS, big sigh.

the Sata ribbon i took off, although it looked exactly the same, internally it was not. inspection of the ends revealed very small and slightly recessed contacts, obviously erroding even more over time because of the poor contact.

wondering out loud if maybe newer ribbons have overcome this deficiency or if i just had a bad ribbon period.

baldy

By Yuri on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 05:37 am: Edit


There are quite a few issues with S-ATA cables as it stands. For example, a proposed erratum to the specification (one that is not in 1.0a) describes a connector that has a push-button latch to secure the connector to the device in order to prevent accidental disconnection, addressing one area of concern with current S-ATA connectors.

At T13, who are working to include the S-ATA spec into the ATA/ATAPI-7 standard, a lot of people have concerns about the quality of the connectors as it is. They say there are a lot of open issues still associated with them.

Not all S-ATA cables are of equal quality anyway, even if they adhere to the 1.0a spec completely. For example, cable size can be from 30 to 26 AWG (0.01003" to 0.01594" dia). Lower AWG means the cable is slightly thicker, but has less resistance and thus should provide a cleaner signal.

What is also not a requirement, but can help in noisy environments, is to have the cable include drain wires that are terminated to the ground pins in the S-ATA cable receptacle connectors. Another thing is that, according to the S-ATA spec, the choice of cable termination methods, such as crimping or soldering, is up to each connector vendor. One or the other is better, but I'm not sure which that would be in the case of these types of connectors. Suffice it to say though, that a properly crimped connector can be of better quality than one that was soldered with cheap, eh, solder.

One last thing that can determine signal quality is the cable length. P-ATA cables are allowed to be 18" maximally, S-ATA cables can be up to 1 metre (or 3' -- the spec isn't really clear on the exact length), but cables for S-ATA II can be of 18" maximum length again, the "Phase 1" edition anyway. That is, "Extensions to S-ATA" -- I don't know about the Phase 2 edition, it's still being developed.

My belief is simply: keep it as short as possible. If you can do with a 12" cable, why use a 3' one?

By MS on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 11:53 am: Edit


I know, I have been bitching at the SATA meetings about that problem myself, some of the connectors are so wobbly that they tend to fall off. The new proposals are with a latch or a little hook but it'll be awhile, until then, Ia m with Baldy, check your cables and, if necessary, use a rubber band to tie them to the drive. ( rarely had any problems on the board side of things)

By b on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 11:29 pm: Edit


further updateness regarding the attachments.

after a day or two of good boots, if happened again, but i DO HAVE the FIX!

the adaptor itself is to blame, i always wiggled the adaptor to get the boot, so i figured the hard drive ide pins were loose inside the Sata Adaptor.

took five minutes and bent all the pins slightly further apart on the hard drive IDE socket and reinserted the Sata Adaptor, Walla!

fixage this time for sure, not hearing the hard drive boinking in and out like it used to do, smooth as glass.

so there ya go.

finally.

baldy

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Post by halcyon » Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:41 pm

Thank you for this enlightening info.

I've had MUCH trouble with SATA connectors (I don't use PATA->SATA adapters at all).

They are too wiggly, too lose, the plastic parts break too easily and I'm not convinced about the shielding of available cables either. Maybe they are good for SATA, but I have doubts about future SATA II and higher signalling rates.

Regards,
Halcyon

PS I raised the same issue at Storage Review forums and most people just laughed at me :)

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Post by CoolGav » Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:52 am

I've had SATA related issues on the only SATA combo I've used - A Gigabyte i865PE board and a Seagate 7200.7. The first cable broke at the connector, and the second one has been a bit intermittent. I purchased another cable, mainly as a backup incase the second broke like the first. As you can imagine, I haven't gone SATA in any other PCs...
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xoham
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.

Post by xoham » Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:09 am

Radeonman wrote:The cable for my samsung drive holds on juuuust fine. Same with the connector for my mobo. Maybe you got a screwy batch of hard drives?
If you read my complete message, which I admit is long because of the quote, there is discussion about changing the standard of the cabling. I figure if the standards body knows there's a problem, then it is not just my batch of drives.


I'm seriously considering sending them both back and getting PATAs instead.

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Post by Ralf Hutter » Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:11 am

I've been very unimpressed with the SATA cables/connectors that I've used. They're too loose and too flimsy to me. Add that to the pretty stiff SATA cables themselves and you've got potential problems. Now add in the fact that the current SATA drives have basically no advantages over PATA drives and you'll see why I've been giving SATA a big pass in my own systems.
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xoham
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.

Post by xoham » Wed Mar 31, 2004 7:13 am

Radeonman wrote:The cable for my samsung drive holds on juuuust fine. Same with the connector for my mobo. Maybe you got a screwy batch of hard drives?
If you read my complete message, which I admit is long because of the quote, there is discussion about changing the standard of the cabling. I figure if the standards body knows there's a problem, then it is not just my batch of drives.

Maybe you have an especially good cable? Could you tell us the manufacturer of that cable? I bought a QVC cable at Microcenter and found that it held on much better than the one that came with my mobo, though it is still a poor connection overall.

I'm seriously considering sending them both back and getting PATAs instead.

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Post by axhind » Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:28 am

I'm using 2 Raptors for about 3-4 months now, and I must say that my connectors and cables are of a very high quality. I'm using the cables that came with my motherboard (Asus A7N8X Deluxe). The connectors are firmly seated, the cables are quite easy to bend. But I've heard of several others who also had bad experiences with SATA-cables, so my guess would be indeed that there's a huge difference in cable-quality...

Greetings from a convinced SATA-user :wink:

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Post by MikeC » Wed Mar 31, 2004 9:50 am

Add my vote against current SATA connectors: They do vary somewhat in quality, but in general, are far too sloppy. I don't trust them and don't use them in my own systems. Certainly NO advantage in speed, and with Ralf showing us how to fold ribbon cables, none in airflow or space either. :wink:
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Post by GenghiS_KhaN » Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:23 am

hm mine seems to be good; I have to say it's even hard to get it off my mobo or my HD

mobo = Abit nf7s rev2 (cable came with it)
hdd= seagate 7200.7
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xoham
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.

Post by xoham » Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:33 am

Let me clarify that the problem is not so much that the cable stays "attached" but that the female cable end wobbles over the male drive / mobo end in such a way that the pins will not always be aligned. It is "connected" but there is far too much play back and forth to keep a good connection.

When I last lost connection, the computer had not been moved from the previous successful boot. Cable jiggling, or pressing the cable to the drive made the difference between success and failure.

drives: SAMSUNG SP1213C
mobo: AOPEN AK89-MAX
cables: the AOPEN supplied cable, a low end cable from Micro Center, then later a premium QVS cable from Micro Center.

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Post by aston » Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:09 pm

No difference in speed, but IIRC, there's a difference in CPU usage. (SATA < PATA in terms of CPU usage.) That's why I use a PATA to SATA adapter on my Barracuda IV.
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Post by chylld » Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:22 pm

i'm in the same boat. cablegami and sata don't mix, i tried.

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Post by zuperdee » Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:27 pm

I dunno about you folks, but I have no problem over here with my Seagate 7200.7 80gB drive with a SATA interface. Yes, the SATA connector is a bit more wiggly than I'd like, but it's still good enough, and since only 500mV is used for SATA as opposed to 5V on PATA, I don't really care. It works for me. I also find my 7200.7 to be noticeably faster than my old UDMA-133 60GB Maxtor drive was. Maybe it's just because my SATA interface is built into my VIA 8237 southbridge, bypassing the PCI bus?

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Post by vortex222 » Wed Mar 31, 2004 4:27 pm

im not totaly impressed with sata, however i havnt had any problems with it. with the computers i build every week, i could see i would have problems supporting if i totaly swiched to sata. i have only built one computer with it, and it worked well, but it just seamed very cheesy and i could see that i would have more problems with them then pata.

pata is pretty much %100 secure, whereas sata is not.
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Post by limee » Wed Mar 31, 2004 4:40 pm

Off topic but any idea when SA SCSI is coming out?

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50/50

Post by NeilBlanchard » Wed Mar 31, 2004 4:41 pm

Helllo:
axhind wrote:I'm using 2 Raptors for about 3-4 months now, and I must say that my connectors and cables are of a very high quality. I'm using the cables that came with my motherboard (Asus A7N8X Deluxe). The connectors are firmly seated, the cables are quite easy to bend. But I've heard of several others who also had bad experiences with SATA-cables, so my guess would be indeed that there's a huge difference in cable-quality...

Greetings from a convinced SATA-user :wink:
The two SATA cables that came with the Asus A7N8X were fine -- I routed them quite out of sight, and I never worried about them and never had a problem.

OTOH, the *one* that came with the ASRock K8S8X as well as the Tripplite brand one that I bought at my local shop are both quite loose. In fact, after I neatened up the power cables (which I have been using nice Velcro straps for...) I got an error message saying that my RAID 1 array needed to be be rebuilt -- one of the drives had been wiggled loose! :evil: So, I am supporting them with another Velcro strap -- and luckily on this motherboard, hot plugging is supported! :?
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Post by Harpocrates » Thu Apr 01, 2004 9:09 am

WD had to come out with this to address the problem.

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Post by Ralf Hutter » Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:30 am

Radeonman wrote:
Harpocrates wrote:WD had to come out with this to address the problem.
If you make it, they will come.

WD fanatics are fun.
Boy, ain't that the truth. Too bad they get kind of a cool reception around here...

Check out this quote form their blurb:
WD blurb wrote:the drive to cable connection is strengthened by more than 500% compared to standard SATA cables which helps overcome connector breakage problems common to SATA cables.
It's pretty bad when you have to buy special aftermarket solutions to what's supposed to be a standard piece of hardware....
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Post by starsky » Thu Apr 01, 2004 4:15 pm

I have built 3 systems with SATA now, and I haven't had any problems with loose cables on the HDD connector.

I have used exclusively Segate 7200.7 SATA drives
and Asus p4p800 & Abit NF7-S v2.0 mobo's

My problems are STILL in getting Hot Swap on the sata on the p4p800, works liek a charm on the Abit.
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Post by halcyon » Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:13 am

Thanks for the WD connector info! I hope that (or something similar) becomes a standard feature in SATA connnectors.

The current connectors just don't cut it.

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Post by Nowhere_man » Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:46 pm

Anyone used MSI bundled SATA cables???

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ECS supplied SATA cable is *excellent*!

Post by NeilBlanchard » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:18 pm

Hello:

The SATA cable the came with the ECS 755-A2 mobo is much better than any I've seen! :o It actually *snaps* into the motherboard socket and has *far* less play than either of the other two SATA cables I have on hand (Tripplite & ASRock supplied). The Tripplite is piss-poor and "fits" very loosely...:evil:

It's a brand ECS supplied is called AMP, and I would definitely seek them out! As I mentioned above, I also thought the Asus supplied SATA cables (two of them) were also quite good, but this AMP one is even a bit tighter fitting.
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Post by loren_brothers » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:37 pm

a little "old fart" idea:

Apply 2 1" strips of the "hook" part of Velcro to both faces of the hard drive. Take 4" piece of the loop part of the Velcro, cut a 1" slit in the middle of it, slip the SATA connector through, attach the SATA connector to the HD, and snug down it using the Velcro.

Jump up and down, shake the case in rage, throw it against the wall. (we've all done that haven't we??...) If the Velcro is snugged up that connector ain't going anywhere!

For the MB part of it, drill 2 small holes through opposite ends of the plastic parts of the connectors on the cable and the MB fitting...secure with 2 plastic cotter pins. That way as you are frantically fussing around looking for your Zalman in-line fan controller during a thermal meltdown, you won't knock that end loose either!

...or you can just throw away that $100 hard drive in disgust....better yet: send it to me :wink:
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Post by Trip » Tue Apr 06, 2004 12:00 am

http://www.granitedigital.com/catalog/p ... ackets.htm

Granite Digital High Quality Cables "Coming April 7th"

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Post by burcakb » Tue Apr 06, 2004 2:10 am

My first exposure to SATA was through an addon card and its lousy sata cable.

Now I bought a DFI Lanparty board and the included SATA cables simply "click" in place and are very stable.

I think there is no reason to bash the standard because of lousy production. I've seen equally lousy PATA cables too.
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Post by zuperdee » Tue Apr 06, 2004 2:13 am

Methinks it may be time for us to hear of some good sources to buy SATA cables from. I'd sure like to know where I can get a good one!
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Post by halcyon » Tue Apr 06, 2004 8:21 am

Finally! I've been bugging Granite Digital about their SATA products for months now :)

I'll write a summary of potential or proven good cables:

+ AMP (good experience from users)

(+) Granite Digital cables (all of their previous cables are top notch, superior to anything else I've ever tried)
http://www.granitedigital.com/catalog/p ... ackets.htm

(+) Circuit Assembly w/ secondary shield (double shielded for lab applications, no idea if their connector is any better)
http://www.ca-online.com/WhatsNew/seria ... sembly.asp

BTW, Molex has also come out with "latching Serial ATA assembly". I suspect this means that the amendment to SATA spec for improved connectors is coming really soon now (or may already be ratified?)

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Post by Trip » Wed Apr 07, 2004 4:22 am

zuperdee wrote:Methinks it may be time for us to hear of some good sources to buy SATA cables from. I'd sure like to know where I can get a good one!
Look no further, it's April 7'th

Question: "SATA Dual Cable 18 in. with PCI Bracket" from the link would provide a HDD a way to transfer data but how would it get power? Wouldn't a power plug be needed there as well?

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