Re: Sata cabling
- From: "Anna" <myname@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2009 10:06:02 -0400
"Gerry" <gerry@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
I have had a disk connection problem which seems to relate to failing sata
cables. The BIOS has failed intermittently to detect one or both hard
drives. The problem was more obvious with the master drive so I replaced
the cable 14 days ago and there was no further problem until this morning.
The problem this morning was the slave drive so I have replaced the cable
for that drive. It has now been working for a bit over two hour.
The problem first became apparent a month ago when I found the system
would freeze after it had been running some time. Resetting sometimes
worked and sometimes resulted in a failed boot. Eventually the system
would boot but the problem would happen again some hours later or the next
day. Sometimes there have been Event Viewer reports -mainly ID: 11
referring to the Controller. Often the problem is unreported. This is
probably because the Error is occurring before Event Viewer starts.
From a friend I got these comments.
"In my view, the SATA 'Connector' is an engineering blunder. A sort-of
sleeve slides over a notched part on the edge of the board whereupon sit
some exposed/un-insulated traces. Flat conductors encased within a plastic
bit are slid into contact with them. There is no mechanism but friction to
keep the 'connector' in place. Entirely inadequate. It is not designed for
repeated make/break insertion/removal. If subjected even to a low number
such operations (design spec is 50), it will fail. (5 000 for an eSATA
connector). If I have to repeatedly disconnect-connect a drive during
testing, I replace the cable as a matter of routine."
I am interested in knowing whether others have encountered this problem
and how common place it is?
Enquire, plan and execute
Understanding that the following comments reflect only my experience working
with a fairly large number & variety of SATA HDDs and associated components
over the past half-dozen years or so...
Along with many computer technicians I've been associated with, virtually
all of us have been dismayed with the design of SATA connectors in terms of
providing a secure connection between the SATA signal cable's connector and
the motherboard's SATA connectors and components with the SATA interface.
However, our problems have basically centered about installing, changing,
modifying PC components on a daily basis and the annoyance we frequently
encounter when the usual type of SATA connector is too-easily disconnected
from its component when it is even slightly jostled. It just doesn't seem
the connection is as secure as it should be.
(We also haven't been thrilled with the design orientation of the SATA
connector in terms of instantly recognizing which way it should be plugged
into a connector/port. Would have preferred a design similar to a Molex plug
or some such.)
Because of this we prefer to use SATA cables having a locking latch or clip
as an integral part of the connector. By & large, it makes for a securer
connection in our experience. Also, the use of a right-angle SATA connector
helps at times. However because of the design/placement of some components'
SATA connector(s) these types of SATA cables are not always available to
Needless to say those of us who work on a daily basis with building,
maintaining, repairing PCs were delighted to see the demise of IDE data
(ribbon) cables and their ilk. Very few, if any of us would want to go back
to those types of cables.
But having said all this there really shouldn't be a problem with the
average PC user insofar as problem connections with SATA cables/devices. For
the overwhelming number of users once the connections are made that's
probably the last time they will be manipulated.
As far as your friend's comments go - we certainly agree with him/her re the
basic connection situation as I have indicated in my above comments. But
while we've connected/disconnected a SATA signal cable multiple times in
this or that system I really can't say I've experienced any problem in that
the cable/connector became defective as a result of these multiple
connects/disconnects. Of course these "multiple" times (again, in my
experience) would be not much more than in the order of a dozen or so
instances in most cases. Again, for the average PC user I don't think this
latter situation would be a problem of any consequence.
One would assume that the average PC user would be making many more
connects/disconnects when using an eSATA cable with some external device.
And as your friend insinuates, the eSATA connector seems to result in a more
secure connection than the SATA connector.
BTW, as you and others may know, the SATA-III data interface is under
development and there has been some talk about redesigning the SATA
connector to achieve a more secure connection. But since the SATA-III data
interface will most likely have to be backwards compatible with present SATA
connectors it's hard to see how they will manage that.
In terms of defective SATA signal cables we have experienced very few
problems in that area other than when the cable's connector (or cable
itself) has obviously been physically damaged or the cable is DOA. Certainly
the amount of defective SATA cables I've come across is far, far less than
the IDE ribbon cable types.
Obviously I don't know (or can even guess) whether a defective SATA cable or
SATA connector caused the problem(s) you've experienced. In my own
experience when I encountered a problem with a defective SATA
cable/connector (rare as it might be), the problem immediately surfaced - it
did not result in an intermittent problem. But I guess it's entirely
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