Can a third IDE Hard Drive be on the CD-ROM Ribbon Cable

Posted on 2006-03-26
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Please respond to all three questions below.

(1) Windows 2000 Pro. There are two IDE (ATA) HDs on the HD ribbon cable. Can the CD/DVD ribbon cable have a CD-RW and a third IDE HD on it AND all three HDs show up in My Computer and are accessible,as well as the CD-RW?

i.e Can one have more than two internal HDs in a PC; this is really the same question I believe because the HD ribbon cable only has two connectors so the above question is essentially the same question as the one in this sentence.

In answering assume there are enough physical bays (including spare optical bays with railing/converters) for the three HDs and the one CD-RW.

(2) If there is no "HD" ribbon cable and "CD/DVD" ribbon cable (i.e they are both just IDE ribbon cables and one can put whatever one wants on them) THAT PIECE OF INFORMATION WOULD BE MOST INFORMATIVE. Please answer this with a yes or no. But even if that were so, it would NOT answer the query in the first sentence of this Question. Because it is still possible that having a CD-RW and a HD on the same ribbon cable will not work.

(3) If your answer is YES to (1) above, please state whether you personally have actually done this and seen that it works OR your information is 2nd hand OR provide a link to a credible source saying this can be done.


Question by:mgross333

    Author Comment

    In my Question above, I neglected to mention the SP level is SP4 of Windows 2000 Pro in case that is relevant.

    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    1. Yes, you can have more than 2 internal HDD's.
    2. Yes, the cable is the same for HD and CD/DVD, and yes it is possible to have HD and CD/DVD on the same cable.
    3. Yes, I have done it (years ago), but don't anymore - I have RAID connectors instead on the new machine.
    LVL 39

    Expert Comment


    Item 2: if you plug hdd in same cable with CD/DVD drive, it would slow down hdd transfer rate since most CD/DVD transfer rate is 33 or 66. The hdd is now slowest speed of 100 (ATA 100 as you usual see on ads). Also, makse you you set jumpers slave / master correctly for HDD and CD/DVD. There is no reason it will not work unless the hdd or cd/dvd has error.

    Item 3: you can read more information from this link below:
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    1) Yes.
    2) Yes.
    3) No, but I have placed HDs on each ribbon cable in a PC (this was some time ago, when CDROMs were not a required item on PCs.)

    Author Comment

    To Punky (and others who can answer this question),,

    I am concerned about the speed limitation with HDD and CD on same IDE cable as that will be the case. This may not be acceptable to my customer.

    Here is the key question: If the CD drive is not being used and the HD is being used, will there be any speed limitation on the HD? As that is how this PC is used 99% of the time and a speed limitation is OK in the rare cases when the CD is in use. Or does the CD-RW simply being connected on the same ribbon cable and being powered on limit the speed of the HD even if the CD-RW is not actually being used.

    Also regarding
    >The hdd is now slowest speed of 100...

    Did you in fact mean "The hdd is now FASTEST speed of 100..."? The way you have stated it, makes no sense as 100 is bigger than 33 and 66.

    Regarding the link
    what do I look for at that link; there are many articles there. Please specify the date and title (or article number) you want me to look at.


    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    1) Can the CD/DVD ribbon cable have a CD-RW and a third IDE HD on it AND all three HDs show up in My Computer and are accessible,as well as the CD-RW?

    ==>  Yes.   Be sure you use an 80-wire cable on the second IDE channel (many such channels only have a 40-wire cable installed, since most optical drives only support UDMA-2 speed).   You can absolutely have more than two internal HDs in a PC.   The PC I'm typing this on has 4 (2 SATA; 2 IDE on a single channel); and I have another PC with 7 drives.

    (2)  ==>  There's no "hard drive IDE cable" and "optical drive IDE cable".   There are, however, 40-wire and 80-wire cables (both have 40 pins).   The 40-wire cable cannot transfer at speeds greater than UDMA-2 (33mb);  the 80-wire cable will transfer up to UDMA-6 (133mb).   You should be sure you use an 80-wire cable on the secondary channel.

    (3) If your answer is YES to (1) above, please state whether you personally have actually done this and seen that it works OR your information is 2nd hand OR provide a link to a credible source saying this can be done.

    ==>  I've done this MANY times with many computers.   None of my computers have fewer than 2 hard disk drives, and several have more.   There is a performance consideration if you mix hard drives and optical drives on the same channel -- the hard drive will be limited to the UDMA-2 transfer speed of the optical drive.    This is NOT as bad as it sounds.   Remember that the only time a hard drive every achieves the interface transfer speed is when its doing a burst to/from its buffer.  No modern hard drive has a sustained transfer rate as fast as its interface speed.   So although it will be slower, it's not slower by anywhere near the factor it would seem.   Nevertheless, the best approach here is to add a PCI IDE controller for your 3rd (4th/5th/etc.) hard drive -- that way there is NO speed restriction.

    If you do add a controller, be sure it supports 48-bit LBA transfers (many do not).   This is an excellent one:

    LVL 39

    Expert Comment

    If you concern speed limitation, the suggestion from GARYCASE is best option.

    No, I did not mean the ATA 100 is fastest of IDE hard drive type, 133 and more than that. The way I stated also Garycase mentioned in (3).
    LVL 44

    Assisted Solution

    4 IDE devices means 4 IDE devices, that is what primary and secondary controller support.

    Always folliow these rules -

    1. never put CD with primary boot drive, slows down main boot drive too much.
    2.  if CD is DVD burner, put it MASTER on secondary controller, keep least important backup IDE drive as slave on secondary.
    3.  Keep tow main HDDS on primary controller, boot drive is master, other is slave.
    4.  If CD is CD, not DVD, put it slave on secondary, put least important HDD as master on secondary.
    5.  If you have 3 important HDDs, buy a tirtiary controller card for CD and put dual CD/DVD drives on it. Now you have room for 4 hard disks on primary/secondary controller.  CD./DVD work fine on tertiary controlller card.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    If you do'n want to slow down the ocmputer from your customer, why not add SATA-capability and ditto disks. (high speed & performance) so you will end up with only the DVD on one IDE-channel, and high performance.
    what data-througput speed and data is needed by your customer?
    If you don't want to move the disks to SATA, you can still move the DVD external via USB2.0 or Firewire.
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    From what I have seen sharing the same bus between a harddrive and CD/DVD results in more errors when reading/writing.
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    ... that won't be true with a properly functioning IDE channel.   What USED to be true (before the advent of "burn-proof" drives that can manage good burns even in buffer underrun situations) was that if the burner was on the same channel as the hard drive that contained the data to be burned, the slower transfer speeds that resulted from sharing the channel could result in buffer underruns at high burning speeds -- thus resulting in "coasters"  (trashed CDs).


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