3 Port IDE Cables?

By Eleventeen
Aug 19, 2005
  1. I have 2 IDE Hard drives and an IDE DVD-RW. The hard drive and DVD-RW is hooked up on the same cable. My other hard drive.. well.. i cant use it since there is only one IDE port on my motherboard. Of course buying an IDE Controller would work, but i dont really want to put any more money in on this thing. Which brings me to my question, why dont they make a 3 Port (or more) IDE Cable? If the motherboard can support 2 devices running on one cable.. Surely it can support 3.. right? I dont know. Just curious.
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    No, IDE cannot support three devices on one channel. You will have to get yourself another IDE controller or an external drive enclosure.

    Or maybe a better motherboard.. Single channel IDE is something one would expect to find in hardware from the early 90s..
  3. Eleventeen

    Eleventeen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 55

    True, Intel boards suck. Thanks anyways :)
  4. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Because it can not support 3 devices on one channel...

    So your only options are to either exchange the two harddrives for one, or get an IDE controller...
  5. Eleventeen

    Eleventeen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 55

    Well really, my motherboard has 4 SATA ports.. I just dont have any sata devices. :unch: . Kinda low budget.. oh well :approve:
  6. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

  7. DarkShadow

    DarkShadow TS Rookie

    ??? you can support 3 drives on one IDE slot


    you can buy IDE cables with 3 ports, but for some reason not too many computer shops keep them instock. but you can get them.
    yes a IDE controller will work but as you said why throw money into it if there is an ezyer solution.

    depending on your mainboard settings you might not be able to run 2 HDD's and a CD-rom ( i know my computer doesnt like it). but if you upgrade your bios you will be able too i do it just fine ( for some reason useing three drivers you can have 2 burners on it for some reason dont know why)

    you can also buy Paralle ATA(IDE) to SATA converters they are all over the net lately i would suggest to try as a first point of call to give you an idea of the price range

    hope this helped
  8. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    This was a blast from the past.

    I'm just curious where you can find these 3 connector cables, and how they connect to an IDE channel, which doens't support more than 2 drives.
    If you take a look here or here you'll find that the limitation is in the controller.
    According to Wikipedia, of which I am a bit doubtful in this case, it is possible to run three devices pr channel, but the third will be read only...

    So if you could post a link or two which helps backing up the three devices pr channel, I'd appreciate it.

    :wave: Hello & Welcome to TechSpot :wave:
  9. Eleventeen

    Eleventeen TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 55

    That reminds me, I was snooping around and looking inside my parents computer at their business a few months back and I found a cable with like 7 IDE ports on it. I don't even know what it was used for, it just looked interesting. But yeah, I'm still interested in the topic of having 3 drives hooked up to one channel. Although I did upgrade my motherboard, It would be nice to know just incase.
  10. fbieler47

    fbieler47 TS Rookie Posts: 24


  11. DarkShadow

    DarkShadow TS Rookie


    the 7 port IDE Cable must have been a very old one. probally early 90's
    or like fbieler47 said a SCSI.

    and it all depends on your bios weather or not you can run 3 IDE drives on the one port. you should beable to download BIOS upgrades from your mainboard manuf. depending on the age.
  12. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    BIOS has nothing to do with it. The ATA standard specifies two devices per channel, period. Anything else is non-standard and would most certainly require customised hardware and drivers.
  13. DarkShadow

    DarkShadow TS Rookie

    of course the BIOS does how do you think a driver is loaded before the Os is??
    however you are right it is not a starndard feature, it is an extra patch for the BIOS, no "special hardware is needed
  14. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    A standard BIOS can load any OS just fine from a standard IDE controller, CD, floppy, network, SCSI, Fibre Channel, USB, a Three Stooges add-in card, or even the modified weird ATA controller itself - the functionality is either builtin to the standard BIOS or comes from an additional boot ROM (a standard ability of PCs).

    Yes, you do need special hardware, because the two ATA devices and addressing them is hardwired into all ATA devices (look at the ATA standard if you can't get your mind around this). If you want to use three devices, then you need to come up with some clever scheme and make sure your controller (and possibly all the devices) know about it.
  15. fbieler47

    fbieler47 TS Rookie Posts: 24

    so it seems that to run the third drive your cheapest out is a SATA to IDE plug. And make sure SATA is turned on in the BIOS, sometimes it is off.
    I personally would get a Three Stooges add in card, as Nodsu has suggested.
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