Antec Cobra IDE and Floppy Cables review

Antec recently launched their own line of rounded cables, the Antec Cobra Cables. Why did they call it Cobra? Well, I guess that they named it Cobra because these cables are very flexible, and their black nylon mesh with red stripes really makes them look a bit like a snake. Why would you need rounded cables you ask? First, it looks a lot better than the ugly bulky flat IDE cables, and second, it improves the airflow in your case!
Antec's Cobra Cables are designed to address two major performance-robbing issues which are often ignored: signal integrity, and heat.

The IDE cable The floppy cable
The cables came in this nice good looking boxes, even the box has a red snake pattern. Damn will we be putting snakes in our case?
The IDE cable backside of the box The floppy cable backside of the box

Features of the IDE cable:
* Wrapped with nylon mesh for maximum air flow improvement
* 40-pin 80-conductor cable, ATA133/100/66/33 compliant for high-speed data transfer (A26 IDE cable)
* Highly flexible 26" round cable (16" + 10") with two device connections, one motherboard connector.
* Shielded with aluminum foil and braided silver mesh with ground, for maximum shielding
Features of the Floppy cable
* Wrapped with nylon mesh for maximum air flow improvement
* Highly flexible 16" round cable with one device connector, one motherboard connector

The IDE Cable

The Floppy Cable

The IDE cable The floppy cable
On the left, you have the rounded IDE cable and on the right the rounded Floppy cable. I found it a little bit disappointing that the Floppy cable doesn't have a braided silver mesh shielding, not because my floppy drive would ever need that but because now the cables don't really fit for the full 100% with each other as you can see on the pictures. The IDE cable looks a lot kewler with the reflective silver mesh behind the nylon mesh.
The IDE cable The floppy cable Both the cables
The IDE cable is a lot longer than the Floppy cable, the floppy cable is 16" (40,6cm) and the IDE cable is 26" (66cm)! These are a lot longer than most standard flat IDE cables.

The IDE cable The IDE cable The ground shielding
These are some pictures of the IDE cable. On the second picture, you can see his red connector and the black protective boot cover. On the third, you have the grounding strap. The IDE cable has 2 device connectors and one motherboard connector. It's 26" (66cm) long, the first part is 10" (25,4cm) and the second part 16" (40,6cm). It has a dual shielding ; an aluminum foil and a braided metallic mesh + ground wire for superior signal clarity like Antec claims. Also, the data wires are twisted-paired to eliminate crosstalk.
The floppy cable
The floppy cable is a lot less spectacular, it has a black connector and a black protective boot cover. It's 16" (40,6cm) long and it has a nylon sheathing
The IDE cable The floppy cable
Here you can see the difference in looks, the IDE cable on the left looks a lot better thanks to the braided metallic mesh.

Antec claims that these cables provide better performance than standard IDE cables. I performed the "File System Benchmark" from SiSoftware Sandra to find out if it's true. The tests were done on an old test system, and I know that most recent systems HDD will give results 7x higher than these but still it's interesting to see what these cables can do for an old system. I've run the test three times, and I picked out the best results.
Self rounded vs Cobra
We'll benchmark the difference between these two cables. The one on the left are standard IDE cables, which I have rounded myself a few months ago. You can see that the Cobra Cables have a lot more style and look a lot more professional than the other ones.

With standard self rounded IDE cables

The Antec Cobra Cable

The standard cables gave me 3717KB/s, the Antec Cobra Cables gave 4074KB/s. That's a difference of almost 10%! But to be honest I couldn't really notice any difference while I was working with the PC. Temperatures didn't drop dramatically, only 0.5°C less than normal with the self rounded cables. If you change from standard flat cables to the Cobra cables then the difference will be higher of course.

Overall I was very pleased with these 'Snakey' Cobra cables from Antec. They look a lot more professional than standard ribbon IDE cables and even better than most other rounded cables. More important is that in the benchmark I performed I could see a difference of almost 10% against a standard flat IDE cable!
Prices : The IDE Cobra Cables costs $14.95 and the Floppy ones $9.95.

The Good Stuff
- Looks better than flat IDE or floppy cables
- Looks more professional than 'self rounded cables'
- Higher performance than standard cables
- The cables are longer than standard cables
- Allows better airflow than standard cables
- More flexible than standard cables
The Bad Stuff
- Floppy and IDE cables don't look 100% the same (IDE cables have a metallic mesh under the nylon sheathing)
- The protective boot covers make the cables a little bit less flexible.

DV Hardware awards the Antec Cobra Cables with a 9/10!


Added: March 30th 2003
Product reviewed: Antec Cobra IDE and Floppy Cables
Reviewer: LSDsmurf
Score: 9/10

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Loading Comments

Comment #1 posted by Anonymous on 2007-04-03 18:55:40
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Comment #2 posted by Anonymous on 2007-04-03 18:54:05
Typically, you can attach the grounding strap to a part of the chassis. Unfortunately, they are very short, so they are typically attached to the hard drive bay by screwing them into an open hole.

WARNING: Do NOT attatch to the hard drive!

The problem is that the grounding strap causes a large amount of heat. There also seems to be some electrical issues related to the grounding strap, as some shorting of hardware may occur.

Comment #3 posted by Anonymous on 2004-10-28 15:38:26
Where do you attach the grounding strap of the cobra IDE round cable??