Can you solve the "slim" IDE mystery?

With the multitude of device connectors out there, it's easy to get mixed up. Help this member determine what type of connection he has and how he can make it work in his desktop PC for a chance to win a TechRepublic prize and 1,000 TechPoints.

TechRepublic member SGeorgiades recounted his troubles with an IDE CD-ROM drive in a recent post to our Technical Q&A. If you're a hardware guru with both laptop and desktop experience, you may be able to help SGeorgiades. Come up with the answer that helps this member and win 1,000 TechPoints and a TechRepublic logo item.

Not exactly what was expected
SGeorgiades recently purchased a Matsushita SR-8185-C DVD-ROM drive that was advertised as having an IDE/ATAPI interface (see Figure A). When he received it, however, he discovered that the connector was not the standard 40-pin IDE connector he expected. Instead, it was a densely packed 50-pin connector that is only about 7/8-inch wide. The drive also seems to be missing a separate power connector. SGeorgiades presumes that power is supplied through the single 50-pin connector.

Figure A
This is Matsushita model SR-8185-B drive, which is similar to the SR-8185-C DVD-ROM that SGeorgiades is attempting to install. For more information on this drive, visit Matsushita's Web site.

SGeorgiades has been told that this is a "slim" IDE connector, but he has not been able to find additional information. SGeorgiades wants to use this DVD-ROM in his desktop but doesn't know how to proceed.

Members offer assistance
Several TechRepublic members stepped up to the plate and offered possible solutions. Pmwright and RAMAC said that the connection is a high-density SCSI or SCSI-2 connector. Unfortunately, neither of these connections would also supply power, and both are longer than the 7/8-inch connector that SGeorgiades described.

Member Ladytech offered what I believe to be the most promising solution when she wrote that the "slim" IDE interface is used primarily in laptops. The compact 50-pin cable supplies both power and data transmission. Many 2.5-inch laptop hard drives use a similar connection type, and kits are available for installing them in desktops. Although not having seen one personally, Ladytech believes similar kits are available for the laptop DVD-ROM drives.

More research needed
After a little research, I think Ladytech is on the right track. I have not, however, been able to find a 50-pin "slim" IDE to standard 40-pin IDE conversion kit. I have found several 2.5-inch laptop to 3.5-inch desktop hard drive conversion kits, as shown in Figure B, but nothing for a DVD-ROM drive.

Figure B
Shown is a hard drive converter attached to a 2.5-inch laptop hard drive. For more information on this conversion kit see

The kit shown above converts from a 44-pin IDE connector with no separate power cord to a 40-pin connector with a separate power cable. I assume this kit would not work with SGeorgiades' 50-pin connector. So we still need your help. Can you provide a link to information describing the "slim" IDE interface? Do you know where to purchase a conversion kit SGeorgiades can use? Click here to offer assistance.

Correct answers will win an additional prize
If you can answer SGeorgiades' question, you will not only be rewarded with the knowledge that you helped a peer, you will also receive a TechRepublic logo item. A winner will be chosen in a random drawing if more than one person correctly answers the question. If you have a question that you can't find an answer to, post it in TechRepublic’s Technical Q&A section. Other TechRepublic members will try to answer your question in return for TechPoints.


About Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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