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IDE cables

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18" is the max before signal degredation begins to take place, unless you buy an extremely high quality cable that includes extra shielding and top-grade wiring.
 
I had to use 24" cables in a very tall full tower setup, and to date haven't had any problems at all. Perhaps I am just lucky, so if you need to go longer, follow Jon's suggestion about high-quality cables.
 
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