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I just purchased an 18", 3 connector, ATA cable, 40-pin, 80-wire. Near the end of the cable that attaches to the MB (the blue connector), a portion of the 66th (or 14th?) wire is cut/missing. I can't find this on other cables I have. Is this a special purpose cable? Any help with this question would be appreciated. Thanks.
This cut wire can be seen on some 80-wire cables and is normal. To identify a UDMA66 and higher specification cable (ie 80-wire), pin 34 is grounded at the motherboard end, and the wire only connects between the drives. Sometimes you can see where the wire is nipped out, sometimes it's hidden within the connector at the motherboard end.