I once bought an Acer Extensa very cheap but sold it off almost immediately to buy an Aspire. One reason is because of the Aspire's SPDIF-out capability.
The onboard SPDIF is mini-TOSLINK however, instead of the 3.5mm electrical that I'm used to seeing on Creative sound cards, it's not obvious because everybody uses 3.5mm jack and nobody says if they're using optical or electrical. So the Belden 1505F I paid $20 for can't be used.
I need an optical cable. A mini-TOSLINK to TOSLINK one. Fast.
So I got this for $60:
Instead of a normal TOSLINK cable with a mini-TOSLINK to TOSLINK adapter, I settled for a cable that can do the conversion itself. Not as if I'll have anything else that uses optical, unless somebody sells his M-Audio Transit (like how one guy did for $60 more than a year ago).
Who am I kidding, I paid $3.99USD for this cable on DealExtreme.
But even if I paid $60 for the cable, I won't be able to tell if the cable is no different from a $6 one (after conversion). And it will sound as good as a $60 dollar cable. It's the mentality that counts.
While I'm unsure of the works of optical cable (as in the industry) I do know that the standard Belden and Canare choices perform better than some $60 cables from "renowned" brands. The same can be happening here for optical cables.
Anyway, my system - Realtek onboard -> Zhaolu D2.5A -> Allesandro MS-1, doesn't deserve a cable more than $10. Performance matching is key in audio. (Though saying that, the modded Zhaolu is grossly out of the league of the other two components.)
Back on topic, lesson of today is that if you cannot tell the difference between a $300 product and a $30 product, then the $30 product is worth $300. Note that you must be unable to tell them apart after a comparison, if after comparison you can tell the difference, then the difference of $300 vs $30 exists. I'd say the odds of happening are 50-50.
If you do not have the chance to compare, then as long as you think your $30 product is worth $300, you're still good. Be it due to hype, or you paid $300 for that thing.