In the framework of the conductor optimisation task (CONDOPT) five NbTi subsize cable-in-conduit conductors with parametric variations were fabricated. The DC performance of these conductors tested in the SULTAN test facility [IEEE Trans. Appl. Supercond. 12 (2002) 520] and the strand properties including the voltage-current characteristic, are compared. The results clearly indicate that the current carrying capacity of the conductors is considerably reduced due to the self-field. In conductors with a hindered interstrand current sharing, the critical current has been found to be even below the predicted value at the peak field, suggesting an uneven current distribution among the strands. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.