Five medium size NbTi cable-in-conduit conductors with parametric variations in the cable layout were fabricated of three different strands to investigate their DC performance, AC loss behaviour and transient stability by means of the SULTAN facility. A comparison of measured strand data and the cable performances at the same background field indicates that the current carrying capacity of the conductors is limited by the total magnetic field on the high field side. Due to the self-field contribution the total magnetic field on the high field side is considerably larger than the background field at high currents. The take-off electric fields were found to decrease with increasing quench currents, resulting in sudden take-offs for large overall current densities. Effective self-field factors are used to describe the DC performance in the current range, where the critical current and the current sharing temperature are accessible. The quench behaviour of the conductors is discussed in the framework of a model based on peak-field-induced quenches. Differences in the DC performance of the conductors are related to the variation in the transverse resistance determining the ability of the conductors to redistribute the current in the case of a current imbalance originated at the joints. This aspect was studied in more detail by modifying one of the joints allowing a defined number of subcables to be disconnected. The voltage-current characteristics of strands and cable-in-conduit conductors are compared. The reasons for cable n values deviating from the strand n values are discussed. Moreover, the effect of different transverse resistances on the AC loss behaviour and the transient field stability was investigated. Ni coating of the strands was found to be sufficient to eliminate the interstrand coupling current loss. Thus, additional subcable wraps provided no significant further loss reduction. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.