View Full Version : esata express card worth it on the macbook pro??
Jun 29, 2008, 09:59 PM
I'm thinking about ordering an esata express card for my mbp to use it to connect to my 1tb hdd's to use my 1tb hdd's prowess for some extracting of huge files I deal with and other things..
Anyways, currently I'm using fw800 with my 1tb hdd's its the owc elite pro btw and very fast and awesome external hdd's.. I just purchased the enclosure and put hitachi and seagate 1tb's in them..
Anyways will transferring files via esata be noticably faster than the fw800 that I'm using? Also will I see it performing faster as well via esata say like extracting 15gb files using rar or macpar.. or even say running a osx via esata to the mbp for a 2nd os for some intensive stuff needed for desktop hdds??
If you guys do recommend it which express cards are the best.. I've been looking at apiotek for $39.00 from owc.
Jun 29, 2008, 11:02 PM
Esata is WAY faster than FW800.
Jun 30, 2008, 12:41 AM
not through ExpressCard.
I dont know if its the driver support for it, but I can't get a sustained transfer rate...I can transfer a 4GB file for example in about 2 minutes..
I got my expresscard from Best Buy for 15 bucks. Even though its not ridonkulously fast, it was a steal for 15.
Jun 30, 2008, 09:10 AM
I don't think esata will be much faster unless you are using a RAID 0 enclosure. Firewire 800 theoretically goes up to 100mb/sec (800mbit/sec), and most fast hard drives have an average read speed of up to 80mb/sec. With a single drive, you might notice faster burst transfers on esata, but for large files you probably won't notice much of an increase.
For me, the big downside to esata was always having a big card sticking out of the side of the laptop. You have to take it out to put the laptop in a case, and you have to make sure you don't do anything that will damage the card or the expresscard port (like putting it on a soft surface that will put too much weight on the card). They make some expresscard memory card readers that don't stick out at all, but I couldn't find anything similar for esata.
Jun 30, 2008, 09:53 AM
All of the current mac-compatible esata cards use the same chipset, which has BIG problems for a lot of users (google for it).
I ended up having to clean my MBP down to bare metal to get the griffin driver software off, after it caused my first (and second, and third, etc) complete system crashes since 2006.
Performance was worse than FW800 as many/most of the USB drive cases bridge the esata interface through the USB interface (Seagate is particularly bad).
Check for specific references to the case and card on the net before proceeding. Net is that until there's a built-in eSata port (next rev maybe?), I'll stick with FW800.
Jun 30, 2008, 03:06 PM
I hear from a few people that tells me esata is that much faster than fw800. But listening to you guys, I think Ill stick with fw800.
Jun 30, 2008, 03:58 PM
esata is theoretically faster, with a maximum of 3gbps compared to 800mbps, but with the limitations of current hard drives and esata cards, it's not actually faster. If the MBP had an esata port built in and you had an esata RAID enclosure (they do make them, but they are relatively expensive, at least $100), then it would be faster.
Jul 6, 2008, 05:04 PM
I know people have had mixed results with eSATA and leopard (it looks like 10.4 was the last officially supported OS), and I was wondering if the last 10.5.4 update has made it more usable? I really want to pick up the LaCie Express34 eSATA card for Macs (50$) if it's working better these days.
Jul 6, 2008, 06:11 PM
well, it hasnt kernel panicked since the recent updates.
before on 10.5.1 i would kernel panic when i would simply insert the card. hasnt done it since i updated. We will have to see.
Jul 8, 2008, 06:52 PM
I just got my esata enclosure and Griffin Expresscard. I can't really test the speed of large transfers because all of my large files are on other external drives which are FW800 so the FW800>MBP>eSATA drive would is a bottleneck, however it does seem much faster than FW800.
Jul 10, 2008, 12:28 AM
I agree with some others: your speed will depend, to a large part, on the speed of the drive itself in tandem with which interface the enclosure uses.
Jan 28, 2009, 05:01 PM
i just bought a Macbook Pro Unibody Aluminum. all my 1tb drives are eSata so I thought I'd buy an express card. i ended up purchasing an Apiotek Extreme Dual eSATA SATA I/II Express Card 34 Adapter (APIEC0003D), from OWC. when using one or both eSata ports on this new card to transfer data from the Macbook Pro to the hard drive, i get random kernal panics and system crashes. i couldn't figure it out till i came across this thread. i guess it just doesn't work right. sucks, cause an hour or more of activity and i start getting the crashes.
Jan 28, 2009, 05:11 PM
Interesting that his came up. In a previous post I said that there wouldn't be any real-world advantage to eSATA, but that isn't true any more. I just got a new Samsung F1 1Tb, and it has read/write speeds over 100mb/s (enough to max out FW800). Instead of buying another FW800 enclosure for $70+, I got this eSATA expresscard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16839228002) and I am using an eSATA/USB enclosure I have. The card I linked to works in Leopard with no drivers, so you shouldn't get kernel panics and it should be bootable.
Jan 28, 2009, 05:47 PM
All eSata pci-express cards run at 1.5Gbps transfer rate on the macbook pro's. Even on the unibody macbook pros. If your eSata pci-express card states 3Gb/s, that's the theoretical max it supports. However, from that interface to your macbook pro, it runs at 1.5Gbps. So no, it don't mean jack dookie if you are using a 3Gb/s drive.
What matters more is the density of the disc platter and the spin speed. More dense + faster spind speed = faster drive. And yes, on a macbook pro, using an eSata drive is FASTER than firewire - especially when you are using firewire + eSata at the same time. You will notice significant speed drop vs usb + firewire.
try it for yourself - plug in a firewire 400/800 drive. Transfer a large file while at the same time use the USB2 interface. You will see a huge tax on your system. If you used an eSata drive while using any firewire port, you will see no significant tax in your system resulting in smoother operation.
This is significant when using an external eSata hdd as a swap/scratch disk for video editing, etc.
edit: so YES, highly recommended if you are into editing videos via your laptop. Highly recommended over usb2/firewire external hdd's for editing. (even if you aren't editing HDV all the time, it helps with the overall program interface/scrubbing operations