Adding esata and USB 3.0 to my 2011 Imac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MuchThump, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. MuchThump macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Location:
    W.Oakland
    #1
    I have seen a few DIY guides for adding esata capabilities to your Imac to be able to access far cheaper hard drives or RAID enclosures. I too, am no stranger to the guts of my own Imac having added a SSD, taking up the 3rd sata port on my board and replacing my 1TB drive with a 3TB drive with fan controller software.

    I recently saw photos of someone taking out their airport card and installing an esata controller in its place to get 2 esata ports coming out the bottom of their machine. I also want to be able to access my colleagues usb 3.0 portable drives at speed and saw a card that has both esata and usb 3.0. I have a couple questions for those that know out there.

    1) What is the bandwidth of the PCI connection that the airport card is attached to? Am I better off taking out my Super drive and running a cable out my machine to my RAID enclosure from its SATA port?

    2) has anyone had any experience with this card? It seems like it would do the trick. Obviously having to remove the bracket and configure a new one coming out next to my RAM on the bottom of my machine. I'm just wondering if there is enough room to fit it in there.

    If I DIDNT go trailblazing and hacking up my box, I would probably go Thunderbolt to express/34 and get a USB 3.0 card AND an esata card and just change them out as needed, but wanted to avoid that and honestly, the thought of having a couple esata ports, a couple USB ports and still keeping the sata port inside for a super drive (which I DO use somewhat regularly or maybe even upgrading that to a Blu-ray at some point) tickles my fancy.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/CalDigit/FASTA6GU3/

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. New to DIY stuff, don't know a whole lot about what exactly is happening in the software or on the main board as far as bandwidth and data movement goes, but good with my hands, have a nice clean workshop and am comfortable taking apart machines, have dremel, drills, whatever I need.
    thanks!
     
  2. Oggy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    #2
    If you are talking about the 27" model the miniPCI connection for the airport is not a true miniPCI. It has a miniPCI slot but it converts the signal to something else. So don't bother to do it. I tried it and it just doest work. It's working only on the older iMacs which had the true miniPCI port on the board. The 27" model has the electronic board with that "miniPCI" connector on the top and is connected to the motherboard with a cable.


    Oggy
     
  3. MuchThump thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Location:
    W.Oakland
    #3
    Damn... Well, thanks so much for clearing that up for me! I guess I will be headed with the Thunderbolt to express/34 option...

    Wish the Belkin controller wasn't $400!!! Even at $200 it would be well worth it with all the connectability. I would even take advantage of that extra FW800 port... May wait a little while to see if another company comes out with a cheaper option. I definitely want Esata and USB 3.0. Anything else is gravy...
     
  4. MuchThump thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Location:
    W.Oakland
    #5
    That was my first thought when I started this little journey, but for close to $200, you only get esata? For far less then that, I could just use the extra sata port inside, and put the Super drive in a usb case. For that kind of money, I want more. I do need more FW800, was thinking about getting a hub and USB3.0 would be nice but not critical. For the cost of this hub + FW800 hub, you are getting close to $300. If Belkin would drop their price $100, I might be into it... But for now, I am just gonna use my RAID array on FW800 and look at a temporary esata port fix with cable coming out the RAM door. Not pretty, but its cheap and gets me fast speeds I need right now to do some big back ups, editing, and storage.
     
  5. CWallace macrumors 603

    CWallace

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #6
  6. MuchThump thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Location:
    W.Oakland
    #7
    Yeah, that was the very first thing I saw that started me on this whole 'You mean esata could be a viable option for external hard drives?!' adventure... sata to esata cable=$5.

    Even at $169, I would almost still rather wait till I can afford an 'all in one' and get esata, usb 3.0, fw800, all off my thunderbolt port. Saves me from buying 3 different hubs.
     

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