AL iMac eSata Installation

Discussion in 'iMac' started by discomandavis, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. discomandavis macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2007
    I am kind of a newb to eSata technology. Is it possible to install a eSata port on am AL iMac? Has anyone done it?
  2. Qwickshot macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2007
  3. Schtumple macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2007
    long answer, Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    I've seen it done on a mini. Its not pretty, however, and the mini is relatively straightforward compared to the Alu iMac.
  5. Leon Kowalski macrumors 6502a

    Leon Kowalski

    Sep 20, 2007
    Gondwanaland Reunification Front HQ
    Medium-size answer: Is there an unused SATA connector inside somewhere?

  6. occamsrazor macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007
    The lack of an eSATA port is very annoying indeed. I've a bunch of external eSATA RAID enclosures, and the lack of such a port is really putting me off the iMac (and I can't afford the MacPro)..
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Informed answer. Yes, kinda.

    USB 2.0 to eSATA Adapter
  8. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Feb 2, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    Yeah but that's not really eSata.
  9. discomandavis thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2007
    yeah an adaptor would kind of defeat the purpose if having a hard drive that can transfer 3 gb's a second. when usb 2.0 is like what 200 mb's a second. i have done some googling and i have found out that it is possible. but to do so I would have to destroy the elegance of the imac i might be buying. personally this kind of makes me lean towards a hackintosh until the imac supports esata
  10. occamsrazor macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2007
  11. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If there is a mini-PCIe eSata card around, you might be able to do it -- lose the wireless though.
  12. andrefrancis macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2006
    Nottingham, UK
    I think the idea of this is to connect eSATA-only media to a Mac via the F800 channel. However, this will only be at F800 speed (800Mbps), which is half eSATA speed (1.5Gbps). :(

    I am just hoping that the iMac series will have an eSATA connection at some stage. :)
  13. mstam macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2009
    SATA on the iMac's mobo is 3Gbps.
    FW800 practical max 85MBs
    eSATA II max 240MBs
  14. andrefrancis macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2006
    Nottingham, UK
    OK, I take your point (I was quoting theoretical of course) ... so you are saying that eSATA II (external) can only get up to less than 3 times F800 speed in practice.

    I am considering the Pleiades eSATA/Firewire800/400/USB2 Hard Disk Enclosure housing a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB Disk with 32MB Cache and Oxford 924 DSB chipset. Even at only 3 times faster, it is worth considering some fix for eSATA.

    Do you know whether this is possible for an iMac?
  15. mooblie macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2009
    The Highlands, Scotland
    I wanted to connect different full size 3.5" SATA drives to my Mini (for video capture before transferring the drives to a MacPro for editing). I used a Firewire-to-SATA bridge in an external enclosure connected via FW400.

    I get measured, actual R/W speeds of 35MBps (280Mbps).

    Not fast compared to the internal SATA-direct 2.5" drive of 52MBps (416Mbps), but still, it is:
    (a) fast enough for HDV video capture
    (b) caddy operated, using 3.5" SATA caddies in the external enclosure
    (c) attached without hacking the Mac about - and so would work on any FW-enabled Mac.
  16. kurosov macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2009
    With future prospects of usb 3.0 i doubt iMacs will ever have esata.
  17. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    To be practical, though, real-world 3gbps tends to be around 300MB/s...
  18. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    Think i remember reading that the 300M comes from the 2 bits of overhead for every 8 bits of data on sata.

    So for sata max data rate divide by 10.

    3G becomes 300M and 1.5G becomes 150M max data rates.
  19. faroZ06 macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2009
    Guys, Mb is not the same as MB!

    Mb means megabit, one eighth of a megabyte (MB). Some of the above posts suggest that eSATA does 3 GB/s, but 3 Gb is one eighth of 3 GB. Also the overhead (not sure what the means exactly) the above post talked about.

    USB 2.0 officially does 450 Mb/s, which is a little more than 50 MB/s. FW400 officially does 400 Mb/s (exactly 50 MB/s). FW800 does 800 Mb/s (100 MB/s).

    However, none of them ever really reach those speeds, especially USB. USB in reality is much slower than Firewire 400.

    Isn't there a way to connect some kind of eSATA (or SATA or SATA II, whatever the iMac uses) hub to the SATA (see last parentheses) port on the inside of the iMac? I know it uses it for one of the hard drives (Mac HD). Could you use the hub to gain additional ports and then make one of the ends stick out of the side?
  20. skh macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Well, in theory you could remove your optical drive, get a slimline converter, and have an e-sata wire coming out of the enclosure.
  21. faroZ06 macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2009
    Good, but

    Could you remove the connection from the HDD temporarily, then put in a hub (do SATA hubs exist?) that gives you two ports, and connect the HDD to one port and make the other stick out?

    Would that cause any slowdowns at all?
  22. faroZ06 macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2009
    I would consider USB 3.0 slower than FW800. Sure, it says it can do gigabit, but it can't really. Remember how USB 2.0 is 450 Mbps technically, but it's actually WAY slower than FW400, and FW800 leaves it in the dust.

    Isn't eSATA actually only around 30% faster than FW800?
  23. kram7211 macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    Las Vegas, NV
    Added 2 eSATA ports to early 2009 24" iMac

    You can connect 2 eSATA ports to the Airport mini pcie card slot using the Commell MPX-3132 Serial ATA Raid Card. I purchased the card from for about $60 including shipping. They were the only supplier of the card I found in the US - speak with Cathy, she was very helpful. Of course you will lose wireless connectivity, but you can always use the ethernet port or a usb wireless network adapter.

    I recently installed the Commell card and modified the case of the iMac to accept a SATA to eSATA adapter (about $17 from I mounted the adapter with 3M double sided tape and cut ports in the venting holes at the bottom of the iMac. I was worried about clearance to the motherboard - especially the bluetooth board which sits above the motherboard (was going to insulate it), but since it sits flush to the front of the aluminum case it has at least a 1/4" clearance. The install is pretty easy, the hardest part was committing to cutting ports in the aluminum!

    I did come up with an alternative install (had there not been enough clearance) - where the connectors wrap around the backside of the motherboard and exit a hole drilled through the back. This is where I would have installed something like an electrical hobby box containing the SATA to eSATA adapter. This way the bottom of the iMac would remain untouched, but decided not to mess with removing the display, motherboard and all the connectors just to get back there! I don't mind the two cables attached to the bottom.

    The non-raid drivers for the Commell card didn't work, but as soon as I installed the raid drivers, both of my connected drives immediately appeared on my desktop. I ran some speed tests and my external 4tb G-Raid (raid 0) preformed better than my 1tb internal drive.

    The drives appear under system profiler not as Serial-ATA, but as parallel SCSI.

    I took pictures of the install and sent them to Mike was nice enough to post them under iMac eSATA Card Install/Mod Sept. 24th 2010.

    Hope this helps...I had fun doing it!

    - Mark
  24. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    Nice come you didn't move the adapter board over a tad, make the cutout slightly larger and let the LEDs show?

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