Better understanding eSATA via ExpressCard and pro storage options

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rawdawg, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. rawdawg macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009
    Recently upgrading, I bought the newest MBP 17" specifically because it still had the expresscard slot (thinking having eSATA capability would make it the only pro laptop in the new lineup). I don't need my storage to be portable, I edit at home.

    Being new to RAID I've been researching and asking questions. I want to get the best setup for my money. People have recommended FW800 but that doesn't help me need to get the most speed possible, I feel eSATA is faster. I also want the redundancy in case a drive crashes. But the MBP only has one expresscard slot.

    Does this mean my bandwidth is limited to one 300Mb/s channel? i.e. Should I not even consider RAID0 on a MBP since the bottleneck is 300MB/s? Barefeats recommends this adapter saying it's the fastest they tested at only 200MB/s! So what advantage will stripping give? It seems with only one available eSATA channel the MBP doesn't have many options for professional storage (although still faster than FW800). What would people recommend?

    As for redundancy I don't need constant real time updates like RAID1, I feel a simple daily backup utility is all I need for my library and would rather not introduce needless drives to a RAID setup.

    My need is for my very rapidly growing library of media files (5DmarkII-- 40Mb/s H.264 & 20+MB RAW files). I use After Effects, FCP, Lightroom, and Photoshop and do high end graphics and video editing. I am not a professional editor, but am a professional shooter, so although I require the professional capabilities I am not interested in getting the best and most expensive setup.
  2. kgeier82 macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    I can read from a FW800 drive at about 80MB/s. When I had the ec34 slot on my mbp, I was getting roughly 100-110MB/s. Now I actually played with a "software raid" through disk utility. When I set up two eSATA as a RAID, it was lightning fast, but unreliable in my eyes.

    Id recomment FW800 for ease of use, and no worries. RAID is nice, but the adapters are just to fragile on a notebook. Now if you have it set up to be a desktop, lid closed, external mouse/keyboard, you may be safer.
  3. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    The speed is actually limited to around 200Mb/s by the expresscard interface. Apple really needs to get USB3 or Lightpeak or Firewire 3000 soon. The expresscard slot doesn't work well with eSATA cards, and Firewire 800 is just too slow. A built-in eSATA port would be nice too, and they could do a combo eSATA/USB2 port so they don't need to add another port since Steve Jobs has something against ports (personally I would be happy if the side of the computer was all ports).
  4. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2009

    kgeier82, you recommend going the FW800 too and yet state you got more speed from eSATA. I feel I would greatly benefit from the increased speed from eSATA especially when working with ProRes422 and other larger video files. Even if it's only the 20-30Mb/s that kgeier got that is 30% more than FW800. The 200Mb/s limit m85476585 (and Barefeats) states blows FW800 away if it reaches that.

    The question is when using RAID it appears you really only benefit with stripping when you have multiple eSATA channels... and even if you have a dual eSATA adapter that it still running through one channel in the express card so:

    Does anyone have experience stripping an array and using the single express card and is there any advantage? Otherwise I will drop the RAID dream all together and go with JBOD with backups.

    ...thus completing a month long search for a storage solution back where I started....

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