How does eSata work?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by NJPitcher, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. NJPitcher macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    #1
    If I want to use eSata for my next external HD, how hard is it to set up? I see the enclosures, and then there are the drives you buy, but do the drives just slide into the enclosures? Do I need to connect wires or dismantle anything? I'd like to be able to expand my external over the long term without buying occupying more space by just sliding more/bigger drives in the enclosure (I see there are enclosures that can house multiple drives), and eSata seems like how things will be going in the future, I just don't know how complicated it is to set up. Thanks.
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #2
    Primary question: do you have an eSATA port on your computer? Without that, it's a pointless thing to pursue.

    Assuming you do, it's like any other enclosure - the drives just slide in or screw down, and it'll take you all of about 2 minutes to add a drive to an enclosure*, and then you use the eSATA connector instead of the USB or FW one. Make sure the hard drive is a SATAII one to get the best use of the connection.

    *Basically, you unscrew maybe 4 screws to open the enclosure, set in the drive, plug it in (might be easy, might take an extra 5 seconds), screw the drive to the board with 4 screws, slide the enclosure back together, and screw it back up. Two minutes.
     
  3. NJPitcher thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    #3
    I have an express card slot, so I can get an eSATA port for that, since I've found no other use for it whatsoever. And it shows up as an external drive, just like any other external, just with faster speeds?
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
  5. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #5
    Just be sure to check into your drives physical speed to determine whether or not it's worth it.

    eSata is up there with most drive peak transfer rates - so your gains may be negligible with certain drives. I mean if you have a 1.5Gb or 3.0Gb connection, but your drive can only max upload 90MB a second - then you've bottlenecked at the drive itself, and won't see much better performance over a FW800 with the same drive. (around 80MB)

    FW800 may be a cheaper (and still plenty fast) alternative for you.

    Knowing that 8 Bits (little b) to a Byte (big B), so 1000Gb/sec is 125MB/sec.

    If Comcast gives you 8Mb connection speed - you can download 1MB/sec.

    Maths.
     
  6. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #6
    Good advice.

    I would venture to say many older hard drives will not see speed gains with SATA. No reason to spend hard earned $ for negligible speed (data transfer) increases.
     
  7. Matiek macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    #7
    Check out newegg.com for the express card you'll need. The apple store wants to charge $70.00 for an esata express card; while, I got one at newegg.com for $28.
     
  8. NJPitcher thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    #8
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152100
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817198015

    I was thinking about buying those two (that works, right? I just put the one in the other and I have myself a hard drive?) Or would I just be better off buying something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148248 ?

    Now that I look around, it actually seems roughly the same to buy a prefabbed HD, rather than the enclosure and internal separately, or am I doing something wrong?
     

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