MacBook Pro and eSATA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by lloyd709, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. lloyd709 macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    I want to connect my external Lacie drives to my MacBook Pro using an eSATA connection. However, I couldn't find any information on the web on which Express cards work with the MacBook Pro.

    Rather than purchase the Sonnet Tempo card that states it's OSx compatible but costs £70, I took a risk and purchased a card from STLab that looks identical but only costs £24 but doesn't state it's OSx compatible. It was a risk but I'm fairly sure all the cards currently available are the same card just rebadged but I'm not sure if they have different firmware.

    When I plug my card in, the MacBook Pro recognizes it strait away but nothing happens when I plug the cable into the Lacie drive. Buying the cheaper card was a risk and I don't mind buying the more expensive Sonnet Tempo card if that's the problem but clearly I don't want to if the problem is not to do with the card.

    Anyone know if the problem is the card or something else?
  2. mcavjame macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    phased to this universe
    The STLab card uses the sil3132 driver which does not play well with OSX. Try to find a card with Jmicron controller.
  3. lloyd709 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    I've just found another relatively cheap card from StarTech (£31 on Dabs). Interestingly the technical information on Dabs doesn't say it's OSx compatible but StarTech's website does mention OSx compatibility but it says it uses the Sil3132 chipset! The Sonnet Tempo website doesn't specify which chipset/driver it uses and it seems they have two versions of the card and they say you shouldn't use the cheeper version ($100) with Macs with more that 2Gigs of Memory!! Their more expensive card is $300. I've searched the web and interestingly I can't find anyone talking about their experience with using these cards. Is anyone using them - the cheaper ones and/or the more expensive ones and what are they finding?
  4. lloyd709 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    Check out the user reviews of this product on the Apple store - it seems 'all these devices work' might be a bit optimistic! One guy says he's tried a number of cards with no luck. It seems there is a lot of incompatibilities between the various cards and the various external storage devices. So to refine my question a little more is anyone successfully using a Lacie external drive with one of these (or any eSATA) card?
  5. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2009
    I have tried one from OWC with no love just kernel panics and I am waiting for a second one to come in called a Caldigit

    Hopefully I will have a answer this week but I agree there is no hard fast rules on these. I was told Apple made a firmware update back in late November and some of these vendors selling these cards some of them will not work with certain chipsets. The expensive Sonnet does work , trying to avoid the 280 dollars for it myself since I still need to buy another 4gb ram chip. But if you buy one make sure you can return it.
  6. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2008
    The Rosewill eSATA card (can be found on NewEgg) has been great for me. It runs with the Jmicron controller.
  7. panzer06 macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2006
    And these Jmicron-based cards are the only ones that support booting from OS X.


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