Native External SATA support in upcoming MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ruftytufty, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. ruftytufty macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #1
    The world is moving to SATA. That move has been mostly completed for internal hard drives, and is moving there for external drives, esp. where high data bandwidth is needed (even FW800 isn't fast enough for some HD video applications, while you can connect an external RAID enclosure that can sustain 200MB/sec (or more) over a single SATAII cable). And FW400 is too slow for even a single modern hard disk.

    But, Apple hasn't included external SATA ports on any of its computers yet. On a Mac Pro, there are solutions for running cabling to an external drive, such that it looks just like an internal drive for purposes of performance and bootability.

    But, on a MacBook Pro, the only way to support external SATA is by adding an SATA ExpressCard, but the external drive isn't bootable, because the drivers for the card don't load until too late in the boot sequence (if there have been changes/hacks that fix this, please post).

    So, the only way we'll be able to boot from an external SATA drive is if Apple adds a built-in SATA port. This is definitely feasible with the Santa Rosa chipset, since that chipset supports 3 SATA ports. Don't know if it supports port replication, which is needed for external multi-drive configurations (including RAID), but I would expect so.

    My question: Has anyone seen any evidence indicating that Apple will add external SATA ports in their next rev of the MBP? Not just speculation, a "rumor" at least, with some basis for the claim that this will or won't happen.

    The reason: I want to upgrade to a MBP, and would like to relatively soon, but I don't have a pressing need. I've read the other threads regarding Santa Rosa, likely release dates for the Santa Rosa MBP, etc., so no need to repeat that. But, having a machine with an external SATA port would definitely be worth waiting for.
     
  2. island macrumors 6502

    island

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    CT
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #3
    Anyone who has evidence, not rumor, are forbidden to post here (Apple employees). So, yeah, nice speculation. Don't make life decisions based on it though.
     
  4. iJawn108 macrumors 65816

    iJawn108

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    #4
    I don't know, but I think that we're going to see dual drives in the next MBP revision.
     
  5. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #5
    I hope they do add eSATA. I like it a lot- I've had a dual bay rig set up for a while via expresscard. Easy way to add hundreds of gigs (even over a TB) of high speed storage :)
     
  6. ruftytufty thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #6
    Not true: there's a difference between rumor and speculation (has been discussed at length elsewhere on this site - unfortunately, I can't find those discussions now, though I've searched). The editors of the macrumors site specifically state that they post rumors that are claimed to have some basis, but not pure speculation.

    There are lots of sources for real information other than direct from apple or an apple employee:
    - apple releases information, but in a location that's not easy to find, or is accessible to only some people (maybe under non-disclosure restrictions, but maybe not)
    - apple employee gives information to non-employee, who posts or passes it on
    - tracking parts supply/orders for manufacturers making apple equipment
    - apple releases information inadvertently
    - clues in released software that points to hardware/software changes down the road
    - etc.

    Such information may not be confirmable (and thus a rumor), but may have enough foundation to be useful in making decisions.

    Pure speculation is based on (usually) widely available information, and is just conjecture on what apple might or should do. I can do that myself, but it's usually not very useful.
     
  7. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    #7
    Are there laptops out there that have eSATA ports?

    My suggestion is just get a laptop and buy an Expresscard.

    Booting off an external drive on a notebook computer doesn't make much sense anyway. Kinda defeats the purpose of having a laptop if you're lugging around an external drive to boot off of.
     
  8. Silentwave macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    #8
    You could use it as a bootable clone instead of having to use a firewire drive for the purpose, or have a larger, higher speed drive to boot off.

    And frankly, the ExpressCards although nice do have occasional issues and need finnicky drivers.
     
  9. ruftytufty thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #9

    There is at least one laptop with eSATA:
    http://usa.asus.com/products4.aspx?l1=23&l2=128&l3=0&model=1573&modelmenu=2
    And, yes, it's shipping - one can find this laptop for sale several places online. The review site where I found an announcement about this drive said that they expected many more with eSATA to be coming soon.

    I disagree. A laptop plus a 2 lb. (approx.) external hard drive would be much more portable than anything with a built-in 3.5" hard drive. And, using that external drive as a boot drive would result in much better performance than the fastest internal 2.5" laptop drive available. If that external boot drive were something like a WD Raptor 150GB drive, which has max sustainable transfer rate of almost 90MB/sec, performance would be in a completely different league. FW800 isn't quite fast enough for this drive, and FW400 doesn't even come close, while SATA can handle it quite easily.

    Whether that extra weight and bulk is worth it is depends on the user, application, and how often they're moving around their setup. But, I'm sure there are some users who would gladly use such a configuration for the resulting performance gain, even if it wouldn't make sense for you.

    And, as SilentWave points out, a non-native solution via ExpressCard is more likely to have issues, compared to using the native support provided by the Intel chipset.
     

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