Thursday 15 October 2009

Is eSATA Really Faster?

This says it is:

09-10-15 eSATA Transfer Speeds

Those ISO files copied over really quick!

With our best USB flash or hard drives we are fortunate when we see a 30-35MB/Second write speed.

65MB/Second is almost double the USB flash drive write speed.

So, if the server supports eSATA and the ability to hot swap those eSATA drives, then use it.

Is it worth it to install a third party eSATA PCI or PCI-E card into existing hardware?

Probably not. They will require proprietary drivers that may or may not work with our server or workstation hardware. So, they are not worth the risk.

But for those situations where the laptop or workstation has a built-in eSATA port that is hot swap capable, then the small added expense of purchasing an external hard drive with the port in it is worth it.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer


Rob said...

I might just be unlucky, but I've seen multiple Windows Server 2008 systems crash when unplugging an eSATA cable (even when it's not in use). The same systems/drives are fine with USB connection.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


I do not think that Windows Server 2008 supports eSATA hot swap natively.

On the Windows 7 machine the eSATA enclosure is being plugged into the Safely Eject icon shows up in the system tray. So, it seems to behave more like a USB drive than anything on Windows 7.

A server OS is a different thing altogether since drivers may be different and cause the port to behave differently.


stryqx said...

Hot-plugging of SATA is an AHCI function. It requires chipset support and driver support. It's most likely the lack of one of these causing the problem.

You can get SATA breakout cables to export the onboard SATA ports as eSATA, but hot-plug capability will require the above-mentioned support.

If you see the drive presented in the Safely Eject list, then hot-plug is supported. No drive listed, no hot-plug and expect those crashes.

You could try something like the Adaptec RAID 1225SA, which is a two-port eSATA controller that supports hot-plug as well as RAID-1 (HostRAID unfortunately).