Glossary of Terms - eSATA: Everything You Need to Know [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is eSATA

eSATA

eSATA stands for External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment which is an extension to the of the Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA or serial ATA). It enables SATA drives to be attached externally. SATA is the next-generation drive interface, as a successor to Parallel ATA (PATA).

For example, with the eSATA interface, you can easily connect the SATA hard disk to the eSATA interface of the motherboard without opening the chassis to replace the SATA hard disk.

eSATA was standardized in 2004, using the same pins and the same protocol as the internal SATA. Due to this, eSATA drives offer the same high-speed data transfer rates as internal SATA drives.

Since eSATA provides such a fast transmission rate, it has been a popular external hard drive interface for video editors, audio producers, and other media professionals. Although eSATA is one of the fastest interfaces, it can be surpassed by Thunderbolt (10 Gbps) and Thunderbolt 2.0 (20 Gbps), which are alternatives to eSATA.

eSATA can connect the external hard drive directly to the SATA interface, which makes the performance and transfer speed the same as the internal hard drive disk. It is a good helper for external storage and backup, and of course, it can also be used as an assistant for computer capacity expansion.

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eSATA Vs. SATA

Compared with SATA interface, eSATA has some changes in hardware specifications. It offers a slightly different, more rugged connector. Metal shrapnel is installed at the connection of data line interface to ensure the firmness of physical connection. The eSATA standard also supports a cable length of two meters compared to the one-meter cable length supported by SATA.

It supports hot-plugging. This is particularly important as many early SATA controllers and drivers did not support hot-plugging which is critical to the functionality of external interfaces. According to the test, the newly designed interface of eSATA will ensure that the device can be hot plugged at least 2000 times.

differences between SATA and eSATA ports

eSATA can achieve SATA-like transfer speeds such as SATA 1.5Gb/s or SATA 3Gb/s. The eSATA 3Gb/s speed is also backward compatible with 1.5Gb/s. Now the eSATA 3.0 has the transfer rate which can achieve to 6Gbps.

This article PCIe SSD Or SATA SSD, Which Is The Best One For You will give you some more information about SATA.

The eSATA Interface Has a Higher Transfer Rate Than USB2.0 and IEEE1394

Compared with two common external interfaces, USB 2.0 (universal serial bus) and IEEE1394 (or FireWire), the biggest advantage of eSATA is its data transmission capability.

eSATA can deliver 6Gbps (older versions deliver 1.5Gbps or 3Gbps), which is much faster than USB 2.0 which tops out at 480Mbps and Firewire 800 (800 Mbps). USB and FireWire don't really make the most of the potential transmission capability. This is because the actual drives used in USB 2.0 or IEEE1394 interfaces are still using the SATA interface, which means that a bridge in the external enclosure realizes interfaces conversion. This translation will undoubtedly greatly affect the performance of the drive.

Read this, you may have a question: eSATA transfer rate is much better than USB2.0 and FireWire, why is it not as popular as them?

Apparently, eSATA flash drives exist, but no-one seems to use them much. Why? Some possible reasons will be listed below.

1. Not all computers are equipped with an eSATA port.

2. Unlike Firewire and USB, the eSATA interface does not provide power to connected devices. Therefore, all drives connected through eSATA must include independent power connectors in order to supply power to the device (eSATAp has overcome this issue).

3. It is said that the theoretical maximum data transfer rate of USB 3.0 introduced in 2010 is 5 Gbps. So, in short, USB 3.0 is fast enough.

4. Unlike USB, eSATA is not the case like: as long as there is an eSATA interface on the motherboard, you can connect a removable hard drive through the interface. Instead, you must first set the SATA interface in BIOS as AHCI mode, because only AHCI is enabled, SATA and eSATA support hot plugging.

5. eSATA cables are more vulnerable than USB cables. USB cables are extremely durable whereas a small kink in eSATA will cause huge bit error issues.

Final Words

In short, eSATA is an outdated interface because of its poor usability and versatility, as well as the biggest advantage that the data transfer speed is also hit by the emergence of USB3.0. It is a product that is not suitable for the mass market.

However, you must admit that it does a good job at achieving a higher level of performance, high capacity, and data transmission capability for external storage solutions. The biggest drawback is that it is troublesome and not universal, but it will still have the opportunity to enter the mainstream market if it is improved over time.

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