Texas Instruments (TI) this week announced a new dual-channel, single-lane SATA redriver and signal conditioner that they claim features the lowest active power and lowest automatic low-power (ALP) mode of any 6Gbps redriver/equalizer on the planet.
Sounds incredibly geeky and all, but the real question here is, why should you care? There are a couple of reasons, the first being longer battery life in portable electronics. According to TI, its new redriver and signal conditioner runs 50 percent more efficient than the nearest competitor. We're talking about a SATA interface here so we're not expecting miracles, but hey, every little bit matters when you're dealing with mobile devices, like notebooks and netbooks.
TI also says its new tech supports longer etch runs, easier board designs, and the use of longer external cables when hooking up a drive via eSATA or using an HDD dock.
How it all works gets pretty technical, and quite frankly, a little boring. But if that's your sort of thing, get the full scoop here (PDF).
It would be easy to confuse Active Media Product's (AMP) new external flash drive for a USB key, right up until you tried to jam the sucker into a USB port. That's because its an eSATA drive in thumbstick casing.
"There are millions of laptops out there with eSATA ports that can take advantage of this performance," commented Jerry Thomson, VP of Sales at Active Media Products.
The performance numbers Thomson is referring to fills up the spec sheet with up 100MB/s read and 55MB/s write speeds, making it about three times faster than the fastest USB 2.0 flash drives, AMP says.
Don't have an eSATA port yet? Not to worry, says AMP, who points out that their new drives also come with a Mini USB 2.0 port "so they can be used in virtually any PC or desktop."
The new drives are available now in 16GB ($70) and 32GB ($110) capacities.
The market for ultra rugged eSATA portable hard drives has to be pretty small, but hey, here at Maximum PC we're all about catering to a niche right? If your still with us then you might want to check out the LaCie Portable Bus Powered eSATA drive which unfortunately, currently only comes in a 500GB capacity.
The manufacturer promises write speeds of up to 90MB/s, and even offers up a trusty old USB 2.0 connection just in case you find yourself without access to eSATA. The transfer speeds and storage capacity of this drive definitely makes it a compelling product, but some might find the $240 price tag a bit on the high side.
Is this amount of high speed portable storage worth the price?
The USB 3.0 rollout is long overdue and the overwhelming popularity of external drives as a backup medium is part of the reason why. Sure, those fancy new ports will work with your mouse, but if that's what you're waiting for, your kind of missing the point. If however you have access to an eSATA port for your external drive, you might want to hold off on USB 3.0 upgrades, at least for now.
A new benchmark released by the crew over at CrunchGear has revealed that USB 3.0 leaves a bit to be desired speed wise, at least in its early iterations and needs a bit more time to mature. Transfer speeds so far have been much slower than the theoretical maximum, but hopefully this will improve over time.
Of course USB 3.0 isn't all about speed. The new bus specification is also intended to accommodate the next generation of power hungry gadgets and drives, and also holds a pretty healthy advantage over eSATA when you start looking at long cable runs. The point here is not to rag on USB 3.0, rather it is simply intended as a friendly reminder that eSATA isn't obsolete just yet.
I have an HP HDX18T laptop with an external drive that holds my old stock 250GB/5,400rpm 2.5-inch drive. The external case uses an internal SATA connection and has both a USB 2.0 and eSATA connection externally for my laptop. I’ve read that there is a theoretical transfer rate of 4GB/s with eSATA, but I’m lucky to get 40MB/s copying to or from. Can you tell me what I’m missing? BTW, the external drive case is an Eagle ET-CS2PESU2-BK.
Read our answer to James' question after the jump.
It's a new year, a new decade, with bigger hard disks than ever and new technologies like SATA 6Gbps, USB 3.0, and bigger solid-state drives to choose from. So, what do you do with the drives you've replaced (or will replace this year)? From drive enclosures and media streamers to storage for home servers and salvage fodder, find out the best ways to decide which drives get promoted, which drives are out, and which drives deserve a second life.
HighPoint Technologies unveiled the Rocket 600 series host adapter. The first of its kind it supports SATA 6Gb/s over PCI-Express 2.0
The Rocket 600 series cards boast 6Gb/s performance for two drives offering 500MB/s throughput. It uses standard SATA cables and connectors and features two types of backwards compatibility. First, it supports PCI-Express 1.0 as well as SATA 3Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s devices. Driver support was written in compliance with the AHCI standard so driver support is native to most operating systems.
The new series features two cards: the Rocket 620 and Rocket 622. The more expensive ($79.99) Rocket 622 offers eSATA ports instead of the SATA connectors on the $69.99 Rocket 620. The new adapters will be available late October into early November.
eSATA ports are starting to become more mainstream in mid to low end motherboards, and OCZ thinks the time is right to start adding on non hard drive based peripherals. Its new lineup of memory sticks will do just that and come in 8, 16, and 32GB capacities. The new drives will both communicate and receive their power from the eSATA port. To ensure backwards compatibility they have also included a rear mounted mini USB connection which will allow users to plug the device into laptops or other USB only machines.
No official benchmarks are have been taken by us, but the company is reportedly boasting read speeds of up to 90MB/s, and writes speeds as fast as 30MB/s. No comment has yet been made on pricing, but it will likely be in the same ballpark as its USB brethren.
It certainly is an interesting idea, but I can’t help but wonder if this type of device is really necessary with USB 3.0 right around the corner. USB 3.0 has a maximum theoretical throughput of 4.8Gbps which would easily max out most flash memory keys several times over.
Would you be interested in an eSATA flash drive? Hit the jump and let us know.
Kanguru has developed a new breed of flash drive eliciting one of those 'Why hasn't someone thought of this before?' moments. The new drive, which the company calls e-Flash, combines both eSATA and USB connectivity on a standard sized thumb drive.
"We’ve combined the fastest connectivity with the most universal connection for the best of both worlds,” said Nate Cote, VP of Product Management at Kanguru Solutions. “The ultra-fast transfer speed, high capacity and small size combine to make it a great portable solution for users that want the next generation of unbelievable performance."
Kanguru says the eSATA connection comes powered so that it requires no extra power, but the company also tosses in an "eSATA + Power bracket and an eSATA + Power cable for easy hookup to the computer you use it most on." The flash drive also comes preloaded with Hotswap! software.
The Kanguru e-Flash currently comes in 16GB and 32GB capacities ($85 and $120 respectively), with a 64GB planned for January 2009. The drive's aluminum casing can also be personalized with a custom engraving.
Motherboard naming conventions have never been easy to follow, but Asus threw us for a loop with its P5E3 Premium board. Is it an even better version of the stellar P5E3 Deluxe that we reviewed in January? Nope. The board actually features Intel’s newest enthusiast x48 chipset, which is, umm, 10 more than the x38 used in the P5E Deluxe board.