eSATA Storage devices for use in computers and other devices requiring data now use an interface called External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, more appropriately referred to as eSATA. Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) is the new design to replace the obsolete Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (PATA) interface used in older storage methods.
External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment
eSATA’s development has extended Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) technology to external media devices such as hard disk drives and optical drives (such as a DVD drive). eSATA’s development has also allowed the technology’s implementation with devices to far supersede the speeds of other data transfer interfaces such as Universal Storage Bus (USB) 2.0 and Firewire 400. Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 both use an interface which encodes and decodes the data during transfer to and from devices; eSATA does not utilize encoding or decoding data therefore further increasing the data transfer speed and reduces load on the central processing unit (CPU) of the computer or device. eSATA also discards an “off load chip” associated with the logic concerning the data to be transferred.
With the eradication of systems used in USB 2.0 and Firewire 400, eSATA easily achieves data transfer speed of up to three times that of Firewire 400 and USB 2.0. With its speed and reliability, eSATA is has easily become the most preferred interface for storage devices.
Connecting eSATA Enabled Devices
eSATA requires the connecting device to have a port dedicated to eSATA connection. The motherboard may have an onboard eSATA port, or an eSATA Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) card can be installed to enable eSATA functionality. The PCI eSATA card is only applicable to desktop computers. Modern laptops usually have an eSATA port packaged with the laptop; the port is similar to that of a USB port. If the laptop is an earlier model, additional slots such as an MCIA, Express Card or PC card slots may facilitate an eSATA interface. The user would have to find a suitable eSATA interface option which will fit into the slot.
In addition to the installation of eSATA ports or interfaces to a desktop computer or laptop is that a power connector must be dedicated to supply power to the device when connected. Unlike USB 2.0 or Firewire 400, power is not supplied through the port to the device.
Tips on Purchasing eSATA Controller Cards
eSATA cards being installed into desktops or laptops must be of the same standard as the device being used. Whereas new controllers can connect with devices of that standard and earlier, devices cannot connect to eSATA controllers older than its manufactured standard.
Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA or Serial ATA)
Serial ATA had improved over the Parallel ATA (PATA) connectivity between devices and computers. SATA had first removed the large and cumbersome data cable used by PATA with a slender seven pin connector which may be manufactured up to three feet. SATA also removed the requirement for setting up jumpers on devices to assign master, slave or cable select designations to drives. Finally, SATA allowed for drives or devices to be added or removed from the computer system during normal operations while the computer is on.