esata_logoeSATA or External Serial ATA is now a common interface used to connect devices such as external hard drives to you computer. They have several advantages over the USB or FireWire or SCSI interfaces which is why they are finding their place in desktop computers as well as standard laptops these days. Here is a guide to help you understand the functioning and benefits of the eSATA Port.

Key Features and Benefits of eSATA

  • Practical Data transfer rates are higher than the USB or FireWire Ports.
  • Cheaper overall cost of ownership.
  • It uses same protocol as the SATA which means you can use the SATA drives in eSATA with no or barely minimal modification.
  • Some low-level drive features, such as S.M.A.R.T., may not operate through USB or FireWire bridging but will work with eSATA.
  • Extra Layer of shielding ensures that there is no Electromagnetic Interference between devices
  • The connectors are have a specified life of upto 5000 insertions and removals.
  • More robust i.e. severe force is needed to break it.

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USB or FireWire external Drives actually use a PATA or a SATA drive inside it and an external enclosure which includes a controller to translate the ATA or SATA protocol to USB or FireWire. This translation involves some delay and also an overhead for the translation which won’t be necessary if you use a eSATA interface with a SATA HDD within it.
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What is the maximum cable length of eSATA cables?

The maximum cable length of eSATA cables is 2 meters or about 6.6 ft.

What is the maximum speed supported by eSATA Ports?

Maximum data transfer speeds are 150MBps or 300MBps.