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Can you boot from Firewire or eSata?

Last response: in Storage
February 18, 2007 4:04:28 AM

I wanted to know if its possible to boot from Firewire or eSata. Reason being is that I deal with Adobe products, games, etc, but Im getting a laptop. Nuf said. So my idea to help remedy this is to get PCMCIA card with either eSata or Firewire and maybe get a Raptor and a good enclosure.

If I cannot boot, my other option is using VMWare, but a friend is strongly advising agaisnt it because he says the speed is horrible, I would imagine he has a point.

The other option is to boot the OS and then just run my apps and games from the eSata/Firewire. Would you guys recommend this approach.

Also, I am a bit skeptical on the whole eSata vs. Firewire 800. I mean, Sata's 3.0GBs isnt realistic, and a Firewires supposed 800 Mbps should be more than enough for a Rapto 74GB, maybe a little too less for a 150GB. Reason I ask is that I think it might be more plausible to load from Firewire. But if I can load from eSata, better yet.

More about : boot firewire esata

February 18, 2007 4:38:19 AM

i just tried installing vista to a usb 2.0 hdd earlier today... it said it wasnt compatible... i believe it said the same thing for installing on a firewire hdd too... i googled just now about installing windows xp on firewire, or e-sata, and people are saying that isnt possible either...

i would imagine the internal laptop hdd is all you would be able to use for the OS, and then use the external hdd for your applications...

as far as the available interface bandwidth and hdd speed between raptors, the bandwidth on firewire 800 and e-sata is more than enough for either drive... ...both the 74GB 16MB raptor and the 150GB raptor are on par with each other for speed, with the 74GB 16MB having a slight lead over the 150GB, but also only having half the capacity
February 18, 2007 4:43:46 AM

You can boot from a USB external drive, so why not eSATA? You just have to look in your bios and specify the boot device order.

eSATA is faster than firewire or USB 2.0, so it's the better choice. Seagate has a couple at Newegg that look good, a 300 and a 500 gig.


i would imagine the internal laptop hdd is all you would be able to use for the OS, and then use the external hdd for your applications...

I wondered about that myself, but I've seen people have different installs of the same OS, so I figured he had a reason for it. Looks like he just wants room for the apps so he can use the laptop in a docking station.
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February 18, 2007 6:15:02 AM

for winxp, i think youre probably right :) 
February 18, 2007 12:40:14 PM

Thanks to everyone for helping me out.

The main purpose of this is based on performance, and I will not be swapping it.

I plan on going with a C2D 2.0GHz and 2GBs of RAM, and the HD is just going to be a bottleneck. I really want to not make it one so hence my idea.

Where could I check BIOS settings of new motherboards to check if they can boot from eSata or something?
February 18, 2007 1:05:58 PM

I understand. The point is not to get the fastest type, the idea is to replace a slow laptop HD with a Raptor for some amazing performance.

The theoretical maximum transfer rate of a Raptor 74 16mb cache is around 85MBs, meaing a Firewire 800 would be a little less than that, but considering I would probably have the HD a little less than half full, itll be around the Firewires limit. USB is obviously a bottleneck.

Do you know how I can check laptop BIOS to check if you can boot from eSata?
February 18, 2007 1:10:01 PM

it may not say e-sata specifically in the bios settings, if e-sata is supported... it may say scsi, or try other boot devices, or similar to that, when youre selecting the boot order of devices (floppy, cdrom, hdd, etc)
February 18, 2007 1:31:54 PM

So what youre saying is that probably once I install the eSata card, I might get the option in the BIOS?

Also, im in a bind, cause I still dont have my laptop, nore do I have an eSata card, so I cannot test.
February 18, 2007 1:38:27 PM

well, without a bios update, im not sure itll even show the e-sata interface specifically as an option to boot from... what it might show however (if e-sata is even supported on the particular laptop), is another bootable option (sata/scsi/other bootable device), that might allow booting from the e-sata drive... but, i honestly cant say for sure, it really depends on the manufacturer of the laptop, and what they list as specifically supported/unsupported
February 18, 2007 1:40:11 PM

So what would you recommend? Contacting the manufacturer? I might get a Dell and those guys are generally not very helpfull with technical questions of these sorts.
February 18, 2007 1:52:33 PM

well, and they probably have forums on their site too, and you can probably ask members who may be able to help you specifically about different things, who may own the laptop themselves
February 18, 2007 1:54:53 PM

Thanks, ill look into it.