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External hard drive choice: eSATA or (USB3.0+EC)

Tags:
  • Hard Drives
  • Power Supplies
  • USB3
  • External Hard Drive
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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August 2, 2012 4:42:52 PM

Hello,

I has a Dell Latitude with 4 usb 2.0 ports, a ExpressCard slot and an eSata port.

I was planning to buy an external hard drive.

What do you recommend?

An eSata external hard drive?

A USB3.0 external hard drive with a USB3.0 express card?

First I thought USB3.0 would be better to avoid the external power supply, but it turns out the USB3.0 expresscard would require an extenal power supply, right?


More about : external hard drive choice esata usb3

August 2, 2012 5:16:30 PM

I have a 500gb external hard drive and no power supply is needed. I plug the cable into the usb slot on my computer and bam its alive. In my opinion there is no need to complicate things by trying to get a usb3.0 express card. Its just one more thing in the loop that can go wrong. So recap- usb external drive because you are storing files on it and you dont care about how fast it is- thats not the purpose of an external drive.
a b ) Power supply
a c 324 G Storage
August 2, 2012 7:01:20 PM

Depends on what your priorities are. Mine tend to be about speed, which is why I have an external eSATA drive and a dock (each with power supply), so my personal answer would be to use the eSATA. What's most important to you? Speed? Capacity? Price? Less weight to carry around? Simplicity? Nifty midnight-blue color?
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August 2, 2012 7:17:46 PM

I'm a software developer. I would like to store several virtual machines in the external hard drive and work with them. The idea is try to keep at minimum the software I have installed in the host machine. After several projects I always finish with a workstation full of software of diferent versions and demo versions. Add to that that sometimes I need to test the software in diferent OS.

I think USB 2.0 is not an option (too slow). Main doubt is (usb3.0 + expresscard) vs eSata. Or maybe I should use a usb 2.0 external hard drive as a backup drive and keep in my local drive the VM Im currently working with. Not more than 3 in a given time.

Just to add more info/questions. In wikipedia says "Some ExpressCard-to-USB 3.0 adapters may connect by a cable to an additional USB 2.0 port on the computer, which supplies additional power". Only the additional USB2.0 port would provide enough power for a usb3.0 external drive? Do you know some one of such ExpressCards?
August 2, 2012 7:23:37 PM


(can't delete this reply)
a b ) Power supply
a c 324 G Storage
August 3, 2012 1:46:34 PM

I don't know anything about current ExpressCards. I would just look on NewEgg, or wander down to my local MicroCenter (if only I got paid for these plugs).

If I don't need to travel with the hardware, I am actually partial to external devices with separate power supplies. That way i _know_ that I have enough power. For travel, I would prefer not to lug extra stuff.

Okay, I reread your first post and that is a notebook machine. Since it has an eSATA port, I would:

If you leave the external storage home when you travel, use the built-in eSATA port and buy eSATA enclosures or one eSATA dock and as many hard drives as you want. If you travel with it, you will have less to fuss with getting the USB 3.0 adapter.

As far as taking power from two ports, some external drives come with a cable with two USB connections for your host. One pulls data and power, the other one pulls only power. I actually have one of these, and need it on some machines and not on others. It doesn't bother me too much.

The world is full of such cables. Here, without endorsement, is an example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So are you going to travel with the equipment or not?
August 6, 2012 6:48:00 AM

Yes. I would need to travel with the equipment.

I'm not working in a fix spot. Some days at home, others travelling, sometimes at the client, then at the office again, etc...

At the end I would go for a USB3.0 drive, first working at 2.0 speed. If it gets too slow I would copy the working VM at local drive, or get a USB3.0 expresscard or I would wait to have a new laptop with a native usb 3.0 port.

At the end I would compromise speed for easy to carry.

Thanks very much!

a b G Storage
August 6, 2012 7:13:51 AM

eriera1 said:
Yes. I would need to travel with the equipment.

I'm not working in a fix spot. Some days at home, others travelling, sometimes at the client, then at the office again, etc...

At the end I would go for a USB3.0 drive, first working at 2.0 speed. If it gets too slow I would copy the working VM at local drive, or get a USB3.0 expresscard or I would wait to have a new laptop with a native usb 3.0 port.

At the end I would compromise speed for easy to carry.

Thanks very much!

Express card is now in version 2.0 which supports PCIexpress2.0 and USB3.0 natively with a max throughput of 5Gb/s. You will be much happier with that than eSATA as fully implemented USB3.0 is the nail in eSATA's coffin. Unless your eSATA port is powered internally you will need a power brick for your drive. EC2.0 should not need power for a single drive.

Q
October 8, 2012 9:34:02 AM

USB 3.0 drive bought now can plug into USB 2 port. Avoid both eSATA and express card (both unreliable connectors/cables, can corrupt disk). When you upgrade laptop make sure it has some native USB 3.0 ports wired to motherboard controller.
!