The slow access times seem even stranger in light of the very high read/write transfer performance, but transfer rates are what's important in a drive like this. We wonder if perhaps a driver update might speed up the Promise eSATA300 TX2 card's access times with the eSATA drive. That's speculation, but what we are certain of is that Seagate's eSATA performs where it counts: quickly moving huge amounts of data to and from its platters.
The only other area of note would be the eSATA's inability to easily interface with multiple PCs, as mentioned above. This problem doesn't really lie with the eSATA drive itself, but the lack of external SATA ports on most available motherboards. Still, it would have been nice if Seagate had addressed this with a USB or Firewire port as a backup option.
But these issues are relatively minor. External SATA is a great idea, and we applaud Seagate's entry into this relatively new market. The ST3500601XS-RK is a solid product and we can recommend it highly to those who need fast, mobile data transfer.
While the read access time is troubling, I don't believe the drive is responsible. It's likely a latency issue with the included eSATA card, and I don't think it would impact real world performance when you consider this drive's target market. In all likelihood, no one is going to run any software from these drives - read/write performance is what matters, and for that task, Seagate's eSATA has nothing to apologize for.