Addonics CardBus Adapter: Bringing eSATA to Notebooks

Addonics ADCBSAR5-2E Or: ESATA Via PC Card

Addonics didn't select a product name that would be easy to remember, whether you use the product name or the model number: Addonics CardBus eSATA RAID5/JBOD Adapter or ADCBSAR5-2E. While the model number looks wild, it actually seems to follow a system; We assume that the CB stands for CB, while R5 stands for RAID5 and 2e represents the number and type of storage interfaces.

Addonics uses Silicon Image's Sil3124 Serial ATA controller chip, which supports two Serial ATA ports. However, you are not limited to only two ports, since the manufacturer added support for port multipliers to this product. Port multipliers can be found in external Serial ATA storage devices and they allow multiple hard drives to be connected to a single Serial ATA port. But don't forget that the total bandwidth is shared across all attached drives.

The vendor offers a storage tower called MST4 for $195, but there are several other options available on the market. By default, storage products that are based on port multipliers can only accommodate additional hard drives by using a single controller or port, but they do not feature any RAID logic. To support powerful storage solutions, the Addonics CardBus eSATA Adapter has RAID capabilities that range from RAID 0 and 1 (using two hard drives) over RAID 10 (four drives required) all the way to RAID 5 (3-5 drives). Due to the lack of a storage solution that features a port multiplier, we could not try the RAID 5 option, but expect a high processor load due to the parity/redundancy calculation for the software-powered RAID 5 array. Also, the card hits a bottleneck at approximately 70 MB/s, which is why a RAID 5 array would not be able to provide better read performance anyway.

The product comes with an installation manual, a driver CD and two eSATA cables and there is al ExpressCard version available as well, which you need for state-of-the-art notebooks.