eSATA Comparison for Upgrading Your PC

By Mark L. Chambers

eSATA is a popular connection standard for high-performance external hard drives. Although less-known (and quite a bit slower) than USB 3.0, eSATA is appearing more often these days on consumer-level PCs.

(Of course, if you want to leap into the fray right now, you can add an eSATA adapter card to your existing PC!) You’ll find plenty of eSATA peripherals available, waiting for the port to appear on more computers — if you think that sounds like the state USB 2.0 was in a decade ago, you’d be correct. Like USB and FireWire, eSATA is plug and play.

Essentially, an eSATA port acts as an extension of your PC’s internal Serial ATA hard drive controller, making it ideal for external storage (think applications like video editing and high-speed backups). For example, you can use your eSATA drive as both a backup drive and a storage center for your digital video clips.

eSATA is often used with RAID drive arrays, which are external cases with multiple hard drives connected together. With a RAID array, data transfer speeds are significantly increased — think multiple drives reading data simultaneously. (Or, if you prefer, you can set up a RAID array that features automatic redundancy, which safeguards your data even if one of your hard drives fails!) Neat stuff indeed.