The External Serial ATA (eSATA) add-on interconnection standard is becoming more common on systems as users seek greater data transfer speeds. Macs are often among the first to get new technologies like these, but eSATA ports remain absent. For ExpressCard 34-equipped laptops at least, here's one answer. Sonnet Tempo …
I have one of these and...
Its a nice piece of kit! Performance differences between FireWire and eSATA get bigger with better drives. I used a Seagate Momentus 7200.2 hard drive and its fantastically fast!
There is one big problem though... sometimes the act of inserting the card, clicking on the 'Power off card' item or removing the card can cause OSX (10.4) to freeze and display a messaging saying I need to restart the computer. This happens about 2-3 times a week and is very frustrating.
Or you can use one of these PCMCIA cards
If you only have old fashioned PC card slots, get a Manhattan card - its "only" sata 150, but it goes lots faster (and more reliablly) than a USB disc - I use one of these with a 2.5" 7500 rpm disc, and very nice it is too.
Re. OSX freezes
I have to say I haven't experienced a single instance of Mac OS X crashing when removing the Tempo, under either 10.4.9 or 10.4.10.
It sounds to me like a driver software clash. Anyone else experienced this, or know of a solution?
We had usb, firewire and now we got e-sata. How about using ethernet with a reliable storage protocol as an interface. It has various speeds from 10 Mbit to 10 Gb while maintaining the same utp cable structure for some time now. It would even allow a storage device to be networked. For computer links like in the case of e-sata, we could use a simple disk controller chip, which can only provide single computer access and for large storage area networks, the controller could serve multiple machines based on it's space assignement maps. For security and speed, one could always use multiple network ports, so a local san unit could only be accessed from the computer that connects to it through an utp cross cable. It's an easy and cheap way. Adding standard serial ata/serial scsi over ethernet support to an external device would also be simple and then we could also get rid of the drivers, like in the case of the standard usb mass storage standard. Making a disk to have native ethernet ports would be even cheaper. All it needs is a network enabled controller chip instead of a sata/sscsi one. We could even use this layout inside the computer case too. This would decrease the number of data link formats from the current 11+ (pata,scsi,sata,sscsi,usb,firewire,pci,pcix,pcie,ethernet,dvi,spdif etc) to pcie (short range) and ethernet (long range, external). This is just a question of packet formats, because all new technolgies use the same physical signal format and can be carried through twisted pairs.
I have one too
I've had one of these since January. I have experienced a crash or two, however one hasn't happened in ages. There is one complaint tho, on my original MacBook Pro the card doesn't stay in very well at all. A slight knock on the cable pulls the card out and means waiting 20-something minutes for an fsck to finish. Whether this is a fault of my laptop or the card is something I don't know. No complaints about the performace tho!
Re: Different standards...
There is a reliable ethernet Storage standard, it's called iSCSI, the majority of the major SAN vendors support iSCSI, but notably NetApp are a major iSCSI supplier who recently started producing low end kit for the small business channel (www.sorevault.com). As far as I'm aware OSX supports iSCSI, windows certainly does and it's possible to use either a hardware or software based "initiator" in the form of a Host Bus Adapter or a software driver that works in conjunction with an ethernet controller. It works by using SCSI commands over TCP/IP.
I'm using iSCSI at work. It's nice, at 1Gb it's very quick (at 10Gb it's blazing). With 15000 rpm SAS drives it's great. Problem is, it's not cheap. The eSATA is aimed at a single machine. Two different solutions. But at home I have a home built NAS. Right now it has a 300 GB drive. I'm about to replace that with a 750 or wait a little longer and get a 1 TB drive. "That will be all the disk I ever need". (Also said when I bought a 10 GB drive for my desk top).
Now I've heard about people building iSCSI home solutions using a Linux box, but that's a technical solution beyond the means of most users.
I have one and also have/had problems
I am using the second release of the 17" MBP. I finally got some drivers emailed from the tech support that helped make the system a bit more stable. The express card 34 seating is horrible. Any movement will cause it to pop out. Doing So screws up any disk accesses, as well as blows away the functioning of airport. Airport looks like it is connected, but.. doesn't work. The speed (tested with xbench) is nice, although the limiting factor is the internal interface to the express 34. (I called tech support, as I could not get close to the 3 Gb speeds in a striped array) that my drives claimed to support. I understand that the problems with the loose fitting express 34 card are more apple problems then any manufacturer, as many people are having problems with cards popping out.. Apple really should have an esata port on the machine directly.
Overall it is ok, IF one can take precautions so the card will not be moved. This entails the laptop to be in a fixed position, and can not be used on your lap, like it can with firewire or USB. :( I am using the system with an external array of 5 disks and a multiport connection. Hope this helps others..
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