Monday, June 18, 2012

USB shared ESATA to SATA cable.

I recently went on a SSD buying spree and ended up with a bunch of 2.5" drives. I even got some 7200 rpm 750GB hybrid SSD drives pretty cheap too.

There is only so much I can put in my Thinkpad. I already have 3 SSDs in it (msata,main drive, and ultrabay).

So what do I do with all my extra drives? USB2 and USB3 is way too slow.  I didn't want to put a SSD in a USB drive enclosure. They top at 70MB-150MB a second transfer. I already have a hard drive dock that takes 2.5 & 3.5 drives but it is not a portable solution.

Well, Amazon came to the rescue.   For $20, you can get a usb/esata to sata cable.
This is not just any esata cable. It uses the combo USB/esata port on your machine to power the 2.5" drives. It only works with laptops that have combo ports. It channels both USB's power and routes the data via esata to sata.

How does it work? Surprisingly well.  I plugged it into my Thinkpad T420 and did some before and after benchmarks in Linux. This is with a 120GB OWC Mercury Electra 6G (SATA6) SSD drive.

Here it is externally connected to the esata cable. Average read rate of 261.8 Mb/s. This is 2-3 times faster than using USB2/USB3.

For comparison sakes, if you were to plug the drive in internally, it averages 394.9 Mb/s with a maximum read of 560.6 Mb/s. Note, this is with the native internal SATA6.

Here are some real-life pictures of how it is setup. In Linux, you need to rescan-scsi-bus for the esata to pick up the drive. Once scanned and mounted, it works as good as an internal drive by most standards. With some protective HDD caddies, I can now use SSDs as portable drives.


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