bit-tech.net

Benchmarks show eSATA still king

Benchmarks show eSATA still king

The benchmarks - carried out by CrunchGear - show that the speed king for external storage is still eSATA.

If you're looking forward to USB 3.0-based external storage devices for a speed boost in your system, you might want to hold your horses: tests on early models show that eSATA has the edge for now.

As reported over on CrunchGear, tests using the first generation of USB 3.0 external storage devices show some impressive speed gains over USB 2.0 based devices - almost trebling the peak read speed, for example. While that's good news for external storage users, the comparison didn't end there - showing that a comparable eSATA device was a third again as fast, beating the USB 3.0 version by almost 33MB/s.

The figures offered by CrunchGear were obtained using the HD Tune Pro benchmark on a range of storage devices - a 5,400 Seagate internal SATA baseline, a PS110 connected via both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, and a FreeAgent Extreme connected via FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA. While the tests show the speed gains possible through USB 3.0, eSATA is clearly the performance king when it comes to external storage devices.

That could be set to change in the near future: the current generation of USB 3.0-connected storage devices are early models, and as controller manufacturers settle in to the new standard performance is likely to improve. USB 3.0 offers advantages over eSATA aside from speed, too: with integrated provision for power, USB 3.0 requires only a single cable to both power and communicate with an external device - unlike eSATA, which requires separate data and power provision.

For now, however, if you're interested in getting the fastest external storage possible, the message is clear - your rig is going to need eSATA.

Are you a big external storage user, and if so what connectivity method do you use? Do you think that USB 3.0 will improve enough to challenge eSATA? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

25 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
l3v1ck 8th February 2010, 13:26 Quote
I've never used eSATA. How do you power the external device?
Do you need a separate power supply like with 3.5" external HDD's or does it get power through a USB cable, or is it something else?
Lazarus Dark 8th February 2010, 13:33 Quote
I've had an esata/usb external drive for a couple years and after the first week I got it, I haven't used the esata since. Despite the speed sacrifice, it is just always easier to plug a single usb cord than to plug in the esata.... then search through the rats nest trying to find an open socket to plug in the power cord, plus the added extra cabling you'd have to carry as opposed to the single usb cord (which you'd have to carry anyway in case there's no free esata port at your friends house or wherever)

I've been saying since esata first showed up, it needs power integrated. So I still think usb3.0 will dominate the market, but if they could get esata 6gb WITH power standardized and in products, there's still plenty of room for it in the market.
pizan 8th February 2010, 13:37 Quote
Did USB finally pass Firewire though?
Redbeaver 8th February 2010, 13:41 Quote
oh? so USB3.0 has power integrated? didnt kno that.....

i got an eSATA plug at the front, so i still prefer eSATA. and i just use it for extra storage/file server in the house, so i barely unplug it... my old USB2.0 storage needs a power plug too tho...
Dead Ghost 8th February 2010, 14:15 Quote
The power of USB3.0 is still not enough for a single 3.5" drive, as far as i know...You still need a power cable. Please correct me if i'm wrong.
shanky887614 8th February 2010, 14:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbeaver
oh? so USB3.0 has power integrated? didnt kno that.....

i got an eSATA plug at the front, so i still prefer eSATA. and i just use it for extra storage/file server in the house, so i barely unplug it... my old USB2.0 storage needs a power plug too tho...

usb2.0 sends power through it think of your webcam

anyway i dont know about you buy usb3.0 is backwards compatable with 2.0 and every body has a usb port in some form or another but not everyone has esata ports becasue usb is more practicle

ask most people on the street about esata and they wont understand you ask them about usb and they will of at least heard of it
wuyanxu 8th February 2010, 14:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus Dark
I've had an esata/usb external drive for a couple years and after the first week I got it, I haven't used the esata since. Despite the speed sacrifice, it is just always easier to plug a single usb cord than to plug in the esata.... then search through the rats nest trying to find an open socket to plug in the power cord, plus the added extra cabling you'd have to carry as opposed to the single usb cord (which you'd have to carry anyway in case there's no free esata port at your friends house or wherever)
same reason i stopped using eSATA after the 1st time tried it. with portable drives, speed doesn't matter as much as having 1 wire.

as the article says, with more mature controller, we should see performance of USB3 improve.

eSATA is faster is because it cuts off the USB controller, once the controller is optimised, USB3 should be faster than eSATA 3Gbps.
Goty 8th February 2010, 15:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Ghost
The power of USB3.0 is still not enough for a single 3.5" drive, as far as i know...You still need a power cable. Please correct me if i'm wrong.

Most 3.5" HDDs will draw more than an amp worth of current and I think USB 3.0 can only supply half an amp at most, so I think you'd still need a power supply.
Nikumba 8th February 2010, 15:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pizan
Did USB finally pass Firewire though?

USB 2 tends to be faster than Firewire 400 but ONLY when there is only one device on the USB bus.

Once you have two devices the bandwith is halved, etc, where as Firewire is a parallel technology so every device gets the same 400mbs

Also I tend to find Firewire puts less laod on teh CPU when doing a lot of copies
Anfield 8th February 2010, 16:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goty
Most 3.5" HDDs will draw more than an amp worth of current and I think USB 3.0 can only supply half an amp at most, so I think you'd still need a power supply.

In theory it could be up to 5v and 0.9 amps (or even 1.8 if its used as just a power cable) , but current implementations are limited to less.

As for eSata, power over eSata is planned, but when we will actually see products in retail is unknown.
GoodBytes 8th February 2010, 16:43 Quote
That is why you use powered eSATA.. eSATA with power!
Example of a device that uses that: http://www.trustedreviews.com/storage/review/2009/12/03/Verbatim-eSATA-USB-Combo-SSD-32GB/p1
The above device, also has USB plug for usage on system that doesn't have a powered eSATA (it's essentially (well that is what) it is a USB with a eSATA plug in the same plug. So you can plug a USB device or eSATA or a eSATA powered plug)
Quote:
USB 2 tends to be faster than Firewire 400 but ONLY when there is only one device on the USB bus.
Not really, it's mainly because USB 2.0 is uni-direction (1 direction at a time), so as soon as you do a read/write, both actions battle themselves for passing through the wire which significantly reduces speed.
shanky887614 8th February 2010, 16:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
I've never used eSATA. How do you power the external device?
Do you need a separate power supply like with 3.5" external HDD's or does it get power through a USB cable, or is it something else?

thats why people use 2.5inch drives becasue they will run from a single usb 2.0 cable
TSR2 8th February 2010, 16:47 Quote
@Goty: USB3 can supply more power than USB2 (.9 as opposed to .5 amps MAX) however I doubt whether many devices will exploit that power owing to the need for backwards compatability with USB2 and the possibility of the board not being good enough.
The Growler 8th February 2010, 16:53 Quote
I've been using eSATA for over a year now to back up my computers to an external hard drive and from what I've seen it's every bit as fast as reading/writing to my internal drives. The external enclosures come with power adapters that just plug into the wall. You also have the option to pick any make and size (capacity) of hard drive that fits your needs.
Farfalho 8th February 2010, 17:20 Quote
Honestly, I don't care much about external storage, I did but not know. Having the Zalman GS1000 is a treat, the hot swap front bays is the only kind of removable storage I need. Going to friends house, just plug in, done and the same here.

But such as USB3.0 becomes more mature so will SATA3 and possible eSATA2 or eSATA3 just to keep up with the tech and without creating confusion to the average consumer. Maybe then the speed of new eSATA will make up for needing 2 wires instead of one.

Bottom line, for travel and business person, USB3.0 on 2.5" drives is the perfect solution. For upper mainstream, enthusiasts who like to have external storage, eSATA. A power hub to the eSATA caddies/drives might also prove worthy
Tulatin 8th February 2010, 18:18 Quote
eSATA isn't even so much a standard as it is a connector. Based on that, the current theoretical maximum speed for an eSATA device is 6gbps, which ain't bad.
dark_avenger 8th February 2010, 22:54 Quote
USB3 seems the way forward.
Everyone knows USB and everyone has USB.

ability to plug your drive into any computer in the last 10+ years is where it wins over.
The_Beast 8th February 2010, 23:00 Quote
I like my esata, any of my external storage is going to need a power supply anyways so why not get a little speed while I'm plugging stuff in
LucusLoC 8th February 2010, 23:59 Quote
the other problems with esata is that it sometimes needs a trip to the bios to get it to work right. it is not a pretty much guaranteed thing like usb. if you are only planning on using it as a storage device on 1 computer it is not such a big deal (but in that case why not just get an internal?)

usb has ease of setup, backwards compatibility, and universal adoption, even if it is slower. it is just an easier standard to use. that does not make it "better" it just make it more prevalent, and also the only choice if you want true portability.

esata has limited and specific uses, as long as you stick to those it works. as soon as you venture out into the world at large better make sure you have a usb option.


my prediction: usb 3 will see a slower adoption rate than both usb 1 and 2, since full implementation of the standard would eliminate the backwards compatibility (e.g. the power issue). once it hits critical mass in consumer systems, however, it will fully replace both usb 2 on all new peripherals. it is at roughly this point i would expect to see the driver issues fully resolved and we can expect the highest real world sustained speeds from new devices. also, usb 3 relegates esata to the history bin, just like its predecessors did with firewire.
GoodBytes 9th February 2010, 02:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LucusLoC
the other problems with esata is that it sometimes needs a trip to the bios to get it to work right. it is not a pretty much guaranteed thing like usb. if you are only planning on using it as a storage device on 1 computer it is not such a big deal (but in that case why not just get an internal?)
Most "new" motherboards has the eSATA on a different controller, which is set on AHCI for you. Or simply has it by default on AHCI (like on my Dell laptop).

Quote:
esata has limited and specific uses, as long as you stick to those it works. as soon as you venture out into the world at large better make sure you have a usb option.
eSATA is growing, it had a slower start than USB 3.0, because it was something entirelly new, unlike USB which we all know is widely popular to a point that if a system with low or none of them, will guaranty no sell. eSATA is appearing on more and more computer cases, OEM's desktops PC, and laptops.

For me when I buy a laptop, as port wise, I won't even look at it if it doesn't have eSATA and Display-Port (I can stretch down to HDMI, assuming I can get a adapter (or a new cable (Monitor has both inputs)) which will all fit my overall budget for the laptop.)
Crazyglue 9th February 2010, 04:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Ghost
The power of USB3.0 is still not enough for a single 3.5" drive, as far as i know...You still need a power cable. Please correct me if i'm wrong.

im holding a 250gb sata internal HDD one that can be bought right off the shelf OEM....

+5V 0.72A
+12V 0.52A

seeing as usb 3.0 can do .9amps (im assuming on 12v) it should be able to handle 3.5" drives (unless 1TB drives pull twice the amps a 250gb hdd does, which i doubt).
Crazyglue 9th February 2010, 04:53 Quote
sorry for the double post
Quote:
Originally Posted by LucusLoC
the other problems with esata is that it sometimes needs a trip to the bios to get it to work right. it is not a pretty much guaranteed thing like usb. if you are only planning on using it as a storage device on 1 computer it is not such a big deal (but in that case why not just get an internal?)

i guess it depends what your computer is, if its a laptop or something then ok, i will agree with this; but, my case has basically a sata cable going for the esata port to whatever port i choose to put it in, so i can put on the same controller as my HDDs (i dont need to set something in my bios for my boot drive to boot therefore i wouldnt need to set one for whatever is in the esata port).
p3n 9th February 2010, 08:01 Quote
Firewire 800?
LucusLoC 9th February 2010, 17:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Quote:
Originally Posted by LucusLoC
the other problems with esata is that it sometimes needs a trip to the bios to get it to work right. it is not a pretty much guaranteed thing like usb. if you are only planning on using it as a storage device on 1 computer it is not such a big deal (but in that case why not just get an internal?)
Most "new" motherboards has the eSATA on a different controller, which is set on AHCI for you. Or simply has it by default on AHCI (like on my Dell laptop).

Quote:
esata has limited and specific uses, as long as you stick to those it works. as soon as you venture out into the world at large better make sure you have a usb option.
eSATA is growing, it had a slower start than USB 3.0, because it was something entirelly new, unlike USB which we all know is widely popular to a point that if a system with low or none of them, will guaranty no sell. eSATA is appearing on more and more computer cases, OEM's desktops PC, and laptops.

For me when I buy a laptop, as port wise, I won't even look at it if it doesn't have eSATA and Display-Port (I can stretch down to HDMI, assuming I can get a adapter (or a new cable (Monitor has both inputs)) which will all fit my overall budget for the laptop.)

I know that on some comps you do not have to set anything in the bios, but my point was that with usb you *never* have to. just because a computer has an esata port doe not guarantee that i will not have to futz around with settings and possibly reboot a couple of times till i get it right. there is no real standard for how esata is handled by the hardware. some have dedicated controllers, others just have an external sata port on raid with hotswap. until that all gets sorted out it will just make people cold to the idea.

esata is also viewed as a one trick pony: it pretty much only does storage. usb pretty much does everything, from printers to mice to anything else you can think of. i guarantee you will never see an esata keyboard.

don't get me wrong, for storage options esata has a lot more promise than usb, and even now it is the better choice for certain situations, it's just that it has some big hurdles before it will be widely accepted by the masses. judging from the failure of firewire i have my doubts if it will be able to overcome those hurdles. i think usb is just too entrenched and versitile to be dropped, and i doubt esata will be able to garner the recognition that it deserves in the public eye. like firewire i think it will pretty much remain in the domain of the geeks, and produces for it will be fairly limited.
Makaveli 9th February 2010, 18:33 Quote
And in other news the sky is blue and water is wet!!

This is the reason I never cared for USB 3.0 i've been using ESATA since my Nforce 4 motherboard. My external hard drives don't travel often so for me taking two seconds to plug in a power cable within arm's length is not an issue. All the computers that i've used aslong as the ESATA controller was set on in the bios and the driver installed on the machine you never have to touch the bios.

"eSATA is growing, it had a slower start than USB 3.0, because it was something entirelly new"

if you are referring to it showing up on more motherboards I agree, but if not I disagree ESATA is not new i've been using it for years!
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums