What is eSATA

eSATA is an example of an extension to current serial ATA standards. The main function of eSATA is to make it possible for SATA drives to be attached externally, creating a wider network of functionality by combining the power of each of the drives. Relatively new, eSATA means that it is possible to engage in data transfer and processing much more quickly than with traditional methods of connectivity. How Does eSATA Work? The basic idea behind eSATA is make it possible to connect multiple drives without having to employ cables or wired connections of some sort. Traditional methods of connecting the external hard drives relied upon the use of such devices as FireWire or USB cables. eSATA does away with all that and makes it possible to connected several external drives in a very short period of time, without all the work of figuring out which cable will do the job.

ESATA is based on established standards and will work every time. What Are Some of the Advantages of eSATA? One of the immediate advantages of using eSATA is that the eSATA cables are usually longer and easier to distinguish from the jumble of wiring that is used to connect various devices. Anyone who operates even a home system knows how easy it is for wires and cables to become snared as they run across one another and make it virtually impossible to tell what runs where.

eSATA cables are generally at least six feet long and tend to be somewhat different in appearance than USB cables and FireWire. One glance at the cable and you know what it is and where it goes. Another advantage is the ease of connecting and disconnecting the external drive. ESATA drives are designed with what are known as hot plugs.

This means the cables can be connected and disconnected with ease, and without the need to power down the system in order to add or remove a drive. Along with the esthetics, eSATA also helps to provide excellent rates of data transfer that are sometimes better than can be achieved with a USB connection. There are currently versions of eSATA on the market that will provide data transfer speeds of between 150MBps to 300 MBps. That is a great deal of power when it comes to using an external drive, and is generally much better than can be achieved using a USB cable.

Tom Paine writes for The Tech FAQ and is the author of articles such as eSATA, ATA, and Serial ATA.

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